BEE 'in need of revamp'

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

In the same week that GijimaAst has been awarded a top empowerment rating by economic empowerment rating agency Empowerdex, the listed ICT company's non-executive chairman Robert Gumede has criticised BEE deals that only empower a handful and do not create enough jobs.

Gumede said: "BEE as we know it today has not really created the much needed jobs and entrepreneurs as black business is only focused on buying minority stakes in white companies without hands-on involvement.

"Typically in the current climate, you have serial BEE dealers who sign different minority BEE deals during breakfast, lunch and dinner on the same day; hence most BEE deals fail as our people never create an identity with a particular business or sector because of a BEE deals rat race."

Institutions like the Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation, Khula and Umsobomvu Youth Fund can play a role in helping black business gain control of key industries, "but success will only come if you are hands-on".

Up until the end of last month Gumede was GijimaAst's executive chairman. The company was this week awarded an AA empowerment rating for complying with all pillars of the BEE scorecard requirements, which include ownership and employment equity. GijimaAst has more than 50percent black executives, 42percent black staff, including a black chief executive, Jonas Bogoshi.

Gumede has thrown down the gauntlet to fellow black businessmen. "I am looking forward to an open and robust debate among black business as we take stock of the successes, failures and challenges of BEE over the past 15 years.

"I believe the ANC is committed to engage with black business and white capital in redefining BEE so that it can benefit the majority of our people as the BEE net is widened to cater for more, not a select few who monopolise black business opportunities."