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Dineo Faku | 18 July 2023

Sanlam chair Elias Masilela says corporate South Africa should not “throw the baby away with the bath water” when it comes to economic empowerment.

This as the latest Sanlam Transformation Gauge found that the pace of transformation remains slow.

Speaking during the launch of the report in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Masilela said transformation should go beyond being a box-ticking exercise if the economy is to be inclusive.

“Let us not deal with the symptoms, let us deal with the causes or the sources of the problems that bring us where we are. Let us not blame the design, but the manner in which we implement and the conviction with which we implement. Do not throw away the baby with the bath water. Replace the water and make sure it is cleaner and properly soaked.”

The third edition of the report is based on empowerment scorecards of 14,542 firms across 10 sectors of the economy, up from 10,336 last year and 3,145 in 2021. It found that transformation is not as advanced as scorecards suggested and comments from industry were that B-BBEE policy was not keeping up with the changes in the various sectors.

Masilela said: “Why is BEE so elusive when we believe it is relevant to change our futures? It is not the policy, it is attitudes, it is racism and corruption.”

Transformation of “management control” was at 69% in 2023, up from 56% in 2022 and 58% in 2022, with the property, financial services, ICT and forestry sectors lagging behind in their scores.

Masilela said: “If you go beyond the numbers and look at the human element, it is depressing. The question was asked whether this poor performance in corporate SA is due to resistance to seeing black leadership or the lack of skills, or both. The results are that 51% of the people surveyed said it is because of resistance.

“That says to us attitudes have not changed, attitudes have not moved, we are still ticking boxes.”

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


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