Black-owned component suppliers 'in short supply'

General Motors South Africa vice-president and legal counsel Joel Baepi yesterday said that there was still much work that needed to be done in the preferential procurement arena.

General Motors South Africa vice-president and legal counsel Joel Baepi yesterday said that there was still much work that needed to be done in the preferential procurement arena.

Announcing that the company had achieved Level Six in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment audit for 2008, he said that there were relatively few black-owned component suppliers largely due to the capital-intensive nature of the industry.

"But, as motor companies increase local content levels in their vehicles, opportunities for black entrepreneurs and shareholders will increase."

He said that many component manufacturers were still in the process of obtaining BEE accreditation, which means that General Motors SA's spend with them was not yet contributing to its preferential procurement score.

General Motors SA said that shortly after it achieved Level Seven on the scorecard, it learned that it had progressed to the next level due to the change in BEE status of one its suppliers.

"We are delighted for this change in status. This change does not only benefit General Motors SA but will most importantly benefit our dealers too," said Baepi.

In addition, Baepi said he viewed skills development as an intrinsic part of broad-based BEE. "Handouts bring short-term relief, but when we teach people skills, it ensures long-term sustainability," he said. - I-Net Bridge

X