By: Neo Chabane
The basic elements of black economic empowerment (BEE) are not new concepts at all. As early as 1955, the Freedom Charter called for all people to share in the country’s wealth and the fruits of the land.
Since then the majority of South Africans have realised the need for economic equality and the need for everybody to have equal access to economic opportunities. Recently BEE, or the more politically correct version, broad-based BEE (BBBEE) has become one of the most recognisable and contested government economic policies.
But knowing how to respond on this issue is difficult if you don’t know what is going on around the issue in Numsa-organised workplaces. That is why Numsa asked Wits University research unit, CSID, to examine the state of BEE in all the sectors in which Numsa organises.
On May 6-7, the CSID presented its report to Numsa representatives. The report found that:
over 81% of employees in management are still white males, while white males also dominate boards with a representation of 77%
less than 1% of employers who belong to employee associations have more than 25% black ownership
white women are about 10 times more likely to receive training at higher skill occupation levels than any category of black workers
Hanad Mohamud, a director in charge of strengthening trade unions of the US trade union federation AFL-CIO also had some words of advice for delegates on how they had approached BEE in his country.
“We chose to rebalance racial distribution within a system without challenging the basis of that system. We missed it completely – black empowerment – critical error that we made is that we totally failed to include class analysis.”
The interest from the delegates in the presentations made and the emotive discussions that followed strongly indicated the need for a Numsa position to be developed.
Delegates then broke into groups to grapple with fundamental issues like whether the union should subscribe to the dti definition of BEE or whether it would be more useful for Numsa to develop its own.
There was extensive discussion over whether employee share ownership programmes (ESOPs) contributed to the empowerment of workers, or whether these schemes were an impediment to the workers’ struggle.
Discussions also addressed how effective training could be as a tool for empowerment especially given the current contestations in the workplace.
Union delegates also reflected on how far they had gone in terms of ensuring that employment equity was actively encouraged in the workplace.
Regions must now discuss the documents in preparation for a national policy workshop which will take place before the Cosatu congress later this year. From regional inputs, Numsa will develop a BEE position which speaks to the true intentions of the policy: to empower the masses through access, with no impediments, to economic opportunities.
INumsa inenkulumompikiswano nge-BEE
INumsa beyinomhlangano wokufundisana kazwelonke ngoMeyi ukuzobika ngocwaningo lwezindawo zomsebenzi ezihlelwe yiNumsa nokuthi babehlangabezana kanjani nokunikezwa kwabantu abamnyama amandla kwezomnotho.
Ababethunyiwe babephikisana ngezindaba ezifana nencazelo ye-BEE, ukuthi ingabe umsebenzi unaso yini isabelo ezinhlelweni zobunikazi (employee share ownership programmes (ESOPs)) ezinikeza noma ezivimbela umzabalazo wabasebenzi nokuthi ukuqeqesha kungasetshenziswa yini ukunikeza abasebenzi amandla.
Abathunyiwe manje sebezoxoxa ngezindaba zezifunda bese benza isimo sezifunda emhlanganweni wokufundisana wenqubomgomo kazwelonke ozoba sekuhambeni konyaka.
Numsa voer gesprek oor BEE
Numsa het in Mei “˜n nasionale werkswinkel gehou om terugvoering te gee omtrent “˜n studie by werksplekke waar Numsa die vakbond is, oor hoe hulle BEE benader.
Afgevaardigdes het toe debat gevoer oor kwessies soos die definisie van BEE, of programme waar werknemers aandele kry werkers bemagtig of hulle aan bande líª, en of opleiding gebruik kan word om werkgewers te bemagtig.
Afgevaardigdes sal die kwessie nou in die streke bespreek, en streeksposisies ontwikkel ter voorbereiding vir “˜n nasionale beleidswerkswinkel later in die jaar.
Numsa e buisana ka BEE
Numsa e ile ya tshwara wekeshopo ya naha ka Motsheanong bakeng sa ho fumana tlaleho ya diphuputso tsa dibakeng tsa ho sebetsa tseo Numsa e hlophisang basebetsi ho tsona le ka moo ba sebetsanang le matlafatso ya batho ba batsho moruong (black economic empowerment – BEE).
Baromuwa ba ile ba buisana ka ditaba tse jwalo ka tsa tlhaloso ya BEE, hore na mananeo a ho ba monga dishere a basebetsi (di-ESOP) a matlafatsa kapa a sitisana le boitseko ba basebetsi, le hore na thupelo e ka sebediswa ho matlafatsa basebetsi na.
Baromuwa jwale ba tla buisana ka taba ena mabatoweng mme ba hlahise boemo ba lebatowa bakeng sa wekeshopo ya naha e mabapi le leano e tla tshwarwa haufinyane selemong sena.
For almost one week in May, nearly 40 local education committee representatives from Wits Central West region took off their working hats to learn the skills of facilitation.
Guided by Numsa regional educators as well as outside educators from Ditsela, learners shared their learning experiences with one another.
Learners also learnt the importance of respecting every learners’ views, how much can be learnt from the collective wisdom of all participants as well as facilitation skills that ensure the maximum participation of all learners.
Regional educators will now run the course in other regions across the country. Trained local educators will now be expected to help out in education workshops in their locals.