CAPE TOWN - DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, is facing a mountain of backlash from certain members of his party over the decision to do away with its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy.
Maimane has been called a "rudderless leader", and a number of members have said that they are willing to resign if the DA leader continues on this approach.
It was during the DA’s federal council meeting that the DA resolved to do away with the policy.
Maimane cited the DA's constitution as the main reason for the decision. He said the party was bound to follow that values of freedom, fairness, opportunity, and diversity.
Maimane went on to say that the BBBEE policy had only benefited certain individuals.
"The ANC has implemented a policy called BBBEE and its implementation has meant that a few people who are politically connected have gotten a lot of wealth.
"Now the question remains that what do we do about the majority of South Africans who are poor, those 10 million South African who are unemployed," said Maimane.
The opposition leader said the policy needed to be further evaluated in order to benefit South Africans at a grassroots level.
Maimane said that this policy cannot just benefit people that are politically connected
"The scheme needs a review. As South Africans, if we are going to sit around and say we're going to keep doing the same thing and hope for a different outcome, we not going to achieve the growth that we need."
The Institute of Race Relations Campaign Manager Marius Roodt has also welcomed the DA's decision.
"News that the DA Federal Council has abandoned Black Economic Empowerment in favour of an alternative policy framework is to be welcomed. It is a brave decision and a good one: by all measures BBBEE, in all its iterations, has failed," said Roodt.
"The IRR has a produced a great deal of in-depth research to this end. We wait to see what the DA’s alternative framework will be."
Roodt also welcomed Maimane’s statement that “we need a wholesale change in empowerment policies, to move away from race-based policies”.
"The challenge will now be to produce a policy that benefits the poor, the majority of whom are black South Africans, without resorting to quotas or the crude enrichment of an elite."
The IRR says dumping BBBEE could provide "a chance for the DA to leave a defining and powerful mark on liberal politics. BEE or an alternative framework is not a panacea. It will count for nothing if the economy generally is not fixed.
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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE