In an attempt to understand Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Affirmative Action in Namibia, reference will be made on South Africa, whose history resembles that of its neighbour in a number of ways. This is why it too needs a black economic empowerment (BEE) programme.
Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is a programme launched by the Namibian government to redress the inequalities of first the German settler colonial policies and subsequently South African Apartheid by giving previously disadvantaged groups economic opportunities previously not available to them. It includes measures such as Employment Equity, skills development, ownership, management, socio-economic development and preferential procurement.
With the advent of majority rule in 1990, control of big business in both the public and private sectors still rested primarily in the hands of white individuals. According to Statistics in Namibia, Whites comprise just under 10% of the population, meaning that a very small minority controlled most of the country’s economy. BEE intends to transform the economy to be representative of the demographic make-up of the country.
When apartheid was implemented in South Africa, the policy was extended to Namibia. The apartheid government turned the lapsed mandate into a military occupation, sparking a rebellion by the South West African People's Organisation (Swapo) in the 1960s. Namibia gained its independence in 1990 and Walvis Bay was transferred in 1994.
Clearly, Namibians faced the same economic inequality as South Africans, which explain why BEE policies are being investigated by the Swapo government. Companies in Namibia, specifically the multinationals, have taken a lead in BEE. For example, the Old Mutual group signed a BEE deal worth N$308 million (R308 million) with a broad-based group on behalf of its own operation, as well as Nedbank Namibia and Mutual & Federal Namibia. The transaction includes employees, strategic business partners, distributors,...