Isn’t it ironic that Brian Molefe – one of those bleating loudest about “white monopoly capital” and the alleged economic repression of black people – has his own version of BEE? For Molefe, the man who helped drive Transnet, and later, Eskom, into financial tailspins, BEE appears to stand for Beijing Economic Empowerment.
He and his cronies in Transnet deliberately ignored BEE procurement provisions – the very mechanisms supposed to help black businesspeople level the playing field – to slant a locomotive contract in favour of a Chinese supplier with little or no local empowerment credentials.
In the process, there was even more gravy from the trains for the Gupta family, who also hardly qualify as “previously disadvantaged” black South Africans.
The deal with China South Rail shows that many critics of the ANC’s empowerment policies are spot on when they say BEE – even when accompanied by the “broad-based” tag – is little more than a sham and that its true aim is to enrich the politically powerful and connected elite.
BEE has never been applied properly. If it had been, then the economic inequalities in our country would not be as glaringly noticeable as they are today. Time for a rethink.