|Actualising Empowerment -
Gauteng recommits to bee
our new series of stories, opinions, analysis and
experiences of South Africans with regard to Broad-Based
Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE or BEE).
Brought to you by Nkonki Inc, ‘Actualising
Empowerment’ will bring you regular takes
on BEE in action. It will enhance our ‘BEE
in the Know’ section with its practical slant.
For BEE beyond the Codes and policy documents,
stay with ‘Actualising Empowerment’.
Gauteng Recommits to BEE
The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has recommitted
itself to the advancement of black participation in its
economic growth. A special focus will be on increasing
procurement from small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs),
said the Head of Economic Development in Gauteng,
Sibusiso Xaba. He was keynote speaker at the launch
of the Absa Business Link Forum, which took place
at the Sandton Sun on Thursday, May 31st.
“Our BEE strategy is not about starting new projects,
but about improving the way we do things”, Xaba stressed
that GPG is more interested in implementing an ‘integrated
coherent’ programme that ‘binds all provincial
Implementation was the most frequently used word, as emphasised
by the audience in their questions.
“When are we going to start doing business, instead
of expressing our good intentions…?” This
was one of the rhetorical questions posed by one fired-up
lady in the audience, expressing her frustration at the
absence of services to help small black entrepreneurs,
in spite of many well-meaning policies and strategies.
Robert Mhlambi, Head of Black Business Support at Absa was
quick to respond. Absa is dedicated, said Mhlambi,
to simplify banking and access to finance for black SMMEs,
hence their involvement in the initiative.
Buhle Mthethwa, President of Nafcoc,
and Victor Kgomoeswana, of www.moneybiz.co.za,
were the panelists. Mthethwa called for more co-ordination
of all the good interventions in order to have a lasting
impact on poverty and to facilitate ‘shared economic
Absa is excited with the Business Link Forum – a
partnership with Thokozani Thwala of Growth
Map – because of three reasons. First of all,
Africans make up 80% of the South African population. Secondly,
according to Robert Emslie – one of the
executive directors of Absa – economic growth
can be sustained for decades if the country increases the
size of its middle class, which can only be black for demographic
reasons. Lastly but most importantly, the future of South
Africa needs more black people to be economically successful – and
that means reaching out to those previously excluded from
The Forum will be convened on a more regular
basis to allow Absa to hear from the SMMEs themselves
what issues they face. As for the GPG, 70% of
the provincial procurement expenditure will have to be
channeled to black business by 2009. 30% must, by then,
benefit small and medium enterprises, with 10% for micro-enterprises. Xaba was
practical in his presentation, though. He acknowledged
that the provincial government needed to improve on how
it manages its records of its black small suppliers to
shorten the turnaround time, especially in processing payments.
To this end, the Gauteng Shared Services Centre has
been asked to assist, to enable the GPG to reduce its payment
cycle to a minimum of 15 days, concluded Xaba.
For more information on the BBBEE Strategy for Gauteng,