Johannesburg - Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare [JSE:NTC], says he expects that the company will accelerate and drive transformation "very hard" over the next year. He was speaking at the Metropolitan Oliver Empowerment Awards on Thursday evening. Netcare was the biggest winner with three awards, taking the overall title as Top Empowerment Business of the Year, Top Empowered Big Business Award and category honours for businesses in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.Friedland said the company's idea of transformation was not about ticking boxes and scorecards, but transforming hearts and restoring people's dignity. Netcare has spent R114m on transformation programmes and trains more than 2 500 nurses a year. The company also recently donated one million sanitary towels to the Free State government, to be given to schoolgirls in rural areas."I'm actually embarrassed that we won these awards, but I'm humbled," Friedland said. Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Thembelani Nxesi delivered the keynote address and criticised broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) policies for having "an urban flavour". Nxesi also urged business to support rural entrepreneurship and argued that rural development must be the key site for BBBEE. "I want to emphasise that partnerships with the private sector are vital in creating vibrant and equitable rural communities. It is in your interest as the private sector to ensure that we graduate small farmers, who remain largely black, to commercial farmers. We need your help," Nxesi said.He said that the department was working on a model of recapitalisation and development since the current model of land reform was setting people up for failure. "We must debate the issues of land ownership and inequality in this country, painful as they are, because things cannot remain like this. They simply need to change," Nxesi said.