The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission provincial conference comes at a time where everyone has to reflect on the role they have played for the successful implementation of economic transformation, particularly B-BBEE. This was said by the Member of the Mpumalanga B-BBEE Provincial Advisory Council Mr Ikaneng Pilane who delivered a key note address at the B-BBEE Commission’s provincial conference at Nelspruit today.
The conference aims to educate, create awareness and showcase services from various government entities that are tailor made to assist businesses, especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and previously disadvantaged individuals to participate meaningfully in the South African economy. The rollout of the conferences will continue to other provinces culminating in the B-BBEE Commission’s annual conference in March 2020.
According to Pilane, Johannesburg Stock Exchange is currently sitting at 27% B-BBEE ownership after 25 years of democracy and the number is likely to decrease if you discount fronting and non-adherence with the other B-BBEE elements. He said companies are not meeting their targets on enterprise and supplier development.
Pilane pointed out that fronting is now rife more than ever, black people are used as agents to get work for white owned companies. They are the one’s tendering for work only to transfer everything to white companies. Against this backdrop, Pilane stressed that it was paramount for all to reflect on the role they play in economic transformation. This, he said included not just Government but businesspeople themselves.
As business we are not saying we don’t want to work with our white counterparts, we are saying we don’t want to be fronted, we want economic emancipation and every one must therefore play their part, said Pilane.
For the realisation of economic transformation, which according to him is slow, Pilane said formulating localisation strategies to protect local economies and ensuring enterprise development and transformation, it is crucial to ensure the development of local suppliers which should result in job creation, increased export earnings and economic growth.
There is an urgent need to identify sectors and projects in Mpumalanga that have local content opportunities, and to leverage these in collaboration with multinationals and national companies operating in local areas, Pilane.
Most importantly, Pilane said that there was a need to implement the 30% local content procurement set aside unapologetically and ensure that the issues of enterprise and supply development are taken seriously.
The Executive Manager for Compliance at the B-BBEE Commission, Ms Busisiwe Ngwenya told the delegates that the conference seeks to enlighten them to identify instances where they will know immediately when they are being exploited as fronts and prevent these, and also to identify empowerment opportunities through enterprise, supplier and skills development programmes.
Ngwenya told delegates to report to the B-BBEE Commission if they suspect that they are being fronted. She pointed out that fronting undermines economic transformation and should therefore be reported so it can be dealt with decisively.
B-BBEE must help achieve equality, create jobs and reduce poverty, importantly it must remove obstacles to transformation, including lack of financial support, market access and through implementation of preferential procurement for black businesses by state entities. Therefore, it is critical for both private and public sector to implement the Act consistently, said Ngwenya.
More than 500 delegates attended the conference. The next leg of the conference goes the International Convention Centre, East London, Eastern Cape on 25 June 2019.
Source: Department of Trade and Industry