The DA leader, Mmusi Maimane had some words for the ANC about its black economic empowerment (BEE) policy.
The policy, which was enacted to bring more people of colour into economic activity and also see more representation in higher positions of power in the private sector has been highly criticised.
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The DA dilemma on BEE
The DA’s position on this topic has wavered between the lines of supporting the emancipation of people of colour in economic activity and promoting inclusiveness beyond racial lines.
On the eve of the anticipated state of the nation address (SONA 2019) Maimane issued the DA’s alternative state of the nation address where he revealed much of the party’s policies heading into the 2019 general elections.
In it, there was no mention of a policy on the economic empowerment of people of colour.
Only a week or so prior to that, the party’s head of policy, Gwen Ngwenya, had tendered her resignation, calling out the DA for “hanging her out to dry” on the issue of BEE.
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Currently, the party is split into those who are in support of the BEE structure and those who see it working without the implementation of racial quotas.
Ngwenya was of the latter view and the party distancing itself from her and these views was her last straw, she said.
“Instead of having the courage of its convictions, at the mere whiff of a debate on BEE the party felt it best to attack the head of policy than to own up to its own structure’s decision.
“That was probably the moment at which I should have tendered my resignation; when I was hung out to dry without so much as a phone call for reiterating what the leader had months ago already said.” Ngwenya wrote in her resignation letter.
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Mmusi Maimane blasts ANC’s policy
Irrespective of the wavering stance the party has on the policy, Maimane went on to dismiss the ANC’s policy, calling it a way for the upper echelons of the party leadership to benefit financially, at the cost of the rest of South Africa.
“It produced, in many ways, the Guptas. I want the BEE that works for all South Africans; a BEE that includes more people. I want more black South Africans, more black students to be able to benefit.
“While you and I are busy trying to have a debate about whether we should give shares to Gwede Mantashe and his politically connected people, South Africans are being left out.” Maimane stated.
With the elections right around the corner, it will be of critical importance that Maimane stomps his policy on the subject of economic empowerment. While he admitted that there ought to be one South Africa for all, he did not refute the fact that race is a proxy for the disadvantaged too.
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“If it doesn’t work, on the other hand, it perpetuates a situation where 25 years on, we still have to say race is a proxy for the disadvantaged; we still have to recognise that it is black South Africans that are left out. So, I think we’ll get there but we’re not there yet,” he said.