SA business remains unreformed - SA Human Rights Commission

Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment has been unsuccessful in transforming the top echelons of SA’s business landscape, according to a new SA Human Rights Commission report. 

In its latest Equality Report published on Thursday, the commission said that 51% percent of directorships at JSE-listed companies were held by White men. 

It also noted that the B-BBEE Commission – a body set up to ensure compliance with BEE legislation and codes of good practice – had only received a "handful" of reports since its inception.

Quoting research published by the B-BBEE Commission in 2016, the SAHRC said that White women comprised 4% of directorships in the JSE, Black South African men 18%, Black SA women 12%, and foreigners 18%. 

"The fact that White men still manage the largest companies in the economy further demonstrates the failure of BEE special measures to target vulnerable groups based on need," said the commission in the report.

"Impediments to the success of BEE special measures include a lack of capital by Black enterprises, fronting in procurement processes, and insufficient focus on local procurement.

It added "Elite capture" as another shortcoming, but did not provide further details.  

The SAHRC noted that the various organs of state continued to "transact with non-compliant corporations".

(SAHRC)

"Where government fails to comply with its own legislation and policies, it appears to endorse the sentiment that meaningful transformation is unnecessary."

The body recommended that, in order to improve compliance, the Presidency should either establish a "central regulatory authority" to oversee compliance, or adequately fund and capacitate the B-BBEE Commission.

It also recommended that Treasury provide more resources to the Department of Trade and Industry, to "train all organs of state to identify fronting practices", and that the Auditor-General audit the financial statements state organs for B-BBEE compliance. 

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