How black do you have to be to benefit from South Africa’s BEE policies?
The call to exclude coloured and Indian South Africans from BEE in tenders worth more than R50-million is “ill-timed‚ poorly conceived and flies in the face of the constitutional provision for redress”‚ says ANC MP Mandla Mandela.
Indians and coloureds could in future be blocked from state contracts of more than R50-million in KwaZulu-Natal if an audacious move to shake up the empowerment landscape is accepted.
The bid to reshape BEE policies to benefit “black Africans” is being spearheaded by KwaZulu-Natal economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala. The proposal was sent to National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane in August.
It is being seen as a possible template for sweeping change in empowerment legislation to incorporate the objectives of “radical economic transformation” being touted by President Jacob Zuma.
The grandson of late former president Nelson Mandela and Chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council has released a statement claiming that the proposed changes to BEE policy also contradict “the ANC’s Mangaung Resolution for radical economic transformation for all who were historically disadvantaged”.
Mandela‚ who converted to Islam a few months before marrying his fourth wife‚ Rabia Clarke‚ in February last year‚ was responding to a proposal sent to the National Treasury by KwaZulu-Natal economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala in August‚ as reported in the Sunday Times this week. Zikalala’s proposal purportedly aims to “benefit black Africans”.
How insensitive and crass can you get‚ to imply that the sacrifice of the Indian and coloured communities were somehow lesser?
The Mvezo chief minced no words in his statement condemning the idea‚ warning against “myopic revisionism” and calling the proposal “a bird-brained scheme‚ coming barely a week after Forbes released its list of the 20 wealthiest South Africans containing only two black people (incidentally‚ both African)‚ with no black people of any description ranking in the top five”.
“The proposal flies in the face of the significant contribution that other sectors of the historically disadvantaged have made to the struggle for freedom‚ justice and democracy‚” Mandela continued.
“It comes two weeks after the commemoration of the murder of Imam Abdullah Haron and in the same week that the High Court delivered its verdict that Comrade Ahmed Timol was killed by the security branch of the apartheid state. How insensitive and crass can you get‚ to imply that the sacrifice of the Indian and coloured communities were somehow lesser?”
He went on to name the significant contributions to the struggle against apartheid made by several other Indian and coloured ANC members‚ including Dullah Omar‚ Imam Hasan Solomons‚ Lizzie Abrahams‚ Biebie Dawud‚ Dulcie September‚ Anton Frans‚ Fatima Meer and Amina Cachalia.
In his view‚ Mandela added‚ “those who call for the exclusion of any sector of the historically disadvantaged from the benefits of redress should be seen as spokespersons for the historically advantaged and white monopoly capital.”