President Cyril Ramaphosa says the inaugural meeting of the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council is a game changing event of high importance

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the inaugural meeting of the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council is a game changing event of high importance

The Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Advisory Council’s maiden meeting has been hailed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a pivotal and crucial occasion.

He said that the B-BBEE Advisory Council’s first meeting marks an important turning point in the long road the nation has travelled since the Black Economic Empowerment Commission’s landmark report was published 22 years ago.

The President was speaking Tuesday during the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council’s first meeting.

He claimed that the gathering was proof of the government’s long-term commitment to advancing progressive laws to revamp the economy, working in tandem with the private sector.

“The establishment of this council is without a doubt a game changer as we now look to expand the frontiers of B-BBEE as a critical enabler of economic growth and social transformation. I want to congratulate each of you on your appointment.

“You will be advising government, and guiding the trajectory of B-BBEE as we recover and rebuild from years of slow economic growth and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The President said the council will be reviewing progress around B-BBEE and advising on the Draft Codes of Good Practice that the Minister will be publishing for public comment.

Among other things, the council will also be reviewing sector charters and providing advice on draft transformation charters such as the Draft Legal Services Charter that will soon be published for public comment.

“With regards to B-BBEE and employment equity, there has been substantial progress with regards to the representation of blacks and women in the workplace, including in senior management, in both the public and private sectors,” President Ramaphosa said.

He highlighted that the deliberate efforts of government to transform the economy has resulted in more black South Africans and women owning and managing businesses, and having stakes in large companies.

The President noted that the worker shareholder regime continues to improve and small businesses also continue to benefit from preferential procurement by the state, and receive a range of support to grow and expand.

“At the same time we know we are not as far as we hope to be, and that is why the work of this Council will be critical.

“When we speak about the next frontier we are talking about a new vision for B-BBEE; that builds on successes, that learns from shortcomings, and that is both agile and adaptive in response to the realities of the national and global economies,” the President said.

The President called for a new consensus to advance common prosperity, achieve faster rates of economic growth, and alter society in this year’s State of the Nation Address.

He claimed that one of the elements such a consensus would rely on is consolidating B-BBEE.

The President emphasised that there cannot be economic inclusion without growth, and that B-BBEE must be at the forefront of any inclusive recovery and reconstruction.

“It is our expectation that this Council will assist us as government to enhance the implementation of B-BBEE and associated policy such as the Codes of Good Practice, the Sector Charters, and recent instruments like the DTIC’s Black Industrialists Programme and Worker Ownership requirements.

“Between you, you have a range of experience, from working in state-owned enterprises, to private companies, to SMME’s, to public procurement, to serving as regulators on B-BBEE, competition and trade policy,” he said.

President Ramaphosa expressed confidence in the council, stating that he has no doubt that this knowledge would be used as the council carries out its duties, working alongside the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition and other departments.

The country will commemorate 20 years since B-BBEE legislation was enacted next year.

“As we journey towards this occasion, we want to see the Council at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, especially to counter negative narratives that are gaining traction around B-BBEE.

“We also want you to join us in championing initiatives like the Black Industrialists Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the Black Industrialist Conference later this month,” the President said.

The President wished the council well and expressed his confidence in their ability to carry out their responsibilities during this difficult time.