Could non-compliance with the B-BBEE Act and racism be mutually inclusive?

South Africa, a rainbow nation they call it. A diversified beautiful country with more than 3 languages in the national anthem, more than 4 colours in the national flag, and more than 6 official languages is merely transformed at eye value. It remains the most racist and untransformed nation, which makes me wonder, should transformation be legalized and is non-compliance with transformation and racism mutually inclusive?  

I believe that when the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003, was established, the true intention was to EMPOWER black people, make them a part of the economy that had already been built on their backs. Share a piece of the pie that they helped bake. It was established to redress past mistakes and injustice that had been brought upon black people by the apartheid government. Like any other project, it is bound to have a few failures here and there but all of that should not take away from the true intended purpose of the act, which is to empower black people through the established elements( Ownership, management control, enterprise and supplier development, skills development, and socio-economic development). The act was not established to punish white people, but it was to bring equality in the nation both economically and literally. 

The B-BBEE Act remains a choice and is not forced upon any entity, however, if you want to do business with the government or any organs of the state, you must be BEE compliant. That is simply the state’s way of driving transformation and economic equality without infringing on anyone’s civil rights or forcing business owners to give a piece of their company to the previously disadvantaged/oppressed and that is where the problem starts.

Non-compliance is very common amongst industry leaders so much so that the small players take the lead from that. It is like in a family, our parents teach us to behave. If large organizations can choose not to be transformed it does not, in my opinion, give the act the seriousness it truly deserves.

These are establishments who are the direct beneficiaries of the apartheid government, if there is anyone who should be immensely transformed it is them. I believe with a lack of transportation  in these organizations continuously perpetuates a racist culture both internally and externally. Their consciousness of transformation is replaced by the racist jokes in the coffee room and their superiority complex. Their lack of transformation is even evident in their marketing strategies, where the whole company will see nothing wrong with a racist Ad until they are called out on it by the general public and they merely give out a half-hearted apology that further reveals their racial ignorance. It may not be intentional, but that culture has become part of the organizations’ identity, which is why I strongly believe that non-compliance with the B-BBEE Act and racism go hand in hand. Without having to comply with the Act, non-compliant organizations do not have to be diverse, they do not have to be inclusive of other races in the company. They are simply subjected to the culture they have known all their life, oblivious to the change the state is trying to bring about. 20  years later and the previously disadvantaged still must fight twice as hard just to get a seat at the table. 20 years later and black people are still being exploited by corporate, gender and racial inequality is still a debate that has the entire nation divided and black people must still fight twice as hard just to stay in a race they had lost years ago, the matter of fact they weren’t even part of the race until recently. How then do you sustain an economy with such a huge economical imbalance? 

I believe the act does not only transform the company but will also transform people’s minds. It allows those that come from a point of privilege to realize the importance of transformation and how they can use their privilege to redress past injustice. Without taking away from the success the ACT has achieved. I strongly believe that the lack of compliance with the ACT is mutually inclusive of racism. Now let us all ask ourselves, is the act doing enough, should we be looking at alternative solutions or should certain elements of the B-BBEE Act 23 of 2003 be compulsory?