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Actualising Empowerment - Gauteng recommits to bee
Victor Kgomoeswana


Actualising Empowerment


…is our new series of stories, opinions, analysis and experiences of South Africans with regard to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE or BEE).

Brought to you by Nkonki Inc, ‘Actualising Empowerment’ will bring you regular takes on BEE in action. It will enhance our ‘BEE in the Know’ section with its practical slant. For BEE beyond the Codes and policy documents, stay with ‘Actualising Empowerment’.

Gauteng Recommits to BEE

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has recommitted itself to the advancement of black participation in its economic growth. A special focus will be on increasing procurement from small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), said the Head of Economic Development in Gauteng, Sibusiso Xaba. He was keynote speaker at the launch of the Absa Business Link Forum, which took place at the Sandton Sun on Thursday, May 31st.

“Our BEE strategy is not about starting new projects, but about improving the way we do things”, Xaba stressed that GPG is more interested in implementing an ‘integrated coherent’ programme that ‘binds all provincial departments’.

Implementation was the most frequently used word, as emphasised by the audience in their questions.

“When are we going to start doing business, instead of expressing our good intentions…?” This was one of the rhetorical questions posed by one fired-up lady in the audience, expressing her frustration at the absence of services to help small black entrepreneurs, in spite of many well-meaning policies and strategies.

Robert Mhlambi, Head of Black Business Support at Absa was quick to respond. Absa is dedicated, said Mhlambi, to simplify banking and access to finance for black SMMEs, hence their involvement in the initiative.

Buhle Mthethwa, President of Nafcoc, and Victor Kgomoeswana, of www.moneybiz.co.za, were the panelists. Mthethwa called for more co-ordination of all the good interventions in order to have a lasting impact on poverty and to facilitate ‘shared economic growth’.

Absa is excited with the Business Link Forum – a partnership with Thokozani Thwala of Growth Map – because of three reasons. First of all, Africans make up 80% of the South African population. Secondly, according to Robert Emslie – one of the executive directors of Absa – economic growth can be sustained for decades if the country increases the size of its middle class, which can only be black for demographic reasons. Lastly but most importantly, the future of South Africa needs more black people to be economically successful – and that means reaching out to those previously excluded from the economy.

The Forum will be convened on a more regular basis to allow Absa to hear from the SMMEs themselves what issues they face. As for the GPG, 70% of the provincial procurement expenditure will have to be channeled to black business by 2009. 30% must, by then, benefit small and medium enterprises, with 10% for micro-enterprises. Xaba was practical in his presentation, though. He acknowledged that the provincial government needed to improve on how it manages its records of its black small suppliers to shorten the turnaround time, especially in processing payments. To this end, the Gauteng Shared Services Centre has been asked to assist, to enable the GPG to reduce its payment cycle to a minimum of 15 days, concluded Xaba.

For more information on the BBBEE Strategy for Gauteng, visit www.gpg.gov.za.





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