Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sbu Ndebele has expressed concern at the implementation of black economic empowerment in areas outside of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Addressing delegates at an economic development conference in Durban yesterday, Ndebele said that despite economic gains in KwaZulu-Natal, it was still hard to find black people in the provincial economy, referring to BEE implementation as skewed.

"We have seen some progress made by the previously disenfranchised entrepreneurs in some projects, but the number of black participants in larger projects, especially in construction, in terms of ownership and management, is not yet reflective of our demographics," he said.

Ndebele said to address these imbalances, a commitment was reached between his government and the KZN Growth Coalition that at least 50percent of work outsourced by the industry would go to BEE enterprises.

He said the government, which has a direct influence over 63 percent or more of the R7,5billion procurement budget, has ensured that procurement prescripts are crafted in such a way that more is spent to aggressively drive BEE.

He said it was essential that in order to facilitate the process of empowerment, the provincial government's BEE strategy was implemented.

MEC for local government Mike Mabuyakhulu said the global economic events of the past few months had shown that the state should drive economic growth.

He said while the remedies to the economic meltdown were as diverse as the countries of the world, there was consensus that the state should play a central role in driving economic growth.