Private sector must capture BEE mandate from SA’s corrupt state
Real transformation can take place only if business drives clean and meaningful empowerment programmes, writes Peter Attard Montalto
The scandals slowly consuming firms associated with the Gupta-parastatal nexus are well reported. Companies are alleged to have overly close relationships with quasi-political actors, overlooked or even actively covered-up corruption and patronage, and utilised suspect partners to the same ends. All this seems plainly illegal and immoral. Yet a deeper truth is missed in all this coverage, particularly around black economic empowerment (BEE) and the country’s partnering requirements. It is not just a legal requirement as part of broad-based BEE for partnering by foreign firms to occur when doing public sector business, but also a simple factor of doing business in SA. More than this, however, it is well known that preferred partners have often been pushed by government departments and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) themselves. Understanding this reality of doing business is key to seeing that reforming the system will be impossible as long as politically connected preferred partners ...