Letter: BEE a backward slide - Daily Dispatch

Mar 08, 2023
The Public Procurement Bill could be the most dangerous new law passed in 2023. The bill is too heavy on racialism by tons.
Letter: BEE a backward slide - Daily Dispatch

The Public Procurement Bill could be the most dangerous new law passed in 2023. The bill is too heavy on racialism by tons.

Since January it has become possible for any organ of state to procure goods or services on the basis of maximum value for money, without reference to race, or by using a point system to reward companies that meet "specific goals" like building schools or tarring roads. But now the Procurement Bill wants to bring back black economic empowerment as a necessary consideration.

Going back to BEE is inappropriate because of the rise of intraracial inequality. For example, the latest Stats SA Marginalised Groups Indicator Report broke household income into five brackets, finding most white children are in the highest bracket and that most children in the highest bracket, by almost double, are black.

At the other end of the income scale there are roughly as many black children in the bottom bracket monthly household earnings of R1,860 as in the top one R16,500 . There is a terrifying difference between those quintiles. That difference must not be whitewashed by racialism when the state is trying to boost charity, or to maximise value for money so that more is left over for social grants.

The Zondo Commission report makes it clear that "there is an inevitable tension when a single process is simultaneously to achieve different aspirational objectives".

Was the report talking specifically about the tension between racialism and maximum value for money? Yes. And it advised clearly that value for money must come first. The Procurement Bill does the opposite.

Gabriel Crouse, Institute of Race Relations

Letter: BEE a backward slide - Daily Dispatch

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