Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

For the government to fund a private business council is shocking (Trade department parts with millions of rand to help BBC, March 16). As a past president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I can testify to the fact that we received absolutely no funding from anyone other than from our own endeavours and membership fees. It is understood that anyone who wants to set up a nongovernmental organisation has a duty to ensure that it is viable and sustainable.

This horrific disclosure made by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies undermines everything the department is supposed to do. Furthermore, the director-general, Lionel October, has said they provided similar types of funding to other business organisations. It would be important for the public to know who they funded. Over and above all the nasty political ramifications of our government funding an organisation that, in turn, has denigrated the Treasury, it is both immoral and illegal to fund a private organisation with public funds.

It also needs to be said that the members of the Black Business Council are some of our largest businesses and they have failed in their duty to their own representative body.

By funding the BBC, the government has set up a dummy body that in turn pretends to be something other than government. This funding makes a complete mockery of the government wanting to negotiate and discuss issues with independent business organisations. The BBC should hang its head in shame; the other business umbrella organisations will take note of how it was captured by the government.

Michael Bagraim, MP
Via e-mail

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