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Title:Weak Links in the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) Chain? Procurement, Skills and Employment Equity in the Metals and Engineering Industries
Authors:Mohamed, Grace
Roberts, Simon
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
metalworking industry
Labor and Employment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Abstract:The 2003 strategy of South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry identifies 'Black Economic Empowerment' (BEE) as being broad-based, inclusive, and part of a sustainable long-term growth and development strategy. In this, it is consistent with the 2001 Black Economic Empowerment Commission report, the ANC 2002 conference resolution and ultimately the ANC's Reconstruction and Development Programme of 1994. The authors use firm-level information in the metals and engineering industries to examine the actual nature and extent of BEE across the dimensions of ownership, procurement, employment equity and training. They investigate the relationship between BEE concepts and provisions and the responses that firms took in practice. Direct pressure for BEE in metals and engineering firms arises from legislation and regulatory provisions governing employment equity, skills development and procurement. It also follows from procurement provisions applying to large companies that buy from metals and engineering firms, as well as to mining firms and State-owned enterprises such as Eskom (electricity) and Transnet (transport). Data were collected from 25 firms in Gauteng Province. The study presents a sobering picture of BEE in South Africa. Skills development and employment equity have been portrayed as the potential links in a chain of empowerment. Yet, so far the links have been weak - if not entirely absent. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]