4 March 2015
Policies that help create black industrialists in townships and rural areas should be the focus of the newly appointed Black Economic Empowerment Council, President Jacob Zuma said at the council’s inaugural session held at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Tuesday.
He said the council’s primary task was to achieve “maximum inclusivity in terms of economic transformation”, while bearing in mind the goals set out in the National Development Plan, the government’s nine-point blueprint to spark growth and job creation.
“Among key interventions, members of the advisory council need to tackle historical issues hindering economic transformation such as the public procurement policy,” he said.
The government recently announced plans to create at least 100 black industrialists over the next three years to help transform the economy.
Zuma said black people had been excluded from the productive sectors of South Africa’s economy because of apartheid policies, but that it was the council’s role to look at innovative ways to fast track economic transformation and inclusion.
An initiative to help achieve transformation announced by Zuma during his State of the Nation Address in February was for 30% of state procurement to come from small micro-medium enterprises, co-operatives and township and rural enterprises.
“If we are going to drive sustainable economic transformation, there has to be measures and programmes in place for government to support business – in particular black business,” he said.
“The advisory council members need to ensure that as part of their on-going monitoring and evaluation, the B-BBEE [Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment] framework continues to attract foreign investment through the Equity Equivalent Programme,” the President said.
The new members of the second presidential black economic empowerment council were appointed in November 2014. The first council was appointed by the president in 2009.
The new members will advise government on the implementation of the amended B- BBEE Act, which Zuma signed into law in October 2014.
Regulations that will give effect to the Act are being finalised to ensure that “tangible transformation is achieved”, the government said.
Zuma said black businessmen had approached transformation in an ineffective manner, buying shares in big companies but having no influence on the overall operations of the respective companies.
He said businesspeople should aim to own companies that will develop and hold a stake in the production sectors of the economy.
He also said it was important that black industrialists aims to create and help consider setting up factories in townships and in rural areas to create jobs in such communities, instead of scrambling for factory space in the already congested cities.
The council includes four of Zuma’s Cabinet ministers: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies; Minister in the Presidency Susan Shabangu; Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant; and, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.