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05 Jul

Why Bother With BEE?

Last week the B-BBEE Commission released its annual report on the state of broad-based black economic empowerment. It definitively highlights that B-BBEE is a dead horse that should be shipped off to a glue factory instead of beaten further.

According to the Commission, less than half of all JSE listed companies submitted annual compliance reports as mandated by the B-BBEE Act. The fact that the vast majority of large companies are willfully shirking their legal responsibility speaks volumes. Even more damning is the Commission’s finding that only 10% of government entities bothered to submit their own compliance reports.

Why should any of us take a policy seriously when our own government doesn’t?

And these aren’t isolated findings. Private and public sector compliance rates are virtually unchanged from 2017. Furthermore, based on those entities that did bother to submit their reports, the Commission found that levels of black ownership and executive management are virtually unchanged.

So, in summary: business doesn’t care about B-BBEE, government cares even less, and (unsurprisingly) the policy isn’t making a difference.

How much longer do we need to endure this embarrassing charade?

If entrepreneurship, job creation, and skills development are the keys to sustainable economic growth, why not build on the incentives that are already in place? Make the Small Business Corporation tax structure more accessible. Increase the salary threshold for the Employment Tax Incentive. Streamline the learnership application and administration procedures.

B-BBEE has long overstayed its welcome and needs to be relegated to the scrapheap of policy failure. The convoluted mechanics, racial identity politics, and obsession with wealth redistribution over wealth creation are an anchor to our past instead of a bridge to a better future.

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