Why new BEE codes will pull the rug from under business

THE government is cooking up yet another existential threat to businesses. Behind closed doors, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is secretly strong-arming SA’s finest companies to adopt new black economic empowerment (BEE) regulations under the threat of damage to their reputations. The proposed fines and mandatory prison sentences are one thing; damage to a firm’s good name is something else entirely. In this hostile milieu, no business dares to be accused of racism, whatever the facts.

A frank national conversation needs to be had about the dysfunctional state of SA’s affirmative action policy. The Constitutional Court’s case load has increased from 14 in 1995 to 38 last year. Between two-thirds and four-fifths of its cases involve the government as defendant. Equity is the most contested category.

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