I’ve just read a piece about the new EDF (Enterprise Development Fund) that will be rolled out under the NEF’s control.
The thing is, yet again, the BEE drum is the one that’s beating the loudest. Essentially, black-owned and managed businesses will be the only ones eligible for this funding.
The way I see it, you can have one or the other. Either you’re committed to job creation, OR you are committed to BEE.
In case you’re wondering why, let me explain.
If job creation is a priority, then any business with a viable plan, that has the potential to create jobs, for anyone in the country, should be a priority. It doesn’t matter, as far as I know, what race the person who is doing the hiring is – it’s the job, and the salary, that matters.
On the other hand, if it’s BEE that is a priority, then government is essentially saying that they don’t care if anyone else can create jobs, because it’s not the jobs themselves that are important, but getting the right colour bums in the managing seats.
Given our huge unemployment problem, it seems like folly to be restricting any enterprise, with the potential of creating jobs, from accessing the assistance they need to do so. I might be wrong, but if a white person can create 10 or 20 jobs, for example, with their business idea, are the jobs not more important than the colour of the entrepreneur?
Our government needs to give us all a straight answer on the BEE / job creation dilemma. Are they more interesting in maintaining the tenderpreneur mentality, or are they interested in real economic reform.
If it’s the former, then it’s business as usual I suppose. However, if it’s the latter, then the policies surrounding small business development definitely need an urgent rethink.
We are an emerging economy. We are a nation crippled by unemployment.
Maybe it’s time that those became the driving factors in policy with regards to business development, rather than the current one, which seems to be: if you’re not black, we don’t want your jobs.