In the beginning, BEE was born, and BEE's sole purpose was to correct the imbalances of the past. Correcting the social and economical injustices of the past, I don't have a problem with that.
Today, BEE has a few more purposes:
1. Correcting the imbalances of the past
2. Satisfying the lust for money and power
3. Used as a political tool
4. Used with malicious intent
Now I'm sure most of you would agree that number 1 should be BEE's sole mandate, but that's not the case. Below are examples where BEE has failed, and is currently failing.
FAIL 1: "We support BEE that creates jobs, not billionaires" - DA
The DA's latest campaign to win black votes is a clear example of BEE being used as a political tool. Unfortunately for the DA, they have been backed into a corner by the ANC who regularly use propaganda to strengthen their supporters' views that if the DA comes to power, BEE will end and Apartheid will recommence. Both sides using BEE as a pawn in the struggle for power.
While we are on the DA's new campaign strategy I'd like to point out another Fail to the DA. BEE does not create jobs, it only allocates jobs. This allocation of jobs is how BEE corrects the wrongs of the past. So aunty Helen, please create jobs, that will help our country more and it will also help BEE to achieve its purpose.
As for the "billionaires" part, the DA got that right, BEE should cater for the masses and not for a few select. Which leads me to the next Fail.
FAIL 2: Rise of the Tenderpreneurs
The first definition of a "tenderpreneur" that I could find on Google is the following from Wikipedia:
"a South African government official or politician who abuses their powers and influence to secure government tenders and contracts."
I did not add the "South African" to put it in context, the word is a proudly South African term.
From correcting the imbalances of the past (#1) by uplifting the majority with the help of BEE, BEE is instead being used on a large scale to satisfy the lust for money and power (#2) by a small elite. From the far left to the far right, most will agree that we need to focus on lifting small businesses, and this is where BEE comes in. But politically connected tenderpreneurs have pushed themselves to the front of the trough and are taking all of the BEE spoils.
When a business approaches the government or any company for work, they need to meet BEE requirements. For a black owned SME, they are sorted because they meet the requirements of BEE. But the bigger the deals the bigger the moola, so they'd prefer dealing with larger companies. But what if the larger company does not meet the BEE requirements?
Solution: A large company approaches the a state owned company (hopefully when you read this the lights will come on and you'll know who it is) for a multi billion rand deal, but it doesn't meet the BEE requirements. The government's investment arm will take up shares in the tendering company, which means the company is now partly black owned. The company will then win the tender because it has already 'paid off' the government.
That's how things work today. There is not a substantial growth in business, which is what we need to create jobs, there is merely an increase in these BEE shell companies (of which the politically connected sit on the board) which then hold shares in already existing companies. That's how every member of one man's family can hold multiple directorships.
FAIL 3: Job vacancies? Appoint the Cubans
As mentioned, BEE allocates jobs based on colour, in our case blacks first, then coloureds, indians and then lastly, whites. Sometimes there are not enough qualified people of colour to fill the vacancies. In this case there are two options: Fill the vacancies with white folk or leave the vacancies, the latter being a stupid idea.
But tt seems our government has found another solution, option 3, the option that is not mentioned anywhere in the BEE rulebook. This option means employing foreigners.
Solidarity is once again fighting for the rights of the minorities after the Department of Water Affairs announced that 34 Cuban engineers would be given preferential employment in the public sector. A few years ago, Eskom did the same thing by importing African Americans to fill its vacancies because it refused to employ whites. I can only view these kind of actions as malicious and hateful, a method of revenge for past wrongs.
FAIL 4: Leave the kids alone
A newish addon to BEE law is that relating to socio economic development. Charities, NPOs etc rely mostly on donations from government and from companies. What BEE has now done is the following:
Companies will have the maximum BEE points relating to socio economic development added to their BEE scorecard if the beneficiaries of these organisations, to whom the donations are made, are 75% - 100% black. If its less than 75% then the points are apportioned according to the black/white ratio. On top of this the government has cut a large portion of its donations to organisations whose ratio is less than 75%. The Jacaranda Children's Home which looks after orphans and children who have been abused is a well known victim of this malicious law. Because they look after 110 black children (30%), most of their funds have dried up. This is not what BEE was meant for!
With unemployment on the rise and the gap between rich and poor expanding, I can only wonder if BEE is doing more harm than good. Its intentions are good, but its clearly being misused.
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