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Oct 26, 2012

BEE not working – Phosa

Johannesburg|Africa|Lonmin|Platinum|Africa|South Africa|Mathews Phosa|Thamsanqa Max Maisela

Black economic empowerment (BEE) is not helping to reduce poverty and inequality, African National Congress treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Thursday.

"Marikana taught us that... our [BEE] model is dysfunctional, and that we need to be creative when old order models of negotiation are discarded by the disenfranchised," Phosa said in a speech prepared for delivery in Johannesburg.

"If the miners at Marikana, and elsewhere, had a meaningful stake in the assets that they create, my view is that we would have had different and more positive outcomes."

He was referring to the shooting dead of 34 striking Lonmin platinum mine workers by the police in Marikana on August 16.

BEE had not made any meaningful contribution towards alleviating poverty and unemployment.

"What it did do is create an upper class of wealthy black investors who initially funded their wealth with debt through the acquisition of shareholding in successful white or international businesses."

Successful economic transformation needed black entrepreneurs who were not the beneficiaries of wealth created by others.

"The simple fact is, whether we are white or black, there is a dire need for broader participation in the wealth of this country in a way different from the current model," he said.

Wealth was never given away or successfully redistributed through force. The country's circumstances however showed that the wealth and ownership gap needed to be closed.

"If we hesitate in doing so, we will be the architects of our own demise."

He said South Africa's current policy drift and the public's opinion on these matters were not helping.

The time that elapsed between the crisis, the policy solution and its implementation did not contribute to social stability.

Phosa was delivering the memorial lecture of Negotiated Benefit Consultants founder and chairperson Thamsanqa Max Maisela.

Edited by: Sapa
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