President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will over the next few years review the country’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) strategy and the accompanying Act to put economic transformation on a new trajectory.
Addressing the 45th Black Management Forum (BMF) corporate update dinner on Friday, president Ramaphosa said while there has been progress, the country still faces a number of challenges in the implementation of BBBEE.
“We need to address the problem of fronting, which is a gross betrayal of our collective responsibility to transform our economy.”
The president said government will continue to defend empowerment programmes that are both “consistent with and mandated by the constitution – against those who would rather retain the status quo”.
He said there must be demonstrable linkages between the policies and tangible economic transformation.
“This will only be possible if we pull together as society, if we drive ownership deals that promote inclusive participation, and if we continue to invest in skills among black people, and to contribute meaningfully to an organisation’s operations.”
Transformative policies undermined by corrupt individuals
The president said currently, advanced policies that were put in place “for the sake of transformation” are being called into question.
“There are people who claim – falsely and without evidence – that preferential procurement policies, employment equity and BEE are responsible for acts of corruption, thieving, bribery and looting that we have seen.
“We cannot allow our transformative policies to be undermined by the actions of corrupt individuals. They cannot pretend that their actions are justified by transformation.
“Those responsible for corruption must face the full might of the law, whether local black business people or large multinationals, whether government officials or their co-conspirators in the private sector.
That is why we must welcome the work of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Hawks, the NPA’s Investigative Directorate and other agencies.”
President Ramaphosa noted that progress is being made with investigations finalised, cases referred for prosecution, assets seized, bank accounts frozen and referrals for disciplinary action.
Restoring public faith
The president vowed that government will not relent until those found guilty are behind bars, and all stolen money is recovered.
He said the fight against corruption is also about restoring public faith in the transformative policies of successive administrations.
The president said the BMF must continue to play its role in public, economic and political life, and continue to have a positive impact on society.
“Undoubtedly, there are difficult days ahead. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and are trying to revive our country’s economic fortunes amidst the greatest of difficulties. But we can, and must prevail.”
The president called on all society to mobilise behind the vision of a better life for all, and in the process “unlock the doors of economic prosperity for all.”
“I wish the BMF well on this anniversary. You have done yourselves and your country proud,” president Ramaphosa said.
To mark the BMF’s 45th anniversary, the corporate update dinner was held under the theme “Celebrating 45 years of driving ethical leadership in South Africa”.