Black Industrialist Programme

Since the fall of institutional apartheid, the democratic Government has been involved in an organised effort to reconstruct South African society in a manner that overturns the apartheid social and economic architecture. This objective derives from the South African Constitution's injunction that we need to restore the dignity of all citizens through deliberate socio-economic promotion of the historically marginalised sections of the population.

In this context, the State has a moral obligation to creatively harness national resources towards the resolution of the historical injustice of racial, gender and class exclusion in all spheres of life. In the realm of economic life, this implies the need to transform the patterns of asset ownership in a manner that reinforces the national objective of building a society that truly belongs to all who live in it. This derives from the recognition that the bulk of industrial assets in South Africa have, until now, been racially concentrated, thereby generating uneven social and economic relations that undermine this national objective.

In light of the foregoing, the democratic Government has developed various policy instruments with the objective of achieving an inclusive economy. All of these instruments have been aggregated within the strategic framework of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). These interventions have all been directed towards transforming the structure of the South African economy in a manner that promotes spatial integration, high levels of decent employment and demographic transformation of our industrial assets.

However, it is important to note that the goal of a dynamic and sustainable growth need not be achieved at the expense of economic inclusion as the two are not mutually exclusive, but rather intertwined, as reflected by both the National Development Plan (NDP) and Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP).

The NDP outlines South Africa's Vision 2030 and seeks to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. It recognises the importance of improving the quality of economic management for the purposes of sustainability and impact on inclusion. To achieve a more dynamic growth trajectory, all South Africans must work together to carry out measures to create a united society and inclusive economy that is characterised by less inequality. This must be an economy that creates high levels of sustainable employment and equitable distribution of wealth produced.

The IPAP requires the country to pursue an industrial development path that is characterised by increased participation of previously marginalised citizens and regions of our country. This is an acknowledgement that if no special measures are put in place, the countries can possibly industrialise and become globally competitive, while at the same time deepening apartheid patterns of economic development and wealth distribution. The IPAP outlines specific measure to achieve a more dynamic and sustainable economic growth, which is a core goal of the NDP.

All these pillars place particular emphasis on the need to strengthen and increase black participation in the mainstream economy, which remains stubbornly concentrated in the white minority. The continued economic dominance of the white minority, as reflected through the patterns of ownership, management and control of strategic resources within the economy, systematically directs almost all economic opportunities and benefits away from the majority black population.

It is in the context of the above that the Black Industrialists Programme arises. It is a practical tool of achieving the demographic transformation of economic power and spatial concentration within the overall industrial strategy outlined in IPAP and the objectives of national development as articulated in the NDP.

Definition of Black Industrialists

In conventional terms, the concept of black industrialists refers to black people directly involved in the origination, creation, significant ownership, management and operation of industrial enterprises that derive value from the manufacturing of goods and services at a large scale; acting to unlock the productive potential of our country's capital assets for massive employment locally. The following are important elements of being an "industrialist":

  • Significant influence in an enterprise or industry;
  • Control of an enterprise through shareholding;
  • Board and executive management control; and
  • Production of products (goods and/or services) with significant wide use.

For the purposes of this programme, the term Black Industrialist will in a general sense refer to black South Africans who own and, through significant shareholding, control an enterprise whose products are significantly used and have significant impact on decent employment and create broad-based economic opportunities.

The term Black People is a generic term that includes people of African, Coloured and Asiatic origin that are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or naturalisation before 27 April 1994 or would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to 27 April 1994.

The term Economic Transformation is defined by the Strategy for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (the dti; 2003) as transition from an economy that confined wealth creation to a racial minority into one that benefits all citizens; and is characterised by ownership, management and control of factors of production by previously marginalised communities.

Black Industrialist Indaba 2015 and Concept Document