January 9, 2004

Mbeki signs BEE Act into law



President Thabo Mbeki has signed into the law the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Act, in a move that will see the majority of the country's disadvantaged included into the mainstream economy. The Act makes provision for the establishment of a legislative framework for the promotion of black economic empowerment mainly to promote the participation of black people in the country's economy. The Act also gives support for empowering particularly women-owned enterprises to access finance, increase the number of women who own and manage existing and new enterprises, and increase their access to economic activities, infrastructure and skills training.
The Act also empowers the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alec Erwin, to issue codes of good practice on empowerment, and also makes provision for the establishment of a BEE Advisory Council. The council's objectives will be to advise President Mbeki on the implementation of BEE strategies to ensure that full transformation of the business sector is in accordance with economic growth. The Council will comprise 19 members, four of whom will be Cabinet ministers, while the President will appoint the remaining 15 members.
"The passing of this Act is an important milestone for a democratic South Africa, and gives impetus to the constitutional right to equality for the majority of the people of this country," Mr Khumalo, the presidential spokesperson said. (Bua News, Pretoria)

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