Cape Town - The South African Youth Economic Council (Sayec) says it rejects the new legislation procurement procedures involving BEE and state-owned entities promulgated by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
The new amendments state that SOEs such as power utility Eskom, Denel, Transnet and others may no longer disqualify suppliers from consideration for tenders if they don't qualify for BBE criteria.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Sayec spokesperson, Sthandiwe Msomi, said the regulations are leaving it up to state institutions to come up with their own policies and procurement.
This makes Sayec worried, she said, because BEE is critical in ensuring that there is an intentional mechanism to integrate black business into the economy and the government itself spends at least R1 trillion on public procurement.
Msomi said the government needed to deal with corruption first before changing BEE policies: "Also, the corruption conversation takes away from the fact that no one is talking about why business and state-owned entities feel the need to procure services from black enterprises and its extending costs or making business very expensive.
"We should be asking ourselves instead of getting rid of progressive legislation: how is the government capacitating black business so that when they are looking for someone to procure goods from they find that person easily.
“It's pathetic that we still have the excuse that it is hard to find a company in renewable energy to bid during the bid window. We should ask are we doing enough to invest in black-owned companies.”
While the BEE legislation has been progressive, she said, no one has spoken of how the companies that bid for tenders grow beyond being a smaller or medium enterprise because they hope that doing business with the state, accumulating profits and revenues you are able to grow the business.
Msomi said the finance minister abandoned transformation and there would even be a call for him to be removed from the office if that is something he wants to carry on doing.
"In a country where unemployment is rife and there are around 3 million young people who are not in employment, education and training one wonders where they will end up.
“A lot of us are where we are today through affirmative action, BEE, our parents being beneficiaries of that system and then being able to participate in the economy.
"To let that go and think that the free market will solve itself and provide us with all the goods and services that we need is quite a reckless and careless decision to make,'' she said.