Mbeki’s BEE vision revisited

Original publish date – Fri, 17 Jul 2009 12:04:36 +0000, Keith

Tony Leon has written an interesting articles in the Business Day in discussing BEE and Moeletsi Mbeki. Amongst others Leon states:
“The taproot of Moeletsi Mbeki’s discontent is that BEE, as commonly practised, “creates a small class of unproductive but wealthy black crony capitalists” and thus strikes a blow against the emergence of genuine entrepreneurship.”

I wonder if Leon is correct is his assertion that Mbeki’s concern is about  “BEE, as commonly practised…”? Either way many people are concerned about the way “BEE is commonly practised”. Does this imply that since some people choose to call their actions “BEE”, but do not practice it as required, then the entire B-BBEE policy is flawed? If Lance Armstrong teaches me to ride a bicycle, but I choose to use a car instead, do we blame Lance Armstrong, or the bike, or myself for not implementing riding bikes properly? Just because a company implements a system that someone dislikes, why blame B-BBEE for that action? If the company says it is taking that action in the name of BEE, does it make that action a proper BEE action? In which case, I’ll bring my car and win the Tour de France, because I choose to call driving a car, “riding the Tour de France”. In the case of me winning the cycle race, the organizers can and will disqualify me. Do we disqualify every company and every person who states that they are BEE compliant, or taking actions in terms of the BEE codes, but end up not doing so? When  a company states that a particular position is a quota position do we blame BEE, or the company for doing it wrongly in the name of BEE?

I’m not at all concerned about “BEE as it is commonly practiced”. BEE can only be practiced in one way – the way defined by the concept of implementing B-BBEE – the codes of good practice, and the EconoBEE way of implementing it. I’m concerned about people practicing something (let’s call it “anti-BEE”, but stating that they are in fact practicing and implementing B-BBEE).

Who, or what  should we blame? Not B-BBEE because most people, when they understand it do agree that B-BBEE is a good policy. Rather let’s blame those companies that contribute to Mbeki’s feling that it “creates a small class of unproductive but wealthy black crony capitalists” and thus strikes a blow against the emergence of genuine entrepreneurship”.

 

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