‘Get rich quick’ lifestyle undermines the best intentions of BEE

Get rich quick.jpgThe tendency of some South African entrepreneurs to scale back their involvement in the economy, or retire all together, once they are financially secure is contrary to the spirit of BEE, Nonkululeko Gobodo, Executive Chairperson of Chartered Accounting firm Gobodo Incorporated and lobbyist for sustainable black business, tells SmartProcurement.

Many successful black South Africans who made use of the good intentions behind BEE policies to get rich quickly have ‘retired’ and no longer contribute to sustainable business because they now have comfortable lifestyles, said Gobodo, addressing delegates at the 3rd annual SmartSourcing Conference earlier this month.

“It is critical that successful South Africans find a balance between living a comfortable life while still contributing to the economic growth of the country,” she said.

Government resources to develop black businesses are not as readily available today as they were 10 years ago. Building sustainable, black-run businesses and developing black people in all aspects of the economy, therefore, will increasingly fall on those going into business.

Nonkululeko and Bernie.JPGSustainable black businesses are the way forward

Unfortunately change has not yet affected many black South Africans, said Gobodo.

“We cannot change our past of economic exclusion in one day. Transformation takes time, China took 60 years. However, we can take comfort from history’s demonstration that people can recover from their circumstances,” she said.

To propagate this recovery government and business will need to establish a balance between skills, enterprise and social development.

It must become the country’s goal, and not just the government’s, to create jobs for those that cannot contribute to the economy and educate their children, explained Gobodo.

Is the lot of an entrepreneur or new organisation that it must contribute to enterprise development, whilst being competitive? These concepts are often in opposition during an organisation’s infancy.

“A developing enterprise is hard pressed to further contribute to enterprise development. Its resources are tied up in developing its core competency. Such an enterprise is not on an equal footing with developed enterprises,” said Gobodo.

Therefore, critical to the creation of sustainable black business is support structures: training through collaboration with established business. Collaboration between black businesses is not enough, she noted.

However, black companies that use white talent are also penalized under equitable employment policies for not using black talent, which is why Gobodo suggests that BEE should be adjusted to differentiate between emerging and established black-owned enterprises.

Should the codes differentiate between the two? Post your comments on ProcurementTips.com

Email Nonkululeko Gobodo at ngobodo@gobodo.co.za



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