Business Still Not Taking B-BBEE Targets, Survey Finds
SA companies do not have enough black middle- and senior-level managers in their businesses, new research shows.
In line with the department of trade & industry’s B-BBEE classification, the Sanlam Gauge includes ownership, management control, skills development, enterprise and supplier development, and socioeconomic development in its report.
“Management scores are lowest across all sectors and all size categories ... with companies generally meeting targets at junior management level but falling short in higher levels,” the report says.
Panellists at the Sanlam Gauge conference on Thursday morning concurred that a lack of management control is a concern.
“We don’t have a critical mass of black managers,” Empowerdex MD Lerato Ratsoma said . “This low figure [in management control] came as quite a shock. This is something that definitely needs to be discussed,” she said.
Andile Khumalo, CEO of KhumaloCo and co-founder of the Sanlam Gauge, said the consistently poor management control figures across all industries needs to be investigated.
“We need to get to the bottom of what is the fundamental issue when it comes to management control,” he said, as well as why the high ownership figures have not translated into an increase in management control.
This anomaly could be directly linked to low exercisable voting rights.
Lindiwe Madonsela, head of compliance at the B-BBEE Commission at the department of trade & industry, said the research showed “we are not doing well when it comes to increasing the pace of transformation”.
She said the figures for 2020, which the commission is scheduled to publish, showed that in that year there was a 28%-29% increase in ownership deals, in 2019 there was a 29% increase and in 2018 it was up 28%. The commission would like the annual increase to exceed 29%.
Figures might show a slight increase in ownership, Madonsela said, but they do not translate to an equal vote in the boardroom. “The voting rights for these owners are limited, especially for black women,” she said.
“This raises a question whether it [the B-BBEE score] is more about achieving the levels or if it’s about meaningful transformation,” Madonsela said.
Karl Socikwa, group executive for market development at Sanlam, attributed the absence of black people in management positions to fear. He believes companies fear creating an inclusive management team because they believe it will lower the standards of the business and reduce opportunities for other groups of people.
Sandile Zungu, chair of the Black Business Council, said the time for transformation is running out and anticipated civil unrest from South Africans who are still excluded from the economy. Until 75% of the economy’s ownership is in the hands of black South Africans “it’s going to disturb our nation state, and it will all go up in smoke”.
“This is not an empty threat,” Zungu said. He believes that when people feel excluded and have nothing to lose, “their behaviour tends to be viewed by those who have something to lose as being utterly irresponsible”.
He encourages those who have “something to lose” to embrace transformation to “hasten the process of change” and prevent social upheaval.
This article first appeared on www.businesslive.co.za, on 6 May 2021.