Is the BBBEE Advisory Council a driver of transformation or just another smoke screen?
We need to implement innovative measures that will address SA’s challenges
I question whether the BBBEE Advisory Council will drive transformation or is just another smoke screen not because of the paucity of opinions on the failures of BEE to achieve economic redress, but as an appropriate point of reflection by ordinary South Africans who continue to pin their aspirations on the policy.
In considering the appropriate framework for redress, the BBBEE Act of 2003 and amendments of 2013 were enacted to establish a legislative framework to support and promote the empowerment and participation of black people in the SA economy. But in truth, they have not.
The implementation of BBBEE is based on a voluntary principle that assumes all stakeholders will comply because “it’s the right thing to do” and that there is a moral obligation to accelerate the participation of black people in the economy, especially against the backdrop of decades of apartheid and colonisation.
This assumption requires critical introspection. While corporate SA implements, through a considered approach, the necessary transformation initiatives that seek to have an impact in the communities they serve, the truth is that transformation through the lens of the ordinary South African remains implausible.
While the goal of economic and social liberation has not shifted, we still have a fragmented approach to implementing policy that does not align with the social indicators of our country.
To fulfil the legal mandate outlined in the BBBEE Act, the government considered a BBBEE Advisory Council to provide guidance and monitor the overall performance of market participants with the view to advance policy recommendations and review the progress of economic transformation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently appointed new members to the advisory council, comprising people with various skills and expertise positioned as game-changers in the advancement of the transformation agenda. With this development, the dreams and aspirations of SA’s previously disadvantaged — and in many ways still disadvantaged — citizens fall on the shoulders of this council as the need for economic and social transformation becomes even more urgent.
The BBBEE Act continues to be a cornerstone for effective and sustainable transformation and it is critical for the advisory council to probe beneath the surface and initiate uncomfortable conversations to unpack the challenges behind the ideologies of the current legislative framework and its ability to accelerate the pace of transformation.
It’s time we enforce a legally binding compliance mechanism for BBBEE, which must outlive the terms of respective administrations, governments, ministers as well this advisory council.
We need to implement innovative measures that will address SA’s challenges and urge that all elements of the BBBEE scorecard be measured against critical socioeconomic indicators.
South Africans have witnessed the power of intentionality from various leaders who have contributed to our political transition. However, to move beyond requires shared responsibility and, as such, this new BBBEE Advisory Council must critically examine the delimitations of the current framework and take steps to rectify the slow, lethargic and, at times, overtly resistant attitude towards transforming our economy so that all South Africans can have a dignified life.
This article was paid for by Sanlam Gauge.
The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author and not the views of the FSTC.
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