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Nafbi calls for building industry charter - 2003/02/03
BLACK economic empowerment is expected to get a real shot in the arm this year from government's imminent empowerment legislation, according to empowerment analysts.

The previous year saw a small number of black economic empowerment companies listing on the JSE Securities Exchange. These included Tokyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Resources and Patrice Motsepe's ARMGold.

This was coupled with a number of black-chip companies that decided to delist. Among these were Real Africa Investments and Kunene Technologies.

Real Africa Holdings is trading under cautionary with a possibility of delisting and Wiphold recently announced its intentions to delist as well.

Ernst & Young's corporate finance and advisory services associate director Ajay Lalu said yesterday he was optimistic that empowerment would pick up this year. He said that last year saw the cautious steps taken by many companies when entering into empowerment deals.

"The cautious stance was because everyone expected to hear what government's take would be on empowerment and then begin to act accordingly," he said.

Lalu said unfortunately government's position on black economic empowerment would be known only in the next few months. "Black businesses are now impatient to get things going in the empowerment front."

Lalu, who also deals with international clients, said there was a serious commitment from foreign firms to black economic empowerment. "They believe that the only way they would be able to contribute to SA's growth is by participating in black economic empowerment," he said.

Legae Securities' newly appointed CEO Heather Sonn said the challenge for empowerment from this year onwards was to make black economic empowerment meaningful.

"This means that where empowerment focused on ownership, these had to go further to the operational level," she said.

Empowerdex founder and chairman Vuyo Jack said the recent petroleum and fuels charter, together with the mining charter and the envisaged financial services charter, should see a great deal of empowerment activity in these sectors

He said another potential area of empowerment activity would be in asset management.

Jack said there was market expectation that the Public Investment Commission would be putting out tenders for private sector fund managers.

"Those involved in empowerment would take the advantage," said Jack.

AloeCap chief investment officer Attlee Masuku said the African National Congress' annual conference in Stellenbosch agreed unanimously that government had to move forward with black economic empowerment.

The national elections to be held next year could be influenced by the level of empowerment activity this year, he said