Draft ICT BEE Charter released

JOHANNESBURG (03/09/2004) - The first draft of the ICT Empowerment Charter was released by the ICT Empowerment Charter Working Group Tuesday. Working group chair, Dali Mpofu, emphasized at the launch announcement that the draft is very much a discussion document, and that it raises more questions than it answers.

Says Mpofu: "Clearly the prime objectives include the enabling of meaningful participation by black people in the ICT sector, achieving a substantial change in the racial composition of ownership, management and control, as well as in the skilled and specialist positions inside companies.

However, this charter is not just about rules and regulations, there are clear needs and issues that must be addressed, such as developing the right skills, managerial as well as technical."

The charter seeks to redress, amongst other things, the issues of fronting, window-dressing, and inadequate participation of business in the sector education and training authorities, Mpofu adds.

He highlights that the document is a "living document", and says that even after the charter is launched and gazetted, the working group aims to make provision for annual reviews of the charter to ensure that it remains relevant.

A series of provincial roadshows is scheduled to take place over the next two months, commencing in East London and Port Elizabeth on March 15, in order to "give the provinces the opportunity to hear at first hand the ideas in and behind the draft charter," Mpofu announces. "A team composed of working group members will present the charter and facilitate discussion, with the objective of providing input to the final version. To that extent, the working group draft should serve to tease out fresh ideas."

Mpofu says that input will be gathered from the roadshows, industry bodies and other stakeholders, and that an updated document, including this feedback, will be published on a monthly basis between now and June. The final version of the charter is expected to be launched on June 25, the anniversary of the first announcement of the charter, Mpofu says.

The draft charter includes a BEE scorecard, which Mpofu says deliberately excludes target figures, as the working group is hoping to encourage debate around the principles of the charter, and not contention around the proposed targets.

The document is available for download at http://www.ictcharter.org.za.

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