Local organisation wants a piece of the cake
MIDRAND REPORTER / 15 MAY 2018 - 10.08 / STAFF REPORTER
Midrand Local Economic Empowerment (MLEE) NPC has only existed for one year and is already the talk of the town, holding many companies to account for local empowerment.
The organisation was founded on 24 April last year by a group of individuals comprised of concerned activists and local small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs). Executive member Benson Motsumi said the organisation was formed following the rapid growth of Midrand and realising that the majority of black local SMMEs were excluded from the local economy.
Executive member of MLEE Benson Motsumi flanked by executive assistants
Thembisile Dube and Tebogo Phaahle.
He said Midrand with its growth contributes 40 per cent to Johannesburg’s gross domestic product but the majority of its people are poor.
“A total of 74 per cent of the population is black and the majority of them are women and youth. We then said this situation cannot continue. We are made spectators while less than 30 per cent of people is enjoying and benefiting from black buying power,” he said.
Motsumi said another reason why they established the organisation was after a number of local SMMEs approached property developers for jobs and were allegedly told there was no work for them.
“Developers come into the area complete with workforce and do not recruit locally. When we look for jobs they tell us of a closed tender process. Midrand townships are filled with poverty.
People are trapped in those areas and cannot get out because developers come and take but do not give back.”
He mentioned that the resistance from the private sector to abide by the 30 per cent clause to subcontract local SMMEs was one of the major challenges faced by SMMEs. “There is no government of the public and the private sector. We all fall under one government with one Constitution. Once government establishes a clause, it’s for everyone to abide.”
Motsumi who is also an activist added that another challenge faced by SMMEs is the manipulation of the BEE compliance criteria. He alleged that some companies place a black person as a window dresser to achieve the BEE scorecard. “The system is very easy to manipulate. We are being offered employment. We want empowerment so that SMMEs can stand on their own.”
He said that to date, 30 SMMEs under the organisation in a form of joint ventures, consortiums, corporative and individual business owners are empowered. A number of 200 skilled people are employed in various developments.
“We want to thank Balwin Properties, Force Property Investments, JT Ross Properties and many other developers for heeding the call of empowerment.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER