My description of my BEE company? “The Black BEE that gets no Honey”
Five years ago a friend and I started our BEE company. We were over the moon. We had great plans. After all we were a “Black Women owned BEE”. We had the right credentials, we had the BEE Certificate, we had the skill and now we wanted our share of the proverbial “Honey Pot”!
Easier said than done my friends………
First we had to register with the Companies Registrar, then we had to register with the CIDB, this together with our Close Corporation documents , UIF registration and Workmans Compensation almost bankrupted us even before our business got off the ground! Don’t forget the book keepers fees – it cost us more money to create our business on paper, than to put it into action!
When we did finally get over that hurdle, we had to register with Eskom. This is where we expected the bulk of our business to come from. Not so easy. It was like bashing our heads against a brick wall. People that work for Eskom think they own the entity. Finally we were registered with all the entities that mattered. We were ready to get our hands on those tenders that were making Tenderpreneurs so rich. But no way……
We had no Mines, were unable to buy breakfasts with the ruling party or the Mayor. We were not ready to sleep with the guys handing out the tenders. We were not ready to part with our hard earned savings to bribe any one. We could not call on anyone to grant us a favour as we had never done them a favour in turn! A thought did creep in though, was I the wrong Black? And my partner? She is as White as the driven snow. So was the logististics impaired even before we started?
We won tiny little non important tenders from Eskom only because, being Black Women (I am a 51% member) owned we could question the validity of who won the tenders and if it was fair! Then and then only then would we get the tender. Meanwhile we watched with heavy hearts as the Tenderpreneurs were getting more than their fair share. We could not compete with Mr Motsepe's Rainbow Construction company, or with Murray and Roberts and numerous other companies. They pulled the right strings!
Even Chinese companies were getting more business than we were - they were not even citizens or taxpayers! Foreigners were allowed to build and take their profits out of the country! We would see them at Eskom. They could not even speak English let alone one or 11 languages!
We have had offers from Companies that wish to buy our business. It is established and over 7 years old. It never made a million but is legitimate, stable and has no debts. But we still get people who think they can walk over us because we are women!
So to the Motsepes, Ramaphosas, Mandelas and Zumas – please tell us how you got the opportunity to make those millions and billions that you are able to flaunt in our faces. How fair is your accumulated wealth. Tell me so I can get rich and give half of my profits to people that need it!
I have been denied of opportunities the same as you were, I have had to fight for the right to be better than I was, same as you have had to do, I am black and intelligent same as you are, I am and have been a philanthropist same as you have become, however small my contribution has been because I have not made millions as you have.
So tell us how you did it – and no – we will not pay for those business breakfasts and dinners, we simply cannot afford it. And no I won’t pay to sit next to the President – and neither one of us want to become his next wife!