There is an interesting dispute headed for the courts. In essence, a multinational is demanding the return of the shares it gifted to black directors (former employees) as part of a bid to procure a lucrative deal from one of the major state-owned enterprises. The holders of the shares want to be compensated for these. The dispute has been raging for months and will probably only be resolved by the courts. It comes to mind because a week ago the high court ruled that companies that lose empowerment partners may enjoy "empowered" status even well after the exit of the black shareholders. This is the continuous recognition principle, or what is commonly known as the "once empowered, always empowered" approach. Quite rightly, the mineral resources minister has signalled his intention to appeal against the judgment. Unfortunately, he wants to appeal so that in future transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, supposedly by the government. This will introduce further complicati...

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