Black Industrialists Programme a push for economic transformation

Pretoria - The Black Industrialists Programme is meant to change the structure of South Africa’s economy, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina.

Speaking at the Umyezane Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Awards in Durban on Monday, the Deputy Minister said the R30 billion set aside for the programme is a strategy for socio-economic transformation.

Deputy Minister Masina said government wants to transform the industrial ownership in the country by systematically involving black people in the ownership of strategic sectors of the economy.

“This is because the principle of inclusive growth must reflect changing demographic ownership, especially in critical industries,” he said on Monday.

He also said the issue of inclusive growth means that black people can no longer be relegated to being labourers and factory workers only.

“If things have to change, they can only change if government becomes tougher and clearer in policy terms and be very coherent,” said the Deputy Minister.

He said the uptake for the Black Industrialists Programme in KwaZulu-Natal is relatively low. He promised to host a roadshow in the province to encourage entrepreneurs to apply in order to take part in the programme.

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu said government has taken a bold step to accelerate BEE across all sectors of the economy under the auspices of the Black Industrialists Programme.

This, he said, will challenge the status-quo of economic participation.

“The Black Industrialist Programme is expected to inspire a new breed of black businesspeople to move out of the periphery of the economy to the centre stage, and exploit the country’s diversified sectors to own the means of production,” said the MEC.

Delivering the Department of Trade and Industry’s Budget Vote last week, Minister Rob Davies said due to a continued shortage of black industrialists, the department would focus on supporting qualifying black industrialists in the year ahead.

The Minister said it remained an impossible task to build an inclusive and stable society when some sectors and industries remain largely untransformed, and where established sectors are perceived as monopolising access to government resources.