The Ports Regulator of South Africa’s (PRSA) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Mukondeleli Johanna Mulaudzi, and the Commissioner of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission, Mr Tshediso Matona, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting economic transformation in the Ports Sector.

This partnership between the PRSA and the B-BBEE Commission seeks to address the slow pace of transformation. The PRSA report on the “Implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa” indicates that Black Ownership in port terminal operations is below 20%, 18% for leases, and 12% for services and facilities. Ownership by Black Women in the sector is worryingly below 15%.

“On the other hand, the B-BBEE Commission’s National Trends and Status report on B-BBEE for 2022 shows that while the Integrated Transport sector reached 58% Black Ownership by JSE-listed entities in 2022, with 25% for Black Women, the Ports sub-sector still lags behind. This demonstrates that an overarching challenge faced by the PRSA and the B-BBEE Commission is the issue of enforcement and accountability for non-compliance with the B-BBEE Act,” said a statement issued by the B-BBEE Commission.

In this context, the B-BBEE Commission has a leading role in strengthening accountability and enforcement, based on the powers and functions assigned to it in the B-BBEE Act, which will support the transformation efforts and initiatives of the PRSA.

“It is anticipated that the collaboration between the B-BBEE Commission and the PRSA will enhance monitoring of transformation activities within the Ports Sector to ensure that black operators and port users benefit in the future. The MoU between both partners provides for exchanges of information, strategies, expertise, and research related to B-BBEE and transformation. Additionally, the MoU states that both partners may engage in awareness and advocacy programmes concerning B-BBEE,” the statement continued.

For example, where the PRSA identifies sub-sectors of the Ports where compliance and enforcement should be strengthened, it can collaborate with the B-BBEE Commission on research and appropriate interventions required, based on the respective mandates of the two entities. During the MoU signing ceremony, the CEO of the PRSA stated that the collaboration signals an important journey that will ensure enforcement of B-BBEE initiatives is achieved through the partnership. She highlighted the need for interventions to ensure that small and medium enterprises graduate to become large enterprises in the various port sector activities and operations.

The B-BBEE Commissioner, Mr Tshediso Matona, said: “There is no doubt that the Ports Sector has strategic importance for the economy, and as such, there is no reason why black people cannot have equitable participation in the economy.”

The MoU signing was welcomed by maritime sector stakeholders, notably the Maritime Business Chamber, Industry Development South African Maritime Safety Authority, B-BBEE Charter Council, and eThekwini Maritime Cluster.

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