President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Advisory Council as a game changing event of high importance.

He said that the inaugural meeting of the B-BBEE Advisory Council is a milestone in the long journey the country has traversed since the Black Economic Empowerment Commission produced its seminal report 22 years ago.

The President was making remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council on Tuesday.

He said the meeting bears testament to years of hard work by government, in collaboration with the private sector, to advance progressive legislation to transform the economy.

“The establishment of this council is without a doubt a game changer as we now look to expand the frontiers of B-BBEE as a critical enabler of economic growth and social transformation. I want to congratulate each of you on your appointment.

“You will be advising government, and guiding the trajectory of B-BBEE as we recover and rebuild from years of slow economic growth and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The President said the council will be reviewing progress around B-BBEE and advising on the Draft Codes of Good Practice that the Minister will be publishing for public comment.

Among other things, the council will also be reviewing sector charters and providing advice on draft transformation charters such as the Draft Legal Services Charter that will soon be published for public comment.

B-BBEE and employment equity

“With regards to B-BBEE and employment equity, there has been substantial progress with regards to the representation of blacks and women in the workplace, including in senior management, in both the public and private sectors,” President Ramaphosa said.

He highlighted that the deliberate efforts of government to transform the economy has resulted in more black South Africans and women owning and managing businesses, and having stakes in large companies.

The President noted that the worker shareholder regime continues to improve and small businesses also continue to benefit from preferential procurement by the state, and receive a range of support to grow and expand.

“At the same time we know we are not as far as we hope to be, and that is why the work of this Council will be critical.

“When we speak about the next frontier we are talking about a new vision for B-BBEE; that builds on successes, that learns from shortcomings, and that is both agile and adaptive in response to the realities of the national and global economies,” the President said.

In this year’s State of the Nation Address, the President called for a new consensus to achieve higher rates of economic growth, social transformation and advance common prosperity.

He said consolidating B-BBEE is one of the aspects such a consensus will rely upon.

The President emphasised that there can be no growth without economic inclusion, adding that there can be no inclusive recovery and reconstruction unless B-BBEE is at the centre.

“It is our expectation that this Council will assist us as government to enhance the implementation of B-BBEE and associated policy such as the Codes of Good Practice, the Sector Charters, and recent instruments like the DTIC’s Black Industrialists Programme and Worker Ownership requirements.

“Between you, you have a range of experience, from working in state-owned enterprises, to private companies, to SMME’s, to public procurement, to serving as regulators on B-BBEE, competition and trade policy,” he said.

President Ramaphosa expressed confidence in the council, saying he has no doubt that this expertise will be brought to bear as the council undertake its work, in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and other departments.

Next year the country will mark 20 years since the promulgation of B-BBEE legislation.

“As we journey towards this occasion, we want to see the Council at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, especially to counter negative narratives that are gaining traction around B-BBEE.

“We also want you to join us in championing initiatives like the Black Industrialists Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the Black Industrialist Conference later this month,” the President said.

The President wished the council well, saying he had no doubt that the council is up to the task as they assume their duties at a challenging time.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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