Johannesburg - Points will be deducted from companies that do not invest in skills and supplier development in terms of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Act, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Government is in the process of amending empowerment legislation, with the department seeking to tweak both the BEE Act and codes for empowerment.
"Far too much empowerment has offered people passive shares in established companies. Far too little has been on real ownership by black companies and development of suppliers," he noted.
Davies was speaking at the opening of the two-day Black Suppliers Development Summit hosted by the Aveng group in partnership with the dti.
The minister noted that some of the most successful business models around the world were those that involved relationships between big and small business.
"What we are trying to do is concentrate more resources around programmes where there's real training [to small business]," said Davies, while urging big business to be involved in the development and training of small business.
The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Amendment Bill aims to align the B-BBEE Act with other legislation impacting on black economic empowerment. It was gazetted in December 2011.
"The evaluation we've been doing of empowerment, the evaluation of small enterprise development programmes in South Africa is telling us that we need to concentrate our resources on delivering real entrepreneurial capacity and addressing a lack of black industrialists," he said on Tuesday.
In the near future, the dti would make changes to black economic empowerment scales.
"We are going to say that if you don't earn a percentage of the target, then we'll deduct from your scorecard," said the minister.
Chief Director for black economic empowerment at the dti, Nomonde Mesatywa, said that there was a need to demystify black economic empowerment.
"Empowerment is not one dimensional," she said, adding that empowerment led to poverty eradication, contributing to transforming the South African economy.
She also highlighted the problem of fronting in companies.
"We take a dim view on that," warned Mesatywa.
Davies further added that government's massive infrastructure build was not only aimed at constructing roads and the like but that it linked up with infrastructure development on the African continent.
"We have realised that that barriers to inter-regional trade are not to do with tariff matters. They're much more linked to supplier capacities in different African countries and inadequate infrastructure that connects African countries," said Davies.
The challenge for Africa, said Davies, was industrialisation and government would continue using designation so as to help stimulate manufacturing.
"We are unashamedly saying that as government that we will use the tools of designation... to say that tools will be sourced from local manufacturers," said Davies.
The designation comes in terms of the amendment of the Public Procurement Policy Framework Act last year. It came into effect on 7 December 2011 and enables the dti to designate industries for local procurement, including procurement by state-owned enterprises.