Address by Mpumalanga Honourable Premier T S P Makwetla at the Provincial Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) conference, Emnotweni Arena, Nelspruit
MEC for Economic Development and Planning, Honourable Craig Padayachee
Members of the Executive Council present
Members of parliament
The Director-General, Mr Khaya Ngema
The Executive mayors of Mbombela
Councillor Justice Nsibande
Umjindi, Councillor Richard Lukhele
Pixley Ka Seme, Councillor E M Madonsela
Head of Department of Economic Development Ms Smangele Sekgobela
CEOs of parastatals, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), Mpumalanga Agricultural Development Corporation (MADC), Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) and Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT)
Captains and leaders of industry
Ladies and gentlemen
We are gathered here to reflect together on the path we have travelled not only to grow our economy, but also to increase the proportion of those who were previously marginalised from owning and operating our common economy.
In its preamble, the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (Act No 53 of 2003) is very eloquent about the nature of the challenge facing our society with regard to the equitable distribution of incomes and assets and patterns of participation of the majority in the economy of our country. The democratic government inherited a society in which race had been a primary determinant of access to productive resources and skill.
We know from history that the marginalisation of black people in economic terms did not just happen. It was consciously designed and implemented with commitment and discipline throughout the colonial and apartheid period. Thriving farmers, traders and professionals from black communities were systematically dispossessed and denied the possibility to participate and grow this economy. It is always important to remind ourselves that there is a history of meaningful black economic participation even before colonialism.
Early in the life of our democracy, it became apparent that left to the market alone, these years of socio-economic engineering would not be undone. In the Freedom Charter we pronounced that the people shall share in the country's wealth. To give effect to this pronouncement, the interventionist approach of a developmental state that facilitated the empowerment of blacks became inevitable. Since 1994, we have turned around the economic performance of our country. To date the main anomaly of our economy remains the exclusion of the majority of the population from the ownership of productive assets and possession of advanced skills.
As a consequence, our economy has not really performed at its full potential. This is so because such exclusion results in deficient demand for goods and services resulting from the low levels of incomes earned and output generated. Simply put, as a province and as a country, we would be in higher levels of growth and employment if our economy was not constrained by skewed participation rates, incomes, and ownership of assets. Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment is an important policy instrument to broaden the economic base of the country, to stimulate economic growth, to create jobs while eradicating poverty.
The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act rightly defines Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment as the economic empowerment of all black people including women, workers, youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas through diverse but integrated socio-economic strategies. Such strategies include:
* increasing the number of black people that manage
* own and control enterprises and productive assets.
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government
24 May 2007