The Presidential Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council convened by its chairperson President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday will have its work cut out for it in light of the damning report published by the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) this week.
Yet it seems the report may have sparked something.
Advisory council member Koko Khumalo said there would be a firmer plan, including the possibility of policy revision, after the November meeting.
However, the report was never discussed “directly”, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies.
“But the BEE codes, it is just a requirement that the employment equity as per the directives of the department of labour need to be enforced in order to score points on the scorecard,” Davies told The Citizen.
Davies refused to go into details of what was discussed in the two-hour meeting.
“The council was meeting in its normal meeting; we have just had a very good exchange,” said Zuma.
“There were progress reports which the council and the department were given, and there were very important points that were made in the progress we have been making.”
The entire report is summed up in its final sentence: “The pace of transformation in the labour market is moving very slowly. At this rate, it will take many years for equitable representation in the labour market, especially at the upper levels of management, where the white group have a tight grip.”
The council has been around since 2009 and, charged by Zuma, is on its second board of 20 “advisers” consisting of ministers, professors, consultants and more, purportedly people with their finger on the pulse of the nation.
According to the advisory councils’ web page hosted by the department of trade and industry, the council must “provide guidance and overall monitoring on the state of B-BBEE performance in the economy with a view of making policy recommendations to address challenges in the implementation of this transformation policy”.
Yet, “the South African labour market continues to be racialised and gendered. It remains hierarchical with blacks concentrated at the lower levels and the white group occupying decision-making positions,” stated the CEE.
“We have agreed that if you take the work done and the details that the meeting of today was not necessarily meant to go into, we are then giving the task to the officials to work on the specific details and that, instead of waiting for the annual meeting next year, we will be meeting in November to look into those details so that by the time we finish the year, we will be ready to hit the ground running in terms of whatever programmes we would have agreed on or ideas so that we are able to move forward properly,” Zuma said.