Lobby group questions ICT sector BBE ratings
ITWEB / 05 AUGUST 2020 - 15.44 / SAMUEL MUNGADZE
Pressure group the Progressive Blacks in ICT (PBICT) has criticised government for “dishing out” broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) status, saying it is stifling growth of small businesses.
The PBICT says it has been monitoring developments in the industry “with one wave after another of disappointment in government, regulators and the big players”.
It says the victims of this “tsunami of waves” are the small and medium enterprises and poor people excluded from participating in the sector.
PBICT is accusing telco and other ICT sector companies of “manipulating the system” in attaining BBBEE contributor status.
Vodacom has dismissed the accusation. Both Vodacom and MTN recently announced they had moved up a notch on BBBEE ratings, saying this is a result of efforts geared towards ensuring the local economy is structured and transformed.
Last week, Microsoft also declared it had been awarded a level one BBBEE rating. The software company said this represents years of focused investment and commitment “toward realising the true intent of what broad-based black empowerment means for SA”.
Now, PBICT president Leon Rolls says “dishing out” of level one BBBEE status to these companies “is just appalling”.
“We are being let down by the people we entrusted to be the defenders of the marginalised and poor. We are appealing to government and the regulators to catch up with the times and realise that SMMEs are the future and the only hope of building this country moving forward.
“The system is broken, our spirit is broken, and we have been left on the side by our government to be kicked to the kerb by an industry that is benefitting from the R15 billion ICT spend of government.”
In a rebuke of the empowerment rating, he says: “Government must serve the people and must deliver the mandate they promised to the voters. Stop the looting please and use the taxpayer money to get us connected instead of self-enrichment.”
Further, Rolls says government must “stop giving out BBBEE statuses to hackers, give us access to TV white space, uplift the moratorium on individual licences, speed up the WOAN, abolish USAASA and create a digital fund that focuses on funding SMMEs that are building community networks.”
In a recent interview with ITWeb, the BBBEE ICT sector council said it is set to review the 2016 amended ICT sector transformation plan.
Andile Tlhoaele, chairperson of the BBBEE ICT sector council, said the strategy will focus on the inclusion of disabled black women and unemployed youth in the mainstream ICT economy.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER