Black Business Council says Prasa’s comments invalid

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The Black Business Council (BBC) has brushed aside comments from the CEO of the Passenger Rail Service of South Africa (Prasa) after he accused the council of arrogance for airing its views on empowerment relating to a multibillion-rand tender to acquire train coaches.

“We do not want to personalise the matter, as parastatals (such as Prasa) are owned by us as South Africans and they do not belong to individuals,” said BBC head of policy Mxolisi Zwane.

Zwane said CEOs of parastatals were employed to implement, not formulate, policies.

“We believe empowerment policies and legislation should be made and implemented to achieve government’s objective to transform the economy,” he said.

Prasa’s chief executive Lucky Montana, initially told Business Day: “I find it so arrogant of the BBC to make itself the judge of broad-based black economic empowerment.”

“BBBEE is a necessity because of our history and is a part of the transformation of our country. It is a policy of our government, and for the BBC to assume to be the judge of what is empowerment and what is not, is so arrogant,” he said.

Zwane responded by saying the BBC was not being arrogant by expressing its empowerment views on the multibillion-rand tender: “As a representative of black business, we are black enough and legitimate to make this call and this does not mean we are arrogant,” he said.

Secretary general of the Black Business Council in the Built Environment, Gregory Mofokeng, said BBC called for prioritising because most of the state and parastatal tenders went to established business.

“In construction, the order books of listed companies are significantly driven by government contracts,” said Mofokeng.

“We cannot have a situation where the same white companies are the only ones who are given most of the government contracts. We also want a fair share in relation to government spending as this is where we get most of our work,” said Mofokeng.

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