DA fights for 'racial' BEE to be scrapped

DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya and with DA top official Michael Waters./Felix Dlangamandla
DA head of policy Gwen Ngwenya and with DA top official Michael Waters./Felix Dlangamandla

The DA wants Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) to be scrapped and a new model which focuses on people's needs rather than their race to be introduced.

This is according to the party's draft discussion document on economic justice which has been released ahead of its policy conference next month. The party believes BEE focuses on the wealthy, politically connected and tenderpreneurs, leaving out majority of South Africans who are poor.

The DA's policy head Gwen Ngwenya said that the trickle down redress approach of BEE which focuses on transferring of assets, positions and contracts from one elite to the other does not work. The BEE model, according to Ngwenya, ensures that those who get in continue to benefit and their race does not change.

She said DA proposes a bottom-up approach which focuses on the drivers of inequality of opportunities which affects majority of South Africans. "This policy follows an approach which is based on need and disadvantage as opposed to race. One's race does not change regardless of how empowered you become.

"BEE has enabled people to benefit on the basis of their race who do not need assistance at the expense of those who do. This policy will ensure that the disadvantaged benefit from redress."

The DA's policy document says the party must focus on the inclusion of the majority of South Africans in the economy. It suggests various ways that could eventually lead to a lessened dependency on the state such as adequate education, eradication of poverty, employment and creation of wealth by saving and investing.

"A rising level of dependency means that taxes retrieved from an already stretched taxpayer base will have to stretch to cover more and more people. This is unsustainable.

"Our goal is to bring down the level of dependency in society, that the ratio between the economically inactive and the economically active population. The discussion document suggests a huge focus on education as one way of limiting inequality of opportunities in the future by ensuring that each child spent a minimum of 12 years in school, limiting strikes, ensuring girls do not miss school days due to menstruation and eliminating school dropouts.

"School dropouts would not be a problem if those who left school were being diverted into vocational training, but this is not happening. However, the need to divert to vocational college before matric should be so urgent, taking into consideration that there are opportunities for vocational training within the school curriculum," the document reads.

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