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Motsepe to chair black business body

Sep 08 2011 07:38 Sapa

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Johannesburg - A new Black Business Council (BBC) will be formed under the chairpersonship of businessman Patrice Motsepe as an umbrella body to ensure unity among black business, a Black Business Summit decided on Wednesday.

In a statement, the summit said black business would also immediately suspend its participation in Business Unity SA (Busa).

"This summit marks the beginning of a new era in that black business is defining its own agenda and taking control of its own destiny," it said.

"It will shape the South African economy, which will lead to an economic revolution that will see the country establishing itself as a global powerhouse."

The Black Business Council was founded in 1996 by black businessmen and professionals to play a central role in key national economic initiatives, but merged with Business South Africa in 2003 to form the chief business lobby group Busa.

In his keynote address to the summit, President Jacob Zuma said unity in business was important to the government.

"The unity of the business sector is paramount in ensuring the achievement of the transformation goals. As government, we need a unified and united business voice to work with," he said.

"The time to differ, I think, is gone, it's now time to find one another."

The summit was convened by the Confederation of Black Business Organisations after the Black Management Forum withdrew from Busa in July.

At the time, it said Busa's structure was fundamentally flawed, with the voice of black business "permanently outnumbered and suppressed".

Busa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni and president Futhi Mtoba were reportedly asked to leave the summit on Tuesday.

Confederation vice-president Bafana Ndendwa told Business Day there would not have been a chance for "natural discussion" had they been in the room.

On Wednesday, the Black Business Summit said delegates had worked from the premise that after 17 years of democracy, some progress had been made, but that more meaningful black participation in the economy was a non-negotiable.

It was decided that black business needed to revert to its original name and mission.

The BBC would immediately engage with Busa on a range of policy, structural and constitutional issues.

This process would be led by a team put together from a steering committee consisting of the presidents of national organisations and black business stalwarts, which would lead the new body under Motsepe.

Associations represented at the summit were the: Black IT Forum, Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, Association of Black Accountants of SA, Black Management Forum, Black Lawyers' Association, Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services and African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Also represented were the: Black Business Executive Circle, National Black Business Caucus, SA Black Technical and Allied Careers' Organisation, National Society of Black Engineers SA, SA Women Entrepreneurs' Network, SA Women in Construction, and Women in Food and Hospitality.

During the summit four commissions deliberated on economic transformation, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) development, the infrastructure investment commission, and the land reform commission.

In its statement, the summit said it had decided that black business had to be defined (which included the building of a new community of black entrepreneurs), that a black venture capital fund had to be established to ensure access to finance and that the government should allocate funding for the BBC's activities.

On SMMEs it resolved that, among other things, the national skills fund accelerate the provision of funding for entrepreneurship education.

It also found that Construction Industry Development Board gradings needed to be urgently overhauled, that unreasonable guarantees should be done away with and a mechanism of underwriting these guarantees be provided, and that so-called fronting be criminalised, with a turnover or income-based-penalty.

The land claims process had to be fast-tracked and a 15-year moratorium imposed on the resale of land acquired through land reform; land sales transactions had to include structured community development plans and programmes, and a land tax should be levied on unused land.

The summit resolved that an agency be created within the BBC to help communities with the land claims process. 

bmf  |  busa  |  patrice motsepe  |  businesses
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