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Zikalala blasted for his 'shotgun' BEE approach

THE POST / 30 OCTOBER 2017 - 09:33AM / DOREEN PREMDEV

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala’s proposed “radical economic transformation” has been seen by business and community leaders as a shotgun approach to address a historical economic challenge and a breach of the constitution - which will have dire repercussions on the already ailing economy.

Zikalala sent his proposal for the changes to the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) policy to the National Treasury in August.

Sihle Zikalala

This proposal suggests that Indians and coloured people be blocked from state contracts of more than R50 million in an attempt to reshape the BEE policies to benefit “black Africans”.

Despite the setback from Treasury, Zikalala said the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal would move forward its view at the national elective conference in December.

According to BEE legislation, “black” includes Indians, coloured and Chinese citizens who have been living in South Africa prior to 1994 - and black Africans in general.

It has been reported that ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said there was an understanding that black people of African origin bore the brunt of colonialism and apartheid.

He said initially they asked for economic emancipation for black people in general.

Now they want preference to be given to black Africans in particular.

The chief executive of KZN Oils, Rajen Reddy, said some African youth were not fully aware of the Struggle credentials of the other race groups.

He said that some made excuses to justify their failures instead of working hard to achieve success.

“Zikalala’s proposal is a shotgun approach to address a historical economical challenge of some black Africans,” said Reddy.

“What the MEC has proposed is unfair - if you want to address any shortfalls or imbalances then you deal with the cause of the problem/challenge, and not by removing and replacing policy without proper processes being followed.

“This goes back to the dark old days of apartheid and is short-sighted. This will cost the ANC in votes, investor confidence and mentorship programmes by Indian and coloured businessmen.”

Repercussions

He said people normally act or react according to their ability to resolve challenges.

A possible lack of ideas to stimulate the SMME (Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises) sector - understanding job creation comes with years of experience from interacting with entrepreneurs, owning and running business, he said. Reddy raised the question whether the right people were leading the skills development - he suggested the MEC look at what made Indian and coloured citizens successful and broaden the economic base to increase the participation of new players.

Attorney and president of the South African Hindhu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said the call to restrict BEE transactions to exclude others was nothing more than a breach of the constitution.

“The constitution guarantees freedom of trade and the right to economic freedom,” said Trikamjee. “Therefore any dilution of that right or, for that matter, a restriction to free economic trade constitutes a breach of that right.

Given the present chaos caused as a direct result of tender fraud - one expects more attention in that area as it has become a cancer in our democracy.”

MF leader Shameen Thakur Rajbansi said Zikalala’s quick-fix radical economic transformation agenda was not backed by a proper pre-consulted policy with all stakeholders.

“This is an irrational decision which will have dire repercussions on the already ailing South African economy,” said Thakur Rajbansi.

“This proposal will fail as the foundation to build emerging black entrepreneurs is not present, such as business incubator programmes. Blocking Indians and coloureds is socially unjust, given that they have been disenfranchised previously by multiple forms of subjugation - from the bondage of slavery of our forefathers to apartheid oppression. The only possible reason for Zikalala’s bizarre proposal is political bankruptcy and the race for populist votes come 2019.”

She said the country would never have come to this if the current policy had not been mis-implemented to suit only the politically connected among Indian and coloured citizens.

DA MPL Francois Rodgers condemned Zikalala’s proposal, saying it would only further divide our province along colour lines.

“Zikalala’s increasingly extreme views when it comes to such issues spell trouble for the province of KZN,” said Rodgers.

“This proposal is also symptomatic of a leader void of any legislative savvy. Anyone with an iota of constitutional understanding would realise that the proposal is unconstitutional and would result in a litany of legal challenges.”

He added that the DA acknowledged the inherited disparities of the past and the need for redress through effective broad-based black empowerment.

“What we will not tolerate is the system of ‘connectivity’ empowerment currently driving the ANC’s state capture agenda and the Zuma campaign in the upcoming ANC elective congress,” said Rodgers.

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LINK - https://www.iol.co.za/thepost/zikalala-blasted-for-his-shotgun-bee-approach-11771479

Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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