BEE must be used in South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout: business group

 ·5 Feb 2021

While the Covid-19 pandemic is an unfortunate and unprecedented global disaster, it has also brought business opportunities as we have already witnessed with the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), says Kganki Matabane, chief executive of the Black Business Council.

In a post published on the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum website, Matabane said that there will be a myriad of value-chain business opportunities brought about by the Covid-19 vaccine process, including:

  • Supply Chain, Logistics and Transportation – These will include, transport, distribution, warehousing and storage of the vaccine;
  • Vaccination administration – These will include hospital hubs, clinics, company care services, pharmacies, pop-up facilities;
  • IT Systems – To assist with vaccination reporting and tracking, and for monitoring and reporting;
  • Legal and Regulatory – To deal with things such as potential liability, patents etc;
  • Communications – To assist with public communications, messaging, conspiracy theories and education.

Matabane said it is important to ensure that these prospects are distributed and shared equitably amongst all businesses, and that big players do not have a monopoly on the vaccine roll-out.

He added that the Constitution and other laws are not suspended during this period, and that the normal rules around government procurement should apply.

“As such, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) remains law and in place – and as such, should not be undermined in haste.

“The policy of BBBEE, implemented through the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, should be understood as a necessary mechanism, to achieve a more just and equitable society.

“When applied correctly, BBBEE does not confer unfair advantage for some companies over others based on race. Conversely, it does not have the effect of excluding white companies.”

In response to questions by the Daily Maverick, Mtabane said that the vaccine is not about profit-making, but rather about creating about opportunities. “If someone has a refrigerated truck that can store vaccines, that’s an opportunity,” he said.

Convenor of the PBF, Sasha Müller told the website that Nedlac had agreed on 40% ‘set-asides’ for black, women and disabled people-owned businesses in vaccine contracts.

Read: South African companies to help fund, facilitate vaccine rollout

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