The Democratic Alliance’s federal council has decided to ditch black economic empowerment, claiming the policy is “just not working.”
The party’s head of policy Gwen Ngwenya confirmed to News24 that the DA’s highest policy decision-making body resolved the decision in July, instead opting to seek a broader economic empowerment framework.
The DA has previously thrown its weight behind the idea of BEE but claimed it only unlocked economic opportunities for politically connected black people and that the way in which it was being implemented was not sustainable.
BEE has also been a source of fierce contestation within the party.
It resulted in a spat between former party leader Helen Zille and former DA parliamentary caucus leader Lindiwe Mazibuko. Mazibuko was accused by Zille of failing to ensure the opposition properly interrogated and responded to new legislation on BEE and employment equity before backing it. It is also widely believed this was one of the reasons why Mazibuko quit politics.
“There is a very real commitment to black empowerment, but we recognise that triple BEE has not worked,” said Ngwenya.
She said the party was still working its way towards its new “broad economic empowerment framework,” but was confident about what elements needed to be included.
“Getting people into jobs, making sure they have the skills to earn a higher income when they are in the jobs — and therefore be able to put more of their income towards investment – that is the way to accumulate the kind of wealth that turns into intergenerational prosperity and BEE has not done that and will not do that,” explained Ngwenya.
Political parties are attempting to sharpen their positions on issues ahead of next year’s national elections, with the ANC coming out this week saying it will push for a constitutional amendment on land. Ngwenya confirmed the economic decision by the DA is similar, as the country’s main opposition decides what it can offer South Africans.
“This is the period when political parties should be looking to review their offers to South Africans,” said Ngwenya. — News24