Hi there. My name is Sonnika.
I am a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl.
Oh, and did I mention that I am Afrikaans as well? And that I work in BEE?
Not your typical pairing! I have had many clients be surprised when “the BEE lady” shows up and it is me. I have been asked how I ended up working in BEE, sometimes with an admiring glance and sometimes, sadly, with a pitying glance.
One thing that people, black and white, like to ask a white girl working in BEE, is: “So, what do you really think about BEE?”
So where is all this BEE taking us?
The unemployment rate is defined as those people who are willing and able to work, looking for work, but cannot find work. In the third quarter of 2019 unemployment in South Africa hit an 11-year high – this means that 6.7 million people, or stated differently, 29% of the South African population, was looking for work, but could not find work. In terms of youth unemployment, we were looking at 58%. 58% of people between 15 and 34 cannot find jobs.
Take a moment to really think about that.
What are the effects of this on our country?
Just think of those high taxes you are paying. Wouldn’t it help if an additional 6.7 million people were helping to cover the costs here?
And what about your salary? Would you like an increase? People who do not work do not spend money – less money coming into our economy means a lower GDP – this has a knock-on effect into all industries, effectively leaving us with even fewer jobs, and lower salaries.
Oh, and then there is crime. Statistically, poorer areas where people do not work have a much higher crime rate. Wouldn’t we all love to decrease crime and feel safer in our own homes?
How about government debt? Unemployed people need to receive grants, which government needs to pay. With a decreased GDP. Where do they get the money? They borrow it of course! Taking much needed money away from areas that really need it and stifling economic growth once again.
This is just the tip of the iceberg people.
How do we create jobs, boost our economy and change our country?
We upskill people. We inject money and resources into growing businesses. We support our local enterprises. We diversify our shareholding and we give opportunities to people who deserve it. In short, we help each other. It won’t always be easy, or comfortable, but we will be better off for it. These people grow our economy – not only for themselves, for all of us. All of us benefit from a bigger and better economy.
“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” Aristotle
Over and above all of this, I can tell you that those companies that implement BEE with the above attitude of positive change for everyone, are the companies that excel in BEE. And not only do they score well on a verification certificate, but they are healthy companies with happy employees. Isn’t it amazing what a positive attitude can do?
So next time you’re in a meeting and that irritating guy, “BEE”, shows up, maybe just give him a chance. Maybe give him a warm smile and delve a bit deeper into who he really is. He might seem intimidating, he might seem strict, he might seem to work against the plan you had in mind for your business.
But actually, he’s just a nice guy, with good intentions, wanting to make our country a better place for everyone.
And maybe, if we all work with him, we can achieve his true goal.
Author – Sonnika van Wyk, 02 June 2020