Explainer: BEE = Blatant Elite Enrichment

FAN | Jun 07, 2021
While we can all agree that black South Africans, after decades of being locked out of the economy, deserve to be economically empowered through proper jobs, we must ask: has Black Economic Empowerment achieved this?

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Explainer: BEE = Blatant Elite Enrichment

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a policy by which the South African government punishes businesses that don’t hire ‘enough’ black people. Has BEE benefitted ordinary South Africans and helped tackle unemployment?

No.

But it has enabled corruption, lining the pockets of fat cats while ignoring those who need help.

Let's call out BEE for what it is - not Black Economic Empowerment but Blatant Elite Enrichment.

 

 

Transcript

 

While its supporters in politics, business, and the media won’t tell you this, most South Africans know the truth: BEE has failed.

What is BEE?

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a policy by which the South African government punishes businesses that don’t hire ‘enough’ black people. BEE relies on apartheid-era categories of race – essentially bringing back to life, like Frankenstein’s Monster, the Population Registration Act of 1950 – the cornerstone of apartheid racism.

While we can all agree that black South Africans, after decades of being locked out of the economy, deserve to be economically empowered through proper jobs, we must ask: has BEE achieved this?

As the Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, said: “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

So, has BEE helped to uplift black South Africans and tackle unemployment?

No. Since BEE became government policy in 2005, unemployment in general and black unemployment specifically has gotten worse, not better.

Have ordinary South Africans benefitted from BEE perhaps in other ways?

No.

Polling data shows that the vast majority, more than 80% of black South Africans, have not actually benefitted from BEE. Far from ensuring that businesses give ordinary black people a fair economic chance, BEE has actually ensured that many businesses pay politically connected people to make powerful friends.

As early as 2007, Kgalema Motlanthe, then the ANC’s Secretary General and later South Africa’s third black president, acknowledged that BEE fuels corruption.

Yet, the ANC has doubled down again and again on BEE – a policy keeping ordinary people poor but making the rich and powerful even richer.

Let’s call out BEE for what it is – not Black Economic Empowerment, but Blatant Elite Enrichment. 

 

 

 Illustration sources available here.

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