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New era of SA black economic empowerment

New BMF MD Themba Dlamini calls for mass economic participation.

JOHANNESBURG (MINEWEB) – The new managing director of the Black Management Forum, Themba Dlamini, is gearing up to usher in a new era of Black Economic Empowerment with the mining sector as a focal point.

Dlamini, who is the outgoing CEO of the National Gambling Board with more than 15 years’ experience in the public sector, will assume his mantle of managing director on 1 April 2014.

Although his new role will be based on the constitutional mandate of the BMF, Dlamini says the core focus of his tenure will be to deal with the imbalances that are causing strain in black people’s participation in the South African Economy.

Before joining the NGB, Dlamini was CEO of the Independent Communications Authority of SA, and according to a recent statement from the BMF, the new appointment will result in the forum having an ability “to build on its existing strengths and develop new directions that will ensure the continuance of [the] organisation’s mandate of developing managerial skills”, according to the organisation.

In an exclusive interview with Moneyweb on Thursday, Dlamini reveals that one of his core aims will be to assess weaknesses within BMF goals and also come up with mechanisms to deal with issues that hinder empowerment, particularly on the mining front which, according to Dlamini, are dogged by legislative issues.

His view is that legislation should be utilised in a way that encourages mass participation in the economy and the mining sector and that a middle ground must be found so that more people benefit. Skills development is crucial especially in mining where the biggest cause of conflict is workers who feel left out as a result of the imbalance when it comes to implementing BEE.

“When looking at mining and the violence that is going on, you need to ask yourself are these people getting a piece of the pie?” Dlamini asks. “The conflict is a result of imbalance of wealth is distributed to BEE beneficiaries in the sector. We have a militant labour structure and we need to make it a part of the economy instead of focusing on ideological differences. The unions will always experience difficulties because the economy and the sector is only benefiting a few capitalists.”

Dlamini firmly believes in the need to reshape thinking when dealing with BEE in order to achieve effective transformation. Commenting on the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill that was passed into law last week, Dlamini believes that the act could work if all stakeholders involved ensured that transformation took place.

The new act will see the state acquire a 20 percent stake in all new mining ventures and up to 80 percent in oil and gas ventures. The Chamber of Mines has come out in support of the bill.

According to Dlamini, what this means is that all parties need to commit to ensure that the challenges associated with mining are overcome.

“It is too early to say it will work or not but there needs to be commitment,” he says.

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