Business organisation Sakeliga today welcomed the partial disavowal from some quarters of government of the leaked BEE-criteria for SMME relief but remains concerned that not all Departments are on board.
Sakeliga will therefore launch a platform at www.sakeliga.co.za tonight for all businesses to notify Sakeliga of their applications and outcomes.
“We welcome the Department of Small Business Development’s public disavowal of the leaked concept BEE-criteria for SMME relief. The Covid-19 crisis is not the time for BEE. We await the final criteria, which we insist must be BEE-free,” says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.
“Thankfully, the public outcry and response by business leaders mean that the initial draft SMME fund regulations will probably be withheld or amended. Still, we shall keep a close watch on the department’s activities to make sure that BEE does not slip in through some backdoor. It is terribly disappointing that some officials saw it fit to continue bad ideological habits at a most inappropriate time, concept or not,” Le Roux continues.
Sakeliga awaits written confirmation by the department on its letter early this morning, in which the Department’s solemn undertaking that BEE will not play a role in SMME support is requested.
“At the same time, we note with concern pronouncements today by the Minister of Tourism that BEE will be applied in the smaller relief fund in that Department. We are writing to her as well,” says Le Roux.
During a press conference this morning, Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that they are going to “include racial categories” in determining benefits and that it will be “based on our BEE criteria, as per the amended codes that the sector has adopted.”
“Should we find that BEE plays a role in the awarding of relief to SMMEs, we shall take strong measures, including legal action. Any business who feels that it has been overlooked for relief because of BEE should please contact us,” Le Roux concludes.
With more than 15 000 members, patrons and affiliated chambers, Sakeliga (Business League) is one of the largest business organisations in South Africa.