The South African Institute for Advancement welcomes the decision by the Department of Trade and Industry to withdraw its proposed changes to the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) codes dealing with socio-economic development. Under the revised codes, businesses would only have received their full points towards their BEE scorecards if their money went to charities with 100% black beneficiaries.
lnyathelo Executive Director Shelagh Gastrow says she is thankful that government has listened to civil society and responded positively to their concerns. "We explained that the proposed changes would have a devastating impact on the non-profit sector that provides nearly 70% of all welfare services in South Africa. We also pointed out that the amendments would provide a perverse incentive to turn away needy people who are not black or who were refugees in order for charities to secure much needed funds," explains Gastrow.
Dti confirmed that they were withdrawing the proposed changes even before the public consultation period closes on Wednesday, 5 December 2012. lnyathelo Programme Director Gabrielle Ritchie says despite the U-turn, companies will still have to do a racial audit of beneficiaries if they want to claim full BEE points. "Under the current code, companies can only qualify for full BEE points if they give to charities whose beneficiaries are more than 75 percent black. So, while we are relieved that this has not been increased to 100%, we do believe that no organisation should be made to ask a vulnerable child what colour they are before offering help.
Likewise, organisations like LifeLine should not have to enquire about the race of a distressed caller before giving advice. You simply can't discriminate on the basis of colour when it comes to need," insists Ritchie.