JJ Tabane Columnist

Broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) and its part in the economic development debate has had unintended consequences. Chief among these is what can loosely be referred to as malicious compliance. This "tick-box" approach to BEE compliance by corporations has resulted in many of them implementing measures in ways that do not result in meaningful empowerment. When BEE first emerged, grabbing connected black people and making them shareholders was one of the first signs of malicious compliance. To remedy this, broad-based BEE was introduced, giving ordinary people a chance to own a piece of the economy through the ownership of shares in large corporations. In line with this, companies such as Sasol launched schemes in which their own staff and other citizens from designated groups participated in some of the largest BEE transactions of the past decade. The Inzalo scheme, which ends in 2018, held out the promise of a new type of participation in the economy.

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