Black Economic Empowerment. Picture: ISTOCK
Black Economic Empowerment. Picture: ISTOCK

The ANC has described the DA’s about-turn on principles of broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) as a defence of white privilege.

The governing party accused the DA of undermining policy measures that broaden access to economic opportunities for black South Africans.

"The ANC is neither shocked nor surprised by the DA’s flip-flopping on B-BBEE. We have long exposed the DA as a party committed to defending white privilege and preserving the status quo‚" the ANC said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Beneficiaries of economic apartheid cannot be expected to support policy measures that broaden access to economic opportunities to the majority of South Africans‚ and, in the process, shake the very foundation of white economic privilege."

There was contestation between DA members last week after the party’s head of policy‚ Gwen Ngwenya‚ reportedly said the DA‚ in reviewing its economic policy in July‚ had ditched BEE for a new model of empowerment. But this claim was disputed soon afterwards by the party’s federal chair James Selfe.

Capitalising on the DA’s apparent confusion‚ the ANC said B-BBEE is a critical policy instrument aimed at redressing past economic injustices and inequalities.

"For the DA to claim they are ditching black economic empowerment (BEE) because it is ‘just not working’ is extremely disingenuous. It is an excuse for their own deep-seated resistance to economic transformation," said the ANC. "Yes‚ there are serious challenges with regard to some aspects of the implementation of the programme. Indeed‚ the benefits of B-BBEE are still to reach the vast majority of our people. However‚ these and other challenges cannot be raised as excuses to throw the baby [out] with the bath water."

"It must worry all of us‚ including the DA‚ that 20 years since our freedom‚ the triple challenges of poverty‚ unemployment and inequality still bear a largely black face. Race will continue to be a key factor in all our transformation efforts," continued the ANC. "We must remind the DA and other opponents of B-BBEE that the de-racialisation of our economy not only makes good business sense but is also a critical prerequisite for political and economic stability in our country."