The evolution of black economic empowerment in South Africa : a case study of New Africa Investments Limited.
This thesis investigates the process of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in South Africa with specific focus on New Africa Investment Limited (Nail), a company that had a firm foothold in the media industry, between 1993 and 2003. Black Economic Empowerment has become the cornerstone of South Africa's transformation process. The initiative is a form of regulation through which the economic imbalances of apartheid can be corrected by economically empowering previously disadvantaged communities1• Over the years the concept of Black Economic Empowerment has become a heavily contested and debatable one, both in the economic and political realms. This study explores how and why these contestations arise. In doing it analyses the various positions advocated by government, black empowerment groups, social movements and other empowerment groups in South Africa. In addition, it examines the impact these conflicts have had on the economic equality the Black Economic Empowerment aims to achieve. New Africa Investment Limited has also been at the centre of ·controversy with the company's empowerment status being called into question by both the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and other empowerment groups. The nature and structure of NAIL is examined with a particular focus on the history from which the company emerged in order to assess whether NAIL fits into the model of a black empowerment company. The failure of BEE to reach its desired goals during the first years of its implementation has lead to some people calling for the withdrawal of the initiative completely. It is argued within this dissertation that one cannot dismiss the good intentions, with which the initiative was implemented, i.e. the empowerment of the historically disadvantaged people in South Africa. At the same time it is acknowledged that in practice the initiative did not achieve this goal. The BEE strategy needs to be integrated into the wider developmental strategy of South Africa. It needs to be broad-based, able to reach and change the lives of the poor black man on the street. Improving education, health care, and job creation should be placed first and foremost on the BEE agenda. The study is located within Vincent Mosco's (1996) political economy approach, which looks at the market as influenced, by the larger society and government. In addition it adopts a media economics approach, which deals with the economic relationships between media, producers, advertisers and society. This approach is useful because it explores issues pertaining to the markets and competition within which BEE is expected to occur.
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