The Black Business Council (BBC) was formally relaunched during an elaborate ceremony yesterday.
The BBC has been resurrected to represent the interests of black business after it amalgamated with Business South Africa in 2003 to form Business Unity SA (Busa).
Members of the audience represented the who’s who of South Africa’s black elite, including billionaire and outgoing interim president of the BBC Patrice Motsepe, sports administrator Danny Jordaan, and businessman Vivian Reddy.
Also in attendance were Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
The two business organisations split because members of black business organisations felt Busa was unable to represent their interests.
Busa and the BBC were supposed to hold talks on how to resolve their differences. But yesterday, the BBC’s new president, Ndaba Ntsele, said the negotiations had broken down over differing views on the principle of equality.
The BBC’s relationship with Busa was over, Ntsele told Kaya FM.
Black business will now represent itself through the BBC at structures like the Nedlac negotiating forum
Busa yesterday issued a statement on the official launch of the BBC and described itself as the apex umbrella business organisation in South Africa.
It said: “While Busa welcomes black business capacitating itself in order to fulfil its contribution towards a radically transformed economy, Busa’s overarching objective remains to achieve an inclusive economy, which involves business being united.
“It therefore remains incorrect and unfortunate that allegations are made that Busa represents white business interests and that, by implication, it is riding roughshod over black business interests. Busa continues with its work and is currently collaborating closely with the government and other social partners in rolling out economic transformation interventions such as the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan.
“Busa believes that it is in the national interest for both the BBC and Busa to remain committed to the engagement process and that together we can continue to explore innovative ways to ensure the realisation of a unified representative voice of business in South Africa.” - Wiseman Khuzwayo and Sapa