Keith Levenstein is about to tell us all about where the new BBBEE situation stands in his brief seminars, following the imposition of the new codes next week. At the time of writing this, Rob Davies was intent on imposing the new codes from 1 May. I have a slightly jaundiced view of BEE as a whole, notwithstanding the fact that something (meaningful) needs to be done to sort out the inequities of the past.
I guess I am just a bit tired of poor and indifferent service from people who have jobs because of their skin colour, and not because of their abilities. Indifference arises from the employees knowing that their numbers add to the employer’s score card first, and second; the employees knowledge that employers find it is a leap too far to dismiss the useless, care of the CCMA.
From front line call centre staff to sportsmen in the best teams. They know it and we know it. “Quota” is a four letter word. No really, it is.
There are unintended consequences to this social engineering. None of this is new, of course. When I left school, I was told I would never get a job unless I first got a degree because jobs were all reserved for Afikaners. Life was a lot worse for our black fellow citizens at the time.
Soon after leaving university, I decided that I was unemployable, anyway. Thank goodness for that self realisation as I struggled to create my own space without the luxury of a monthly pay cheque.
That is the thing about the future of South Africa. When the patronising dust has settled, the unintended consequences will simply perpetuate the inequalities of the past and present.
However, it is worth noting that in South Africa in 2015 there are many jobs which are considered very valuable, but falling into a few broad spectra:
- Most public sector jobs seem to be regarded as “reward – without – work” jobs. But apart from those:
- Consultants are becoming the life blood of the nation as cadre deployment relies on them to get the job done.
- BEE has spawned a whole extra layer between those who are able, and those who can connect. Well if nothing else, it is a way of distributing wealth to the connected. We can only hope that some of it filters down to their respective communities. Personally, I have run out of puff, holding that breath.
- A whole raft of very capable white people who are unable to find employment the various sectors which now place small print at the end of their job adverts: “Preference will be given to PDIs”. Those people become struggling business owners, sometimes employing those with less initiative, other than “always being able to find a job because I am black”.
That last group is going to perpetuate a problem. White people are unable to find jobs commensurate with their abilities. So they take their skills to the small business sector, where they scrape and starve for years, building up one man operations, perhaps with a few staff members in support. The thing with being made to struggle, is that if the struggle does not kill, it strengthens.
When the dust has finally settled, and the strong are left standing, the employers of the future will be the strong who had to fight for their crusts. The workers will be those who rely only on their melanin to get their daily bread. That is a great sadness for a country with so much talent being wasted while it receives handouts.
These “businesses” or “jobs” if you prefer are, in a normal society, difficult to sell. However, South Africa has been an abnormal society for as long as it has had any sort of society in the last 300 years. The current hogs at the trough have no interest in changing that. Much like the pigs before them, and all the previous artiodactylous rulers before them.
The thing with abnormal societies is that abnormal practices flourish. So when a self employed businessman arrives at the end of his career in this abnormal society, there is a ready stream of one man operators willing and desperate to buy themselves into that job. It is not the way it should be. But is the way it is. And it is a meaningful way for small business owners to exit with some accumulated value.
The thing is, while banks may not be interested in financing these acquisitions, the youngsters in question often have access to family funds by way of cash or security, to help put them into jobs which will one day be the employers of the weak sons and daughters of today’s ruling elite.
It’s very depressing for the country as a whole, but it offers a way out for those who need to move on to a new phase in their respective careers.
— Mzwanele Manyi (@KrilaGP) April 28, 2015
@MarkCorke are you insinuating that black people are unqualified and can't get jobs on merit?
— Mashilo J Mothemane (@Marcellomj) April 28, 2015
Don't think I said that. https://t.co/QaXr3lTxdY
— Mark Corke (@MarkCorke) April 28, 2015
So far the only person who has used "incompetent" and "BEE" in the same sentence in this conversation is NOT me. https://t.co/ZkYuBkSh7P
— Mark Corke (@MarkCorke) April 28, 2015