Cape Town – The official opposition has rejected the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that 40% of government procurement contracts would be set aside for businesses owned by women.
“This is not a sincere effort to empower women, but rather yet another cynical attempt by the ANC to loot the state coffers even further,” DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said on Monday.
“South Africans must not be fooled. It is not ordinary women who will benefit from this announcement – only ANC cadres and those connected to them will get the contracts and kickbacks.
“The ANC does not care about women’s empowerment, they only care about their own pockets,” Mazzone said.
Delivering his Women’s Day message on Sunday, Ramaphosa said they were committed to a new social compact with the women informed by their collective commitment to gender equality.
He said the first action was to expand the access of women to economic opportunity.
“We will do this, among other things, by setting aside 40% of public procurement for women-owned businesses.
“We now expect national departments to monitor and report on how many women have participated in each public procurement process,” Ramaphosa said.
He also said the departments would have to develop clear plans on how they will broaden women’s participation over the next 12 months
But, Mazzone said the government procurement contracts should be awarded on merit, and merit alone.
“At a time of severe economic hardship and record unemployment, poor people need contracts to be awarded to those who deserve to get them, and not because one is connected to the corrupt ANC.”
She said broad based black economic empowerment and quotas of any kind have not helped poor people other than only enriched the ANC and its cadres.
“Our opposition to this blatant attempt at capturing every last rand of public money, is not an opposition to women’s empowerment – even though this is what the ANC would like citizens to believe.
“South Africans have been abused by this government for long enough to see that this is just BEE and a quota system in another form and only the ANC will benefit from it.”
Mazzone also said it was a disgrace that while there was a fight against a scourge of gender-based violence, the ANC was using “empowerment” as a smokescreen for yet more looting.
“We have seen the same modus operandi at the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), where the ANC has used the entity to loot and line the pockets of ANC Youth League cadres, under the guise of transformation and progression,” she added.