An ActionSA government would scrap B-BBEE policy, says Mashaba

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Photographer: Armand Hough Independent Newspapers

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Photographer: Armand Hough Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 10, 2024


Laws and policies such as broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) and employment equality would be a thing of the past under an ActionSA government.

Party president Herman Mashaba said those policies had taken the country backwards as they did not unite South Africans, and were instead divisive.

Mashaba said yesterday that his organisation was unapologetic in its belief in the empowerment of black, coloured, and Indian South Africans. However, there needed to be a correlation between race and access to opportunity.

“We cannot claim to have realised the promise of a free and equal South Africa. A keystone of an ActionSA government’s policy will be the introduction of the Inclusive Economic Empowerment Act, or IEE, which includes the establishment of an Opportunity Fund, as an alternative to failed current government policies such as the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003 that have worsened inequality and left tens of millions trapped in poverty.

“The Opportunity Fund will be used to invest in programmes that will ensure equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome, instead of focusing on the empowerment of tenderpreneurs, and the politically connected few oligarchies,” he added.

Mashaba said an ActionSA government would use the Opportunity Fund to invest in tertiary education funding, entrepreneurial stimulus, and infrastructure investment in under-served communities.

In order to address inequality, he said the party would focus on the root cause, not just window dressing for the sake of compliance.

“That’s why we will replace the compliance costs of existing empowerment legislation, estimated at 4%-6% of company profits with an Opportunity Fund Levy. This new legislation will apply for 30 years.

“This bold step introduces a 5% company tax for all companies, excluding SMMEs, and is projected to raise about R55.7 billion in the first year, and will grow in line with the annual growth of our country’s economic performance!

“Additionally, we will expand social welfare by implementing a Universal Basic Income Stimulus (UBIS) in addition to increasing existing grants.

“The stimulus, which is linked to poverty bands, will initially be paid for a period of three years through monthly cash transfers consisting of R663 in the first year, R1 058 in the second year, and R1 558 in the third year.”

Mashaba said, as ActionSA, they could no longer celebrate the fact that the majority of South Africans were dependent on R350, or R370, a month.

He said the success of an ActionSA government should be judged on how many people were taken off the social welfare system, adding that the party would continue to support those in need of social grants.

On the question of whether the scrapping of B-BBEE would take the country backwards, Mashaba said there was little doubt that transformation had failed dismally as the gap of inequality was wider than it was 29 years ago.

“Our Gini coefficient, a tool to measure inequality, rose from 0.64 in 1995 to 0.67 in 2018 despite the introduction of legislation such as B-BBEE and employment equity.

“Unemployment is worse than in 1994, our education system is in tatters and access to opportunities has declined. In all indicators, we have gone backwards.

“Look at communities such as Orange Farm, or Khayelitsha: How have those communities benefited from the B-BBEE Act of 2003? Instead, they remain confined to poverty, crime and unemployment while a few rich politicians have benefited from BEE deals,” he said.

Mashaba said an ActionSA government would therefore replace the B-BBEE Act of 2003 with a policy of Inclusive Economic Empowerment that would empower all previously disadvantaged South Africans, as well as those harmed by 30 years of what he described as a corrupt and incompetent government.

“Let me be clear: ActionSA is unapologetically in favour of black economic empowerment and the empowerment of all those who were marginalised by the apartheid government.

“But we reject the B-BBEE Act of 2003 that has left the majority of our people trapped in poverty, increased inequality and has mostly benefited tenderpreneurs and the politically connected.”