Proposal to replace BEE with system of vouchers

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) yesterday released a report making its case for the introduction of a new system to replace Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).

This follows a survey last year which showed that only 13% of black people benefited from employment equity‚ 14% from BEE ownership deals and 9% from BEE tenders.

The survey also found that only 15% of black people benefited from land reform‚ many of whom opted for cash payments rather than land.

Researcher Anthea Jeffery has recommended that BEE be replaced by the Economic Empowerment for the Disadvantaged (EED).

The system would focus on rapid economic growth and job creation by increasing access to education‚ housing and healthcare through taxfunded vouchers.

Under EED, businesses would earn points for their economic contributions to investment‚ employment‚ innovation and tax revenues.

“Some 80% of public schools are dysfunctional‚ while between 84% and 94% of public hospitals and clinics are unable to comply with basic healthcare standards,” she said.

“In the housing sphere ordinary people have long been urging the state to transfer its housing subsidy directly to households‚ saying they could build better homes themselves if they had access to the money.”

This is precisely what the EED’s voucher system will do.

Jeffrey recommends housing vouchers go to 10 million people between the ages of 25 and 35‚ who earn below R15 000 a month.

The voucher will be worth about R800 a month or R9 600 yearly. Individuals should receive this for a period of 10 years‚ during which they will have accumulated R100 000.

Education vouchers would empower parents to send their children to the schools of their choice.

Jeffrey also recommends that the National Health Insurance plan be abandoned and that healthcare vouchers be issued instead.

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