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ANC defends controversial BEE procurement reforms


THE ANC-led government in KwaZulu-Natal moved swiftly to clear the air yesterday on its proposed reforms of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) procurement regulations.

MEC for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, who led the charge for a reformed BEE policy and Premier Willies Mchunu said it was a “fallacy” that the proposal would bar Indians, coloureds and Chinese, all eligible BEE beneficiaries, from getting state tenders of more than R50million.

The ANC-led government in KwaZulu-Natal has cleared the air on its proposed reforms to the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) procurement regulations.

Zikalala, also ANC chairperson in KZN, said: “As the ANC government we do not want to fall into the trap of reversing apartheid and treat other racial groups in line with what the apartheid regime did. The government of KZN is speedily calling for the redressing of historical injustices.

“We said how can we ensure that the community benefited, especially black Africans. We then said let’s put aside 60% of work for Africans, not to say take everything for Africans.”

Zikalala said at least 60% of state contracts between R300000 and R50m must be retained for black Africans.

“But we are not precluding Indians, whites and coloureds,” he emphasised.

Zikalala said this was not a “thumb-sucked approach” but the provincial government conducted an in-depth analysis before forging ahead with the proposal.

A few months ago, the Provincial Treasury launched the revised Regulations of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) of 2017 to transform the economy of the province.

“We discovered that even now the people who are benefiting are whites and Indians. Coloureds and blacks are nowhere,” Zikalala said.

Despite this assessment and the skewed economy, Zikalala said provincial government would not discriminate against any race groups.

Systems were in place to curb the fronting phenomenon, he said.

“Fronting is corruption and it should be dealt with harshly. Those who are found to be fronting would be banned from participating in procurement, irrespective of their colour,” he warned.

Zikalala shot down claims that the proposal was likely to rekindle racial tensions in the province.

“We are doing this as part of preventing racial tensions in the province. In KZN, we are sitting on a ticking bomb where there are always threats and questions about who benefited the most. We need to be cool, level-headed and approach this matter from the point of fact and not generalisations and emotions.”

Speaking at the 20th birthday celebration of the Hilton Hotel earlier this week, like Zikalala, Mchunu assured business people that no one was going to be excluded from the economy.

“We know some of you don’t understand the radical part of it. The radical part of it is about the section of our society that has been left out altogether in the past.

“We are saying, let’s get them on par with other sections of the society in other race groups.”

Mchunu said it was a fallacy that the proposal was a deliberate ploy by the provincial government to block other race groups from participating in the economy.

“That’s not true, take it from us we are very clear about it. We are saying prioritise the previously disadvantaged people, but don’t leave everybody out,” he said.

Explaining their stance, Mchunu said: “Inclusive economic growth is not about leaving some people out.”

He said they read and understood the constitution and were confident that the proposal was above board.

The Sunday Tribune understood that there were workshops currently underway across the province in a bid to train officials from municipalities, provincial departments and government entities on the revised regulations that were promulgated in January.

The revised regulations prescribed new “progressive changes” that increased the threshold for the application of preference points during the tender process.


LINK - https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/news/anc-defends-controversial-bee-procurement-reforms-11762163

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