Summit Opts to Resurrect Black Business Council in South Africa

The decision taken at South Africa’s Black Business Summit to revive the Black Business Council (BBC) to represent the voice of organised black business has been welcomed by analysts.

Ajay Lalu, the managing director of Black Lite Consulting, said black business needed to have a unified voice.

“What is also required, is that the voice of black business be adequately resourced so that it is not a part-time, after-hours situation and talks with the adequate authority after commissioning research and analysis, just like established white business does,” he said.

Duma Gqubule, a founding member of KIO Advisory Services, said the decision to resuscitate the BBC showed that the same problems that existed years ago had not disappeared.

“Nothing has changed from seven years ago. They must go back and change those things now,” he said.

Xolani Qubeka, a spokesman for the summit, said yesterday that it was expected that a letter would be sent to Business Unity SA (Busa) by the BBC steering committee, requesting an urgent meeting to report on the outcomes of the summit and put the conference’s demands on the table.

Busa said it was keen to engage with the BBC task team on issues raised at the summit.

It said the urgent need to examine ways that black business could be strengthened and improved in Busa mandates was clearly a top priority for all concerned. “A specific evaluation to this end has been under way in Busa for some time, but now needs to be widened and deepened,” the organisation said.

Busa said it supported the call at the summit by President Jacob Zuma to preserve business unity and that the Busa leadership was deeply committed to this goal, built on a platform informed by sound principles and good governance.

“Busa believes that this is the constructive basis on which future discussions should be based,” it said.

The summit said the BBC would ensure unity in black business first and foremost.

The council was collapsed into Busa in 2003, together with its white counterpart, Business South Africa (BSA), to give effect to business unity.

The revival of the BBC, an umbrella body for black business organisations, sees mining magnate Patrice Motsepe at its helm again. He was the first president of Busa at the merger of the BBC and BSA.

The merger of the BBC and BSA faced strong opposition from the constituencies of both organisations, but was encouraged by the government.

Those in the BBC who were opposed to the move had said that given the resources and structural weaknesses of the black business body, one could not talk of a merger but rather of a takeover. Some elements within the BSA had said that the BBC was still finding its feet and was not ready to enter into a formal, structured alliance with the BSA