BEE watchdog fights for small business

SLAIN: Brett Kebble. Pic:  Tyrone Arthur. © BD
SLAIN: Brett Kebble. Pic: Tyrone Arthur. © BD

Thomas McLachlan

Thomas McLachlan

Small businesses have called on the government to take a more active role in overseeing transformation by joining the Black Economic Empowerment Watchdog (BEEWD), which was launched yesterday in Johannesburg.

"The government must push the agenda for BEE share deals so that it can reach small-, medium- and micro enterprises (SMMEs). The government must work with the BEEWD so that they can enforce laws and protect small businesses in BEE," said an independent contract builder from Qwa Qwa in the Free State, Kenneth Katiso.

Katiso said the government should work with the newly formed watchdog to ensure that the tendering process was fair to small businesses.

"The Scorpions and the police service need to be brought into negotiations to ensure that tenders are investigated thoroughly, so that corruption [in the tendering process] can be eradicated," said Katiso.

"I expect the watchdog to become the agent between the government, my business and the private sector companies as well," Katiso said, adding that it was important to small businesses that larger companies made an effort to outsource their operations to SMMEs.

Zakhele Mabaso, national president of the watchdog, said before the launch big businesses benefited the most from black economic empowerment.

"A handful of black men who are politically and business connected have become multi-billionaires through the exploitation of the policy flaws," he said, adding that this was mainly at the expense of small businesses, particularly those in the informal sector.

"The government tells us that things cannot happen overnight, but why not, when some individuals are making this much money overnight?" asked Thulani Nkosi, a taxi driver working in Johannesburg.

Nkosi said more communication was needed between industry and the government and hoped that the watchdog would ensure this happened.