Danisa Baloyi. Picture: SUPPLIED
Danisa Baloyi. Picture: SUPPLIED

The fractured relationship between the Black Business Council (BBC) and Business Unity SA (Busa) came to a head on Monday, with Busa kicking the black business grouping out of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

The two split in 2012, but the BBC continued to piggyback on Busa for a seat in Nedlac.

Busa said on Monday: "The BBC will no longer be represented through Busa at Nedlac. This does not prevent the BBC from seeking their own seat at Nedlac in line with the Nedlac act and constitution."

Busa president Jabu Mabuza and the BBC have been at odds for some time with their differences peaking over former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Mabuza supported Gordhan, while the BBC, a pro-Zuma grouping, attacked the former minister for what it said was his failure to prioritise "radical economic transformation" at the Treasury.

The partnership between the two has been under pressure since 2012, when the BBC formally split from Busa to represent the interests of black business after it amalgamatedin 2003.

At the time, black business felt Busa was unable to represent its interests.

Busa, which represents the country’s business constituency at Nedlac, formally advised the BBC on May 11 of the termination of co-operation after a unanimous decision.

BBC president Danisa Baloyi said they did not agree on some issues "and we thought we did…. They believe they can tell us what to do."

Baloyi said the BBC would continue to participate in Nedlac as an independent voice of black business even though Business Day pointed out that the Nedlac protocols state that only Busa is admitted to the council.

"They have no mandate to kick us out. They think we can be pushed out just because we’re black business.

"Nedlac is only representative [of business] when we are part of it.… [Busa] doesn’t represent us. They don’t represent our interests," she said.

Nedlac serves as a forum for various constituencies to find consensus on economic and labour policy.

The principal constituencies are business, labour and the state. Business is represented by Busa as a federation of employer and business organisations.

In 2011, a precedent was set when the Confederation of South African Workers’ Unions (Consawu) applied for admission to Nedlac and was blocked by the labour constituency, which is made up of Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu.

Consawu fought a long, futile legal battle over the issue. At the time, Busa said in an affidavit on the matter "it is an important feature of the composition of Nedlac that  each of the constituencies should itself be able to determine the criteria for its membership in order … that it should be in a position to participate effectively in the business of Nedlac".

Nedlac executive director Madoda Vilakazi said like any new business entity that wanted to be part of Nedlac, the BBC had to apply for admission.

Vilakazi said he had not received an application.

"They will have to follow the process and apply to the executive director of Nedlac who is dictated to by our protocol to refer such application to the constituency that is represented at Nedlac.

"We hope the constituencies will resolve their differences and we can again have a united voice of business at Nedlac," Vilakazi said.

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