How to go about buying BEE shares

Lihle Mtshali

Lihle Mtshali

Do you have aspirations of becoming the next black economic empowerment mogul? Get your balance sheet in order first.

This was the general consensus among those in the know when Sowetan posed the question of how the man on the street could go about acquiring some wealth by means of a slice of the black economic empowerment pie.

"Unless a company has decided to go retail and sell their shares publicly like Naspers and Telkom did, it would be very difficult for an individual to buy BEE shares in a company," said Colin Reddy, a director at the Business Map Foundation.

Most employees who are contributing towards pension funds already own black economic empowerment shares if their fund administrators have invested the money in empowerment companies. But the best advice Reddy could give was for individuals to look within their communities to see if there were any structures such as consortiums of which they could be part.

"In practical terms individuals do not have much of a choice when it comes to buying BEE shares, companies and their partners decide how an empowerment deal would be structured," he said.

"There is a common assumption that BEE goes contrary to basic fundamental principles," said Dumisani Nxumalo from economic empowerment rating agency, EmpowerDEX.

Nxumalo said black economic empowerment should not be viewed as a handout. Buying shares in any company was essentially an investment , even the shares were purchased at a discount. This involved accepting the risk that comes with any investment.