The DA wants to simplify the current Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard if it gets elected into government.

The party on Saturday released its policy position on the legislation which has led to much controversy within the DA over the past year.

The party’s stance on BBBEE was among the reasons its former policy chief Gwen Ngwenya quit in January.

The party went into a tailspin after Ngwenya announced that the party ditched BEE, with senior leaders openly contradicting each other on the subject.

The Democratic Alliance launched their manifesto on Saturday, February 23 2019, at the Rand stadium, in Johannesburg. Here are 5 points from the launch. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

The issue was between two factions in the DA, with the pure liberals saying that race should not be a proxy for disadvantage, while the other grouping argued that it was.

The party made it clear that it rejects Black Economic Empowerment in its current form as it is being used by the ANC “to enrich only a politically connected elite and to dampen economic growth, at the cost of job creation.”

The party said in its manifesto that its approach would see the current BBBEE scorecard being “vastly simplified” with the inclusion of timeframes for initiatives to help business plan for the medium- and long-term.

It also says the DA’s approach will set requirements, as part of the scorecard, “to ensure that the beneficiaries of genuinely broad-based black economic empowerment are not just a politically connected elite, or individuals who are continually re-enriched.”

“This can be achieved through measures like means-testing for beneficiaries of equity schemes and focusing corporate investment in education in lower income schools and/or learners from low income households,” the manifesto reads.  

The DA says the new simplified scorecard would channel the efforts of the private sector into investment in the bottom-up approach by focusing broadly on:

  • Awarding significant weight to Employee Share Ownership Schemes (ESOS), so that employees as a group become substantial stakeholders in the business.
  • Recognising all spending on growing the education, skills and expertise
  • Rewarding companies for growing their workforce.
  • Reward companies for their development of new black entrepreneurs, whether achieved through direct mentoring of sub-contractors or suppliers, or through donations to organisations whose core competency it is to identify, incubate, finance and nurture black entrepreneurship.

The DA manifesto calls for the overhaul of the BEE system, which must keep its focus on desired outcomes, be based on positive incentives, and must add value to the economy by helping to create black entrepreneurs and expanding the middle class.

“Simply put, we need a BEE system that enjoys broad support from the majority of South Africans, government and the private sector. Crucially, it must spur the expansion of access to opportunity,” the manifesto reads.