Picture: 123RF / BAKHTIAR ZEIN
Picture: 123RF / BAKHTIAR ZEIN

We should not be in the least surprised by reports in the media of “sports complexes” that are nothing but a fence;  “water tanks”  that don’t exist; asbestos roof “audits” costing hundreds of millions, and so on.

The world over, governments award billions in contracts. The world over, they are awarded according to business principles. This does not mean that there is no fraud or political influence — but at least real companies with real experience compete for the work.

Not so in SA. Broad-based BEE has in many (not all) instances wrecked the playing field. Political connection, not competence is the criterion. The template is discarded. There is nothing to measure against. It is inevitable that the selection criteria default to how best to nourish the patronage web of the ruling party — or rather, the most powerful local faction. Any benefit  conferred by the project is incidental — indeed,  often irrelevant.

So-called black economic empowerment is merely a cover for feeding the voracious appetites of the patronage machine of the ruling party. This is not what our constitution envisaged as assistance to the disadvantaged.

Willem Cronje
By e-mail 

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