Monday saw a war of words erupt between the Black Business Council and Business Unity South Africa, below we provide both their statements.
The Black Business Council (BBC) will not extend the olive branch to white business forever
The Black Business Council wishes to announce the termination of cooperation with the Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), following over 23 years of partnership and dialogue between White and Black business at National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). The termination follows an unfortunate incident that transpired at the last NEDLAC’s Infrastructure Committee meeting, where representatives of BBC were kicked out of the meeting by the BUSA delegation.
The government created NEDLAC in February 1995 through the National Economic Development and Labour Council Act of 1994 in order to add legitimacy and transparency to the socioeconomic decision-making process. This was because there was a clear need for radical change in South Africa’s socioeconomic. NEDLAC replaced the National Manpower Commission (NMC) and the National Economic Forum (NEF).
The main objective of Government is to consult all major stakeholders by eliciting Nedlac’s approval on the proposed legislation. The stakeholders are grouped as government, business and labour as well as the community (represented by civic, women’s, rural, youth and disabled organisations and representative bodies)
Nedlac’s objectives are set out in the National Economic Development and Labour Council Act 35 of 1994. These are to:
• strive to promote the goals of economic growth, participation in economic decision-making and social equity,
• seek to reach a consensus and conclude agreements pertaining to social and economic policies,
• consider all proposed labour legislation relating to labour market policies before it is introduced in Parliament,
• consider all significant changes to social and economic policies before it is introduced in Parliament,
• encourage and promote the formulation of coordinated policies on social and economic matters.
Nedlac has played a fundamental role in the shaping of a democratic South Africa. The process of reaching a consensus through forums for debate is critical for the formation of legitimate decisions that are acceptable to all South Africans. Nedlac is therefore a consensus-seeking body that tries to facilitate agreement through discussion and negotiation.
Over the years, Black and White organisations have successfully represented business and ensured that everybody’s voice is heard through quality inputs from all. The top priority for all stakeholders is to improve the capacity of black business and ensure their meaningful participation in shaping of the country’s economic landscape. “The BBC will continue participating in NEDLAC as an independent voice of Black business and we believe this will provide a great opportunity for BBC to advocate the aspirations of our people. We have declared 2017 the year of radical economic transformation and on platforms such as NEDLAC, we will continue to advocate a less apologetic approach to economic redress” said Danisa Baloyi, President of the BBC.
In the past, Black and White business worked tirelessly to achieve a consensus on matters pertaining to the successes of business even when they were representing different constituents, monopoly capital and aspirant Black entrepreneurs on the other side.
“The closing doors approach by BUSA is direct contrary of the BBC open door policy, which has been a key pillar to the 23 year old relationship. Mr Mabuza gesture at NEDLAC, which was subsequently followed by a call to end the two organisations’ cooperation, is in fact making a re-approachment to “civil society matters. The civil society must be wary of these approaches lest they become next victims of Mabuza’s constant exclusion of Black people in positions of power.” said George Sebulela, secretary General of the BBC. “White business cannot keep the social dialogue alive alone. You need the BBC, a different organisation fighting for the aspiration of Black people and white business don’t seem to realize this fact. They are finding it very difficult to work with Black people.” concluded Sebulela
BUSA RESPONDS TO BBC NEDLAC TERMINATION
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) is the recognised voice at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) for business – representing businesses across all sectors, sizes and formats in the economy..
The BUSA Board formally advised the Black Business Council (BBC) on 11 May 2017 of the termination of cooperation in Nedlac. The decision follows the lapse of the 2012 – 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between BUSA and the BBC. The MoU provided the cooperative framework for promoting the interests of business in Nedlac, which previously enabled the BBC representatives to participate in Nedlac proceedings through the BUSA seat.
Regrettably, notwithstanding numerous efforts, the two parties were unable to reach an agreement on the terms of a new framework for participation.
Therefore, the BBC will no longer be represented through BUSA at Nedlac. This does not prevent the BBC from seeking their own seat at Nedlac in line with the Nedlac Act and Constitution.
BUSA does not believe that there is merit on commenting on the BBC release. The decision, to terminate the participation of the BCC through BUSA in Nedlac, was taken unanimously by the BUSA Board. It was informed by recent developments at Nedlac where it became apparent that BBC and BUSA were not aligned in relation to key issues facing the economy. Such issues included the impact of the downgrade and on matters of monetary policy, as well as the most appropriate way to address these issues.