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Business & Technology
Mar 1 2012 4:58PM
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Bernard Sathekge

The revamped Black Business Council (BBC) is set to be officially launched on Wednesday in what promises to be a hot-blooded affair, as the BBC carves a more radical political path.

Following six months of formation, the BBC unveiled during the past weekend a leadership that looks set to toe a hard line in positioning the organisation as a force to be reckoned with.

The new leadership, which features prominent businessman Ndaba Ntsele as president, wasted no time in asserting itself, mainly in relation to the terms of engagements with the country's supposedly super business lobby entity, Business Unity South Africa (Busa).

Ntsele and his comrades were spitting fire on Saturday in Sandton. "When Busa was formed, there were an equal number of both black and white business organisations," said Ntsele. He said the idea of Busa was to create an equitable platform of engagement and the BBC was not compromising on this.

"It is clear to us from the numerous meetings we have had with the current leadership of Busa and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) that they do not believe in the principle of equality. White business currently dominates and controls Busa through organs like BLSA."

The fuming Ntsele said BLSA had elected blacks into leadership positions who were prepared to be used to maintain white domination and control of Busa, and the general business environment.

Ntsele said the BBC would be consulting with member organisations and other stakeholders, including government, concerning the way forward. The BBC remained committed to the unity of black and white business, but the terms must be fair and equitable.

Organised black business walked out of Busa last year after concerns that their voice and interests were trampled over by established, historically white entities.

This walk out triggered the reestablishment of BBC, which was disbanded in 2003 when black business and historically white establishments entered into the Busa marriage.

In toeing a hard line stance, Ntsele and his board seemed to be pulling away from the reconciliatory tone set by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who led the interim structure of the BBC for a few months.

Ntsele is a successful businessman in his own right. He is largely associated with Pamodzi Investment Holdings, which has roots going back to the late 1970s.

Sources said Ntsele's strong personality and the respect he commanded in business circles won him the BBC presidency.

But Ntsele's stance on Busa seems soft when compared to those expressed by BBC's first vice-president, Lawrence Mavundla.

Then president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) he declared Busa dead: "In reality Busa is completely dead. It does no longer exist because all black organisations terminated their memberships."

Mavundla said the remaining members should not be allowed to use the name of Busa. "Actually the name is currently illegally trading, considering the fact that there no more blacks involved."

Mavundla called on government to "stop engaging and consulting with Busa for business-related issues of the country" until the unity issues are settled. BBC's second vice-president is Thembakazi Mnyaka who was the deputy president of the Black Management Forum (BMF).

It is well known that Mnyaka walked away from Busa and then campaigned for the rest of black business to follow.

BBC elected another firebrand Sandile Zungu as its general secretary. This high-profile businessman has always been on the side of the hardliners.

After the BMF walked out, Zungu terminated his association with BUSA.

On Saturday he said the new BBC had comes to change the gears of the transformation debate and trend.

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