Comment on article

An article is currently doing the rounds stating “All whites now finally excluded from the South African job market”


We’ve seen these comments – they’ve been going around since December 2011. The headline is factually incorrect, and many of the facts in the article are deeply twisted.

The article quotes Andile Tlhoaele who made his comments in December 2011, talking about the B-BBEE Amendment Bill. He did make some comments that were incorrect and his own interpretations were flawed.
His runs a verification agency called Inforcomm. I personally spoke to him and pointed out some of the issues which he acknowledged.

Let’s look at some of the facts:
It is absolutely not true that “all whites are finally excluded from the job market”. If that were the case, whites would not have jobs. The latest CEE report still shows serious inequity in the job market, in favour of white people.
For example, in 2014 White top managers still accounted for more than half of all top managers

The facts continued:
The fact is the B-BBEE Act and the Codes of Good Practice has always used a definition of “black”. White – people or women – were NEVER included in that definition. Prior to the Amendment Act, the definition of black was contained in the Codes of Good Practice. Companies have never earned B-BBEE points from employing white women. All that has happened is the Bill has moved the definition of “black” from the Codes to the Act. This means that the definition of “black” has not changed since the first codes were gazetted in 2007, and prior to 2007, the draft codes used the same definition. An interesting anecdote is that the early draft financial sector codes did not use the same definition for black as the codes. However when they were finally gazetted at the end of 2012 they used the correct definition.
It is clear that the definition of “black” has never included white women. The codes have been in operation since 2007, and as shown above in 2013 white people still make up the majority of top managers.

The B-BBEE Act and Codes do not seek to eliminate white people from the marketplace.

Other facts:
The PPPFA used to take into account white women (the PPPFA used HDSA – historically disadvantaged South Africans) and the percentage of white women in top management would count for government tenders.
This was always seen as a problem, and as early as 2004 the treasury department started looking at changing the regulations. It was decided in 2011 that t5he PPPFA would use BEE levels as one of the criteria in evaluating tender submissions.

This was always seen as a problem because it created the tenderpreneur issue.
As early as 2004, parliament and the treasury department started looking at changing the regulations. It was decided in 2011 that the PPPFA would use BEE levels as one of the criteria in evaluating tender submissions. Right now the only criteria that the PPPFA uses for all tenders evaluations are: Functionality, Price, and BEE Level.

The B-BBEE Codes awards points based on seven elements – ownership, management control, employment equity, skills development, enterprise development and socio-economic development, with different rules for various industries and depending of the annual revenue of businesses. It is as feasible for white owned and operated businesses to win tenders as any other business.

At no stage does the PPPFA or the BEE Amendment Act (which was gazetted on 27th January 2014, but has not yet proclaimed) or the Codes, exclude whites from the job market. Companies can, and do achieve high levels of compliance anyway.

The B-BBEE Amendment Act does contain a clause (Section 3) that states that the B-BBEE Act is to be the act that prevails if there is any conflict between this act and any other act – unless the minister makes an exception. This tries to ensure that there will be only one method of measuring economic transformation in South Africa being the B-BBEE Codes. It should be noted that other acts and govt departments do sometimes operate in contradiction to the B-BBEE Codes. The most glaring example of contradiction is the mining act which has a widely differing methodology to the B-BBEE Codes.

In our opinion, the B-BBEE Codes are the best set of rules to implement in order to ensure economic transformation, compared to other initiatives such as the mining act.

Our research shows that most of the largest businesses in South Africa indeed have achieved good BEE levels of compliance including those with the largest market capitalization, including SAB, Naspers, MTN, Bidvest, Vodacom, as well as all the banks and top accounting firms, many of the largest construction companies, top oil companies.

However, in terms of number of companies, we estimate that less than 100 000 companies have a have a valid BEE level or certificate.

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