Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has admitted the government has failed Black Economic Transformation because of corruption and the nature of the implementation of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy.
Godongwana was speaking at the annual Black Business Council summit in Johannesburg on Friday.
The Minister has blamed increased corruption in procurement as one of the biggest challenges facing BEE. He also told delegates his department will deal with issues of late payment to small enterprises that do business with the government.
Godongwana has also urged the BBC to engage with and comment on the new BEE policy, which is set to be amended soon, through NEDLAC. He has blamed corruption for failures facing Black Economic Transformation to date.
Godongwana says critics will continue to attack BEE policy as long as corruption lingers. He says corruption and crime undermine the economy.
New BEE and public procurement bill
Godongwana encourages BBC to be part of the process and discussions on the new BEE and public procurement bill. “There has been an attack on black Economic empowerment and in 2009 to date, we have dropped the ball. We have dropped the ball but also our own people in that space have not helped us. Corruption in procurement has become a huge problem. And therefore giving an interesting tool to those who are opposed to BEE and everyone now equated BEE to corruption.”
Godongwana says government must help small businesses and build the economy within a sustained macro-economic framework. He tells delegates that debt servicing costs are eroding expenditure on important socio-economic projects.
“A nurse says to me, you know Minister that section is new. It’s supposed to be an oncology section but we can’t commit because we need 150 nurses. We can’t employ nurses because it’s frozen. It can’t be right. We have 34 police stations which do not have a night shift. It can’t be right. We have to change the composition of that expenditure to talk to those real issues and make sure that there is a limit in the growth of this one trillion of that debt servicing costs because its trucks out those expenditures.”
The public procurement and BEE Bill are expected to be tabled in parliament this year. It will offer transparency in the procurement of goods and services from businesses by the government.
Godongwana is urging organised businesses, especially black businesses to make submissions and recommendations before it is tabled.
VIDEO: Empowerment of black businesses dominates first day of BBC summit: