The African National Congress (ANC) has reiterated its “consistent and unambiguous position” on Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), saying it had neither been shocked nor surprised by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) “flip-flopping” on the policy.
This after the DA’s federal council – its highest decision-making body – over the weekend confirmed it had decided to ditch the policy last month in favour of crafting a new, broader economic empowerment network, which would encompass skills and jobs.
Within the DA, the policy has also led to former party leaders Helen Zille and Lindiwe Mazibuko being at loggerheads. Mazibuko left the party after being accused by Zille of failure to properly scrutinise the legislation before supporting it in parliament.
“We have long exposed the DA as a party committed to defending white privilege and preserving the status quo. The DA’s opposition and active resistance to BBBEE is understandable. Beneficiaries of economic apartheid cannot be expected to support policy measures that broaden access to economic opportunities to the majority of South Africans, and in the process shake the very foundation of white economic privilege,” the ANC said in a statement.
The governing party said it had been disingenuous of the DA to ditch black economic empowerment (BEE) and that the decision signalled to the main opposition’s “deep-seated resistance to economic transformation”.
The ANC conceded that some aspects of the implementation of the programme had met serious challenges and that benefits of BBBEE were yet to reach a majority of the citizenry.
“However, these and other challenges cannot be raised as excuses to throw the baby with the bathwater,” the party said.
The ANC added it had been concerning that due to fronting, BBBEE had not benefited those it was meant to empower.
The party said efforts by those within public sector institutions to address fronting were encouraging as the phenomenon defeats and undermines “efforts at deracialising” the economy and “undoing the economic inequalities of our ugly past”.
The ANC said all political parties had a collective responsibility to support measures such as BBBEE that promote access to economic, doing away with economic exclusion.
“We must remind the DA and other opponents of BBBEE that the deracialisation of our economy not only makes good business sense, but is also a critical prerequisite for political and economic stability in our country.”