Friday, 5 August 2016

Economic Empowerment in Namibia - discussions on NEEEF

The Law Reform and Development Commission had a consultative meeting in Windhoek on 4th August 2016.
This is my contribution:
I am a previously disadvantaged person (PDP) as proposed under the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework in the current from of a draft bill. I qualify as such because I was defined as non-white by the apartheid regime. This was not a name I gave to myself.
Some white business leaders act as if this legislation is not needed because after 26 years there is no more discrimination. I say to you that white owned business had 26 years to address the imbalances themselves, BUT, because they have not done so, Government is forced to make laws to address these economic imbalances created by our apartheid past.
We cannot expect the new law to be voluntary. That has been the case for 26 years and look where that got us. We must make mandatory provisions for, -
a. 25% PDP ownership; and
b. 50% PDP Management
for all business having more than 25 employees and/or making a net profit of more than 1 million dollars.
Keep in mind, previously disadvantaged white male business owners: The system of apartheid gave white privilege and this has continued without any willingness for redress from your side.
The Constitution of this country recognised this in Article 23(2) "Nothing ... shall prevent Parliament from enacting legislation providing directly or indirectly for the advancement of persons within Namibia who have been socially, economically or educationally disadvantaged by past discriminatory laws or practices".
As we all know our constitution, you should remember you knew this for the past 26 years. Why did you not prepare yourselves voluntarily?
I am a PDP and want to participate in our economy together with you. Let us make the more money in our company and that will make both of us richer. I do not want to take away what you gained irregularly, but rather address past imbalances so we can both benefit from the opportunities in our country.
Note: if you company cannot find a buyer for 25% shares, make your employees be that PDP shareholder. You, and them, will make more money through employee profit sharing.