The government will not be “apologetic” about the application of black economic empowerment (BEE) and affirmative action in its support programs to businesses that are subject to restriction regulations because the courts have found it to act within the national laws.
Two different ministers said this in the national assembly on Tuesday afternoon when they verbally answered different questions from MPs.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Small Business, spoke first after Heloise Denner, a FF Plus MP, wanted to know among other things, her position on the “over-regulation” of small businesses by broad-based BEE (BBBEE) ) and affirmative action policies and for how long the application of race-based legislation will still be given priority over merit and the well-being of the economy.
Ntshavheni replied BBBEE and affirmative action “are necessary transformative articles for the government to redress the historic imbalances that have created the separate development of apartheid to marginalize the majority of our people”.
“You will remember that there was the Solidarity court case anchored by the Minister of Tourism. Solidarity lost the case because the courts found that BEE was a necessary requirement for the transformation of the country. Even the appeal on that application was lost. “
According to Ntshavheni, the courts also recently ruled in an application by the DA.
“The court found that the BEE criteria of race, gender, youth and disability are necessary. The court ordered that we specifically review the policies to make it more specific to promote previously disadvantaged people with regard to race, gender, youth and disability. This is so that an inclusive economy will emerge from the disaster of the coronavirus.
“We will not be apologetic about it,” Ntshavheni said.
EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini, in turn, wanted to know how much tourism black rural tourism and township businesses received from the R50 000 from her department’s R200 million COVID-19 relief.
Kubayi-Ngubane said about 2 112 businesses had been approved so far. Of these, 51.6% are black-owned.
According to her, 151 of these are from rural areas and townships in the Eastern Cape, while 107 are from rural areas and townships in Limpopo.
“We focused not only on urban areas, but on all nine provinces. Even small-town businesses in the Free State also applied successfully and received the R50 000 grant. “
Kubayi-Ngubane added that this process was initially delayed by the Solidarity court application.
“They (Solidarity) believed that we should not follow government policy (on BEE).
“However, the court stood with us and found that we were on the right side of legislation, that we should indeed be concerned about previously disadvantaged and that we were not racist.”
According to her, the applicants for the grant were not only previously disadvantaged. “There were also white companies that complied with BEE legislation that also applied and got our support.”