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By Editorial staff

Journalist


BEE might push farmers away

It is likely the new rules will benefit the politically connected elite at the expense of those who really need upliftment


It’s not often we agree with the Patriotic Alliance but one of its Joburg representatives, Charles Cilliers, makes a lot of sense with his assessment of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). He said: “BEE has failed. It has helped to destroy our state-owned companies and has become a sin-tax on doing business in South Africa, which was not what was supposedly intended by the law, which was to help fix the injustices of the past.” He said that the time had come “to do away with racial categorisation completely”. ALSO READ: Fancy new BEE law likely to produce the same old…

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It’s not often we agree with the Patriotic Alliance but one of its Joburg representatives, Charles Cilliers, makes a lot of sense with his assessment of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).

He said: “BEE has failed. It has helped to destroy our state-owned companies and has become a sin-tax on doing business in South Africa, which was not what was supposedly intended by the law, which was to help fix the injustices of the past.”

He said that the time had come “to do away with racial categorisation completely”.

ALSO READ: Fancy new BEE law likely to produce the same old failures

The ANC government will defend its latest BEE campaign – by reserving agricultural exports only for those companies which are BEE compliant – as part of its efforts to transform society. It will also point, correctly, to the fact that the BEE rules for the farming sector were put in place in 2017 – more than enough time for agribusiness to “get with the programme”.

However, given the party’s dismal record of land redistribution and empowerment of black farmers – most government-supported projects on former white farming land have collapsed in disarray – this latest move seems like a thinly-disguised vote-winning strategy ahead of next year’s general election.

ALSO READ: New BEE bill to face legal hurdles

Apart from the fact that the new rules will target successful white farmers – who are the backbone of the sector – they also run the risk of raising the ire of our trading partners in the European Union and also of the regulations of the World Trade Organisation, which frowns on government manipulation of exports, in whatever form.

It is also likely that the new rules will benefit the politically connected elite at the expense of those who really need upliftment – and will see also sorts of subterfuge to circumvent them. Worryingly, it might push more farmers into giving up on South Africa and seeking greener (and more profitable) pastures elsewhere.

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African National Congress (ANC) BEE farmers

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