If black business fails, SA fails - BBC's CEO

Mohale Ralebitso
Mohale Ralebitso

Johannesburg - The Black Business Council (BBC) has been in existence for four years and appointed Mohale Ralebitso as its new CEO last week.

Ralebitso will be stepping down from executive roles at his own company, Itataise Investments, something he admitted might seem strange for someone who is dedicated to having more businesses run by black people.

“People might ask why I want to leave my business to work for the BBC, but my business benefits from the work of the council.”

The BBC was succeeding in bringing the particular challenges of black businesses to the fore in public and policy debates, said Ralebitso.

The evolution of the BBC should be from saying what needed to happen towards contributing to making it happen, he told City Press.

Last week’s BBC conference, to collect input to take to the ANC’s upcoming policy conference was a good example of this, he added.

Considering the interests of black business should be the default position, said Ralebitso.

By black business the BBC means all businesses owned by black people.

“I want to deal with the juniorisation of black business,” he said.

“Black business” is often equated with small business, but black business concerns could not be relegated to only the realm of small and medium enterprises, added Ralebitso.

“It is an abnormal thing in South Africa that in large companies and on the JSE, the majority is a minority.

“If black business fails, SA fails in totality. If black business grows, the country grows.”

Access to capital looms large on the agenda.

After 21 years, this key constraint on the black business community simply had not been addressed, he said

“What the BBC has done is to get the understanding clear. You can miss the dynamics that specifically affect black business.”

Black business tended to be younger and had challenges with access to capital and markets that the country’s established businesses did not have, said Ralebitso.

The BBC will “definitely” be part of the conversation around the kind of institutions that are needed to plug the funding gap.

“The BBC has a big role in the thinking around that,” said Ralebitso

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