BEE can only work if there is actual economic growth | The Citizen





You know why many people can’t stand the idea of transformation? Because the results we’ve seen so far have mostly been more beggars on the streets, fewer jobs, and an economy struggling to pass even by South Africa’s low standards.

Of course, if you push a narrative of more blacks, less whites, you’re going to get resentment. That resentment could easily have been offset in the early 2000s for the goal of redress.

I’d be down with that.

Also Read: Fury over Dis-Chem letter on hiring of whites

It’s just difficult to get down and boogie when the music has faded, the dance floor is littered with broken bottles, and the bar now only serves methylated spirits distilled through gas cylinders heated over a tyre fire.

That’s the party going on in South Africa’s fiscal position at the moment, so it’s no wonder why nobody is really enjoying it.

Maybe the bartender still feels relevant and the DJ, who is desperately playing Nkalakatha, is still getting paid, but no party is a success unless the majority of the people are having a good time.

Down here, there’s very little monate fela.

Dis-Chem’s dreaded ‘whites only’ letter is rather symbolic of the idiocy we’re faced with. The sensitivities around it are also ridiculous.

Saltzman may be a fool but the company’s CEO is hardly Judas Iscariot, despite what white Twitter would have you believe.

Equally, black Twitter coming to his defence is just as pathetic because if you’re committed to Twitter wars, all the BEE in the world won’t land you a C-suite job in any JSE listed company.

But you gotta make a call now. Do you want the whities in your country or not?

Because if you do, you kinda need them to actually not resent black people, in order to have a nice country to live in.

Sure, we need to avoid resentment in all directions and sure, BEE was supposed to be one of many tools to achieve that. The problem is, there’s precious little to transform when the little you have left is already transformed by the same upper-echelons over and over, or is simply inaccessible.

Also Read: Dis-Chem sorry, but only preparing itself for new BEE laws

Putting a black dude (or dudette if you want the bonus points) in a nice office might give the beggar something to look up to but c’mon. Get real!

Other than changing the life of a family, what’s the broader benefit to SA? I too want a more accessible economy and an accessible economy for all. I just wish I could know where this economy is.

I don’t know why today’s world is so sceptical of this truth: two things can be true at the same time.

In this case, you can have an accessible economy and an economy that is growing. In fact, that’s a combination you need to strive for.

If you’re pushing a narrative that one is more important than the other, you’re going to cause some group to foment; either the people being excluded through transformation, or the people being excluded through the limited capacity.

If you’re building both, there’s less reason for the people to be upset because you’re visibly doing something that’s good for them.

The parties can get better. Much better. We just need to clean the dance floors, bring in a DJ who knows music more recent than 2005, and make sure the bar is serving more than just a diluted brandy special.

We need to be throwing a party that people get excited about and are willing to come to, spend their money at, and order the bottle service.

Those parties don’t happen when your bouncers let only a select few in and when they do get in, they still need to pay R2 at the rusted turnstile to use a broken toilet.



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