Third draft of SA ICT empowerment charter released

The third draft of the ICT empowerment charter, including the much-anticipated targets for black economic empowerment (BEE) was released Monday. The third draft takes into account the full opinions of the ICT community, and is one of the ICT Working Group's (ITCWG) last steps towards the finalization of the charter, which is scheduled to be released next month.

The targets were divided into the following categories: direct empowerment, which consisted of equity ownership and management, which were given 20 percent and 10 percent respectively; human resource development and employment equity, which consists of employment equity and skills development, and which were given 10 percent and 20 percent respectively; and indirect empowerment, which was divided into preferential procurement, enterprise development and residual, which received 22 percent, 7 percent and 11 percent respectively.

The release is to be followed by one-day indaba at Vodaworld this Friday, to allow a final input on all issues from any possible players who may feel excluded or have a further contribution. Attendants will include representatives from around the country who attended the working group's series of workshops, mini-summits and "road shows".

The timing of the release purposefully allows participants to digest the information of BEE targets and other burning issues so that they can prepare for the indaba.

By publishing three updates of the ongoing process, the working group intended to allow for maximum participation and optimal transparency. The third draft reflects a clear strategic vision and well formulated policies, giving credence to the delay of the discussion of targets during the consultative process. Information gathered at the indaba will be assimilated before the final draft, allowing a window period of about ten days for final submissions.

The introduction of the ICT charter is a historical step to which the working group has committed itself from the beginning. "If the people of SA (South Africa) are to place their faith in the new charter, then we must ensure that they are included in its construction," says Dali Mpofu, chairman of the ITCWG.

"Our ongoing concern in formulating the final policy and the eventual implementation of the charter is to build a dialogue which will give the groups in society who are most at risk of exclusion and alienation, the chance to play a full role in shaping a technologically advanced SA," he continues.

"It is our view that the targets are generally achievable, although somewhat robust and forward looking. There are still a few loose ends to be tied up with some of the stakeholders, but we are finding each other with every day that passes," concludes Mpofu.

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