President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the government will look at how black-owned businesses can participate in the recovery of the country’s economy in 2021.
Speaking at the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum on Tuesday (19 January), the president said this will include a focus on the key economic sectors which drive the economy and the role that black people have in these areas.
“That in my view will be the game changer. Sometimes we talk in broad terms about the economy, we now need to go deeper into exactly what makes the economy works and function, and the participation of black people in all areas of economic activity.
“We will then see how best we can get black people to participate. This is the year that we should be able to do that and move the needle of economic empowerment for women, young people and black people broadly.
“We need to be able to say in a few years time that the empowerment of our people is now becoming a reality.”
Ramaphosa said that black-owned businesses in the country should also be given an opportunity to participate in South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.
However, the president said that while there will be some opportunities for these businesses there won’t be a ‘plethora’ of chances as the vaccines will be purchased by the government.
“The distribution is going to be the area where we find opportunities (for black businesses). This is where businesses and forums need to get together and look at the contribution that they can make. We want to support black businesses,” he said.
A key part of Ramaphosa’s commitment is likely to be driven by the Employment Equity Amendment Bill which aims to accelerate the rate of transformation in South Africa.
The bill, which is currently before parliament, will empower the minister of Labour to regulate the setting of sector-specific employment equity targets across most of South Africa’s major industries.
Under the proposed legislation, the minister will first publish a notice in the gazette identifying national economic sectors which will be impacted.
After consulting the individual sectors, and on the advice of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), the minister may set numerical employment equity targets for any sector or part of a sector by notice in a gazette.
The department said that the notice may set different numerical targets for different occupational levels, sub-sectors or regions.
The bill stipulates that a draft of any notice that the minister proposes must be published in the gazette and interested parties must be permitted at least 30 days to comment.
Some of the factors which the minister will consider when setting sector targets include:
- The qualification, skills and experience required to be employed in a particular occupational level;
- The rate of turn-over and natural attrition in a sector;
- Recruitment and promotional trends within a sector.