In an article which was first published on the popular political analysis website, Politicsweb, Vusi Thembekwayo asks tough questions which others are not brave enough to tackle on the practice of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) or its latest variant – BBEE.
The business speaker, listed companies director and private equity partner raises a few thought provoking concerns about the way BEE’s enterprise development component is structured. His main concerns include the removal of risk taking attitude, lowering the bar of effort amongst the beneficiaries, and dearth of entrepreneurs who are real role models.
Unequivocally, Thembekwayo warns against the deception of referring to well-connected individuals who are on Forbes’ billionaire list as successful “entrepreneurs”.
He points out: “Creating a few very well-connected individuals who form part of the global elite and über-rich may assist Johan and his team at Bentley sell more cars in the short-term.
“It may even get Fabiani to hit record sales in Africa since inception, but it will not develop and grow a culture of entrepreneurship.”
Thembekwayo believes a paradigm shift is overdue due, if ever government is truly committed to creating competitive entrepreneurs. “We need a higher standard. We need to model correctly. We need to reward and develop true entrepreneurs.”
He wonders: Where are the risk takers, the mavericks, the wide-eyed hopefuls? Where are the “I will not be defeated”, “I will not give up” people? Where are those who see opportunity in squalor and hope in deprivation?”