Headline Jan 06, 2015/



FEW  PEOPLE are more aware of the horrors of apartheid than Memphela Ramphele.

Her boyfriend, Steve Biko, the founder of the-  Black Consciousness movement, was beaten to death in police custody in 1977.

Like South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), Dr Ramphele, now an opposition politician, believes that the government should try to heal the wounds of half a century of white supremacist rule.

But she does not like the way it is going about it.

In March 2013, Dr Ramphele claimed that the government had forced  Gold Fields,  a mining firm of which she used to be a chairwoman, to sell a stake in the business to a consortium with ties to the ANC.

The  73  people in the consortium, included the chairperson of the  ANC and a member of the legal team  that defended President Jacob Zuma during his rape trial in 2006.

Gold Fields denies that claim, but says it has instigated an independent investigation into the  2010  transaction.

The controversy is one of many to dog the ANC's policy of  ''black economic empowerment''  (BEE).

When apartheid ended in 1994, the  ANC promised to make black South Africans richer. To this end, it has promoted the transfer of stakes in white-owned businesses to new class of black investors.

Change at the top, it was claimed, would foster change further down by removing blockages to the hiring and promotion of blacks.

The first  BEE  transaction was in 1993, before the country's first multiracial elections.

Metropolitan Life, an insurer, sold a 10% stake to Methold, a holding company owned by well connected blacks such as  Nelson Mandela's former personal doctor.

In 1998, the year that  BEE  business really took off, there was an 111  transactions worth a total of  21 billion rand (then worth $ 3.8 billion). 

Few blacks had been able to accumulate capital under apartheid, so the stakes were typically sold at a discount and financed by loans, often from the companies themselves, many of which judged it wise to woo influential shareholders.

The transfers were originally voluntary, but the  ANC, impatient at the slow pace of change, now uses state power to speed them up.

One of the few accelerators is the award of licences in mining, telecoms and other regulated sectors. If a firm is not sufficiently  ''empowered''   -ie, if too few of its shares and jobs are in black hands  -it will not win or retain an operating license.

This is the threat that Dr Ramphele claimed brought  Good Fields to heel. State-backed lenders favour black-owned businesses. State-owned enterprises in transport and energy favour black-owned suppliers. 

Various laws add to the pressure. The Employment Equity Act of 1998 obliges biggish firms to try to make their workforces racially  ''representative''. Those that employ more than  50  people are required to report at least every other year on their progress:

Towards making their staff  75%  black,  10% coloured  (mixed race), 3% Indian, and so on, at every level from shop floor to boardroom.

Failure to show  '''reasonable'''   efforts at compliance can result in fines of up to 900,000  rand  ( $97,000).

Black economic empowerment, it is evident,  has not worked well. So, nor will it end soon.

The Honour and Serving of this operational research continues. Thank you for reading and maybe, learning. See you on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of South Africa. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Affirmative Honours '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!