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Johannesburg - The SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) wants black economic empowerment (BEE) scrapped as it has harmed the great majority of black South Africans and replaced with a policy not based on race.

The institute is proposing the economic empowerment of the disadvantaged (EED) as an alternative policy which will not emphasise race but empower poor South Africans.

“With BEE when you have things like BEE deals, management posts, preferential procurement, the great majority of people just have no hope of ever accessing those things, particularly if they are unemployed,” said IRR head of policy research Anthea Jeffery.

She said BEE deterred investment.

“A lot of companies that might have come here are going elsewhere. We really have to do something that’s business-friendly that will give businesses what we call EED points for everything they do which helps expand the economy and expand opportunities for people,” Jeffery said.

The EED will select beneficiaries on their socio-economic basis like social grants.

“It puts emphasis not on racial targets but rather on the inputs needed to empower the poor,” reads the IRR’s latest policy bulletin released on Thursday.

According to Jeffery, businesses would also get EED points for all direct investments made if they start up a new business and expand their businesses.

EED points would also be accumulated for paying tax and their employees’ PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) contributions as well as research and development.

The proposed EED is part of the IRR’s national growth strategy, which wants the government to move away from “ever more growing redistribution to promoting economic growth”.

The strategy includes strengthening property rights and abandoning land expropriation without compensation, creating a business-friendly environment and substantially reforming labour laws and allowing private employers to pay unskilled workers R90 a day as the government’s expanded public works programme does.

IOL