BEE and racism: Is there a difference?
Think back to 2009. I'm sure you'll remember when COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota accused government of applying BEE and affirmative-action policies in such a way that it resulted in 'reverse racism'. He went on to say that while he 'supported affirmative action in principle, appointments should be made on the basis of qualifications for a position.'
But was he right?
It seems more and more people are leaning that way.
Last year, deputy dean and Constitutional law professor at the University of Cape Town Law Faculty, Pierre De Vos, penned an article stating that 'the way in which the current so called Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy is being implemented is a recipe for nepotism and corruption.' While he was referring to government, many believe what happened in the CSA recently is following this same recipe.
So how can you make sure your company's BEE policy doesn't make the same mistakes?
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Have you prepared your company for the amended B-BBEE codes?
If you haven't by 1 May 2015, you could be inviting severe losses to your company.
Do this to ensure your BEE policy isn't promoting 'racist' behaviour
Your first step is to ensure your policy has been written up in accordance with the Code of Good Practice on the Integration of Employment Equity into Human Resource Policies and Practices.
Next, ensure you're promoting affirmative action in a legally responsible way.
To do this, prepare and implement an employment equity plan that will help your company achieve reasonable progress toward employment equity in your workplace
❑ The objectives for each year of the plan
❑ The affirmative action measures to be implemented
❑ The numerical goals to achieve representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups in each occupation and level in the workforce (where under representation is identified)
❑ The timetable to achieve the numerical goals, and the intended strategies to achieve them
❑ The timetable for the achievement of goals and objectives other than numerical goals
❑ The duration of the plan. This mustn't be shorter than one year or longer than five years
❑ The procedures you'll use to monitor and evaluate whether reasonable progress is being made towards implementing employment equity
❑ The internal procedures to resolve any dispute about the plan
❑ The employees (including senior managers) responsible for monitoring and implementing the plan
❑ Any other prescribed matter
Then, follow that plan to the letter. As long as you're doing that and basing staffing decisions on qualifications, experience and abilities – and NOT race – you'll be able to prove you acted legally when hiring and promoting staff.
Whether CSA will be able to do the same thing, remains to be seen.
PS: Understanding B-BBEE, in particular the Amended Codes, is vital to your company's continued success
But knowledge isn't enough.