South Africa’s pioneer and foremost thinker and voice on Black Economic Advancement, Phinda Mzwakhe Madi, is back with a bang. His first book, Affirmative Action in Corporate South Africa, triggered the first wave of Affirmative Action programmes in the country. His follow up book, Black Economic Empowerment in the New South Africa, led to the formation of the BEE Commission and eventually the creation of the country’s policy and codes of good practice. Now his third book in the trilogy, BEE 20 years later – The Baby and the Bathwater, evaluates progress so far and startles with its fresh perspective on the way forward.
Twenty years after the introduction of BEE, Madi’s view is that the time for follow-up and reflection has come. Clear trends and lessons can now be discerned and learned from. He contends that there is an unfortunate narrative that is gaining currency in South Africa generally and the corporate world in particular, as well as numerous sections of civil society, that BEE has been nothing but a smoke and mirrors initiative towards oligarchy, hence his chosen title: BEE 20 years later – The Baby and The Bathwater.
He believes that, having been the first black author to have written on this subject, he has a unique view of the evolution of the process. As a black entrepreneur himself and a director of various top listed companies with a total combined turnover of more than R90bn, he not only has a conceptual and academic understanding of the subject matter, but also has an insider’s view and experience.
As the title suggests, there is now a tendency to want to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. His book argues that we need to make a very clear distinction between the bouncing baby and the (at times) dirty bathwater. The book analyses both the bouncing baby and the unfortunate dirt and grime that covers the bathwater. It makes a very frank, clinical and yet balanced argument on how this distinction needs to be made, as well as why and how we should all ensure that the baby both survives and thrives going forward, whilst getting rid of the ugly side of BEE – the dirty bathwater. But more importantly, he examines how to restore the credibility of this process so that it truly and genuinely moves away from just being seen as the enrichment of the few and lives true to its promise: the economic empowerment of the many.
Featuring conversations with prominent Entrepreneurs, Business People and Thought Leaders
Herman Mashaba; Peter Vundla; Richard Maponya; Gaby Magomola; Thami Mazwai; Leon Louw; Joe Hlongwane; Vusi Thembekwayo; Sandile Zungu; Koko Khumalo; Mandla Malinga; Themba Dlamini; Lawrence Mavundla; Khanyi Kweyama.
This is a book about the way forward, about a BEE process which creates wealth for everybody and not just a privileged few.