TO: PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA HOUSES
FROM: KGANKI MATABANE
DATE: 02 May 2023
SUBJECT: BLACK BUSINESS COUNCIL STATEMENT ON THE ESKOM OFF-
THE-BOOKS BLSA SPONSORED ANDRE DE RYTER INVESTIGATION
The Black Business Council (BBC) elected new National Office Bearers (NOBs) on the 12th of August 2021. As the new tenure begins, it is important that the mandate of the BBC leadership is shared with fellow South Africans, the media and all stakeholders, as we strive for the participation and inclusion of black people in the mainstream economy.
During the virtual press conference/briefing, the new leadership shared their plans, focus areas and future programmes:
1. The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Business Unity South Africa and Business for South Africa (B4SA)
The BBC recognises the importance of business to speak with one voice on many common business issues. The BBC is expecting to fully participate at Nedlac with BUSA – as equals, as part of the Cooperation Agreement signed with BUSA. The BBC and BUSA established B4SA in 2019 to collaborate with government in dealing with covid-19 and all related matters. The BBC intends to maintain and continue with our role at B4SA to ensure that the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa is fully and urgently implemented.
2. Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council.
The term of office of the previous advisory council expired in 2019 and government has yet to constitute a new council. This gives the impression that government does not take the economic empowerment and emancipation of black people and other designated groups seriously, in a country where black people remain excluded from participating in the economy by past apartheid laws. The BBC calls on the responsible minister, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition to urgently expediate the appointment and constitution of the Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council.
3. Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), Township Economy, Black Bank and Public Audit Act.
There is a universal consensus that SMMEs are a cornerstone of any economic growth and job creation. As such, the BBC will put more focus on lobbying for the support of SMMEs and the Township Economy. In this regard, the BBC will more sharply advocate for financial support and market access. The BBC will also urgently urge the National Treasury to ensure that the implementation of the Public Audit Act is expedited with immediate effect to ensure that those who are not paying SMMEs in 30 days are harshly and decisively dealt with as they are killing small business. The BBC will also continue to advocate for the establishment of a black-owned and run Bank, as this bank will better comprehends the needs of small and black business.
4. State Capture and Corruption
The BBC is fully against all forms of corruption as corruption robs the poor and genuine black businesses of opportunities to participate in the mainstream economy. As such, the BBC calls for the blacklisting of ALL companies that have admitted their roles in advancing state capture and have even refunded or paid back the monies that they earned corruptly. This will send a strong message that corruption does not favour big and multinational companies.
5. Public Procurement Bill
On 19 February 2020, the Minister of Finance published the Draft Public Procurement Bill for public comment (to be submitted by 30 June 2020). This bill will also repeal the notorious Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA). The BBC and other South Africans submitted their comments on the closing date, but the process has since stalled. The Public Procurement Bill was also included in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as public procurement is seen as an important instrument that could be utilised to support black, youth and women-owned businesses – including businesses owned by people living with disabilities. The BBC urges the newly appointed Minister of Finance to urgently expedite the processing of the Public Procurement Bill as per the ERRP.
6. Radio Frequency Spectrum and Wireless Open Access Network
Access to and full participation in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is extremely important as the entire world moves towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The BBC calls on government to expedite the release of the Spectrum and ensure the adequate allocation of spectrum to the Wireless Open Access Network (“WOAN”) to ensure WOAN viability. It is crucial that the WOAN is owned by the previously disadvantaged South Africans as a way of opening the ICT sector to new entrants.
Localisation has been identified as key in creating local jobs. If SA is to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, and not repeat history, there will be a need to rethink the importation strategy and become a manufacturing hub for essential drugs, working hand-in-hand with the government’s black industrialist programme to create much-needed local job opportunities. This patriotic action could also help the country to reduce poverty and grow the economy in light of the recent credit rating downgrades. The BBC calls for the prioritisation of localisation by both business, government and labour.
8. African Continental Free Trade Area
The BBC will deliberately pursue practical participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and will work with and lobby for the support of South African businesses wanting to partake in AfCFTA opportunities.
9. Black Public Interest Issues
The BBC resolved to lead an establishment of an independent body or entity (independent from the BBC) solely for the purpose of taking up black public interest issues. This entity will be fit for purpose and adequately resourced to take these issues to courts and other relevant platforms to ensure that black issues are given the necessary attention and respect.
10. Internal BBC Matters
In order to be more effective and efficient, the BBC will
- work tirelessly in strengthening its Policy and Research capacity to fully advance its mandate and objectives.
- strengthen its member organisations to enable them to focus more on sector specific issues.
- establish provincial presence to advance the reach and mission of the organisation