Tag Archive | Dr Rob Davies

DTI does flip flop on BEE codes

B-BBEE codes changed on “management control”…

Rob+DaviesA  lack of understanding of the effect of B-BBEE Codes on business and the industrial environment, despite a workshop on the subject, was demonstrated when the department of trade and industry (DTI) amended its own amendment in a matter of days on the point scoring issue in terms of broad- based employment share ownership schemes.

More emphasis has been placed in the Codes generally on procurement from black business, now referred to as “supplier development”.

As you were…

However, the minister of trade and industry, Dr Rob Davies, confirmed in a statement that the second amendment corrected the changes as far as employment schemes were concerned and any such changes would not be retrospective on deals already done, such earlier deals continuing to reap the same benefits under B-BBEE Code pointing as before.

Control is everything

Minister Davies said that DTI still had a think tank operating on how further to make BEE in generalplan BEE more effective insofar as pressure on business was concerned to effectively ensure that management, control and ownership by black persons was increased.  His task team appointed would report back by the end of the month. He repeated this in his budget vote speech.

DTI completely avoided established government procedure by issuing an “explanatory notice” to a gazetted publication on B-BBEE procedures by announcing a completely new aspect on the rules on B-BBEE award-pointing, in this case termed as “amending guidelines”, thus avoiding the issue of public comment.

Most worrying was the fact that minister Rob Davies failed to make any reference to this in his earlier introduction to DTI’s strategic plan to Parliament a week before, subsequently presented to the portfolio committee on trade and industry by DG Lionel October and then to the select committee on economic affairs in the NCOP.

Forgot the union movement

Just as as business leaders were, so was the trade union movement, many of whose members are part of share employment schemes, options or not, and are therefore touched on the issue of reduced profit and dividends.

As far as not mentioning this in a budget vote speech, which was an excellent opportunity to inform business, there is fine line, say opposition members, between failure to disclose to Parliament and avoiding a contentious disclosure to Parliament that that might compromise a negotiation but in this particular case of changes to B-BBEE, the matter  appears to have only involved some members of cabinet and certainly none of the large spectrum of stakeholders involved. It all came as a big surprise.

The minister has published two further notices on the amended B-BBEE Codes regarding the second phase now implemented. The Chamber of Mines was yet another body caught by complete surprise, thinking that their relationships, in this case the minister of mineral resources, were far better than they actually now seem to be. There seemed to be a vacuum in communications.

DTI has now reported to Parliament on subject

To the rescue...

To the rescue…

DTI, in the form of DG Lionel October, has since reported to Parliament on the subject of the amended B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and explained that Minister Davies had admitted that DTI had taken the wrong route with all good intention “to take a narrower view on black management control” but now had apologised for the descision, now reversed, on this aspect of the pointing system. All is reversed, retrospectively as well.

A full report is with our clients with further comments by DTI on the Codes and their application as revised “after the event”.     This analysis of DTI’s presentation will be archived to this website in the course of time.

In the meanwhile, we note that there is useful extra-parliamentary political comment on http://www.polity.org.za/article/da-geordin-hill-lewis-calls-for-debate-in-parliament-over-elitist-bee-codes-2015-05-08

Other articles in this category or as background on this website
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/bee/dti-earns-ire-parliament-bee/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/bee/liquid-fuels-industry-short-transformation/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/bee/one-year-implement-b-bbee-codes/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/bee/b-bbee-codes-of-good-practice-far-onerous/

Posted in BEE, Earlier Stories, Facebook and Twitter, Finance, economic, Labour, LinkedIn, Trade & Industry0 Comments

South Africa’s IP policy still hidden away

Drug impasse on IP (intellectual property) rights……

patents graphicThe simplistic public platform which is pervading the pharmaceutical debate on the long awaited IP policy – that persistent argument that  South Africa could be a ‘rogue’ state with scant regard for property rights – is constantly coupled with the call by local and international activists for drugs which are affordable to poorer families.

All has been re-heated considerably by protests in Pretoria but nothing has yet reached Parliament in the form of a serious proposal on IP that can be considered by pharmaceutical companies in order to bring certainty.

What now seems to be the situation is that both manufacturers and activists are calling for a fair and legally correct policy document on intellectual property rights which gives certainty but nothing is forthcoming.   At the same time, the claim was made in Parliament some time ago that South Africa just “rubber stamps” patent applications at a vast rate, only 1% going to local innovators.

And yet all know the incredible cost to find a successful HIV/AIDS vaccine. These costs must be recoverable, say pharmaceuticals, or innovation and research will stop. South Africa, like so many countries, is about to step into the unknown.

Problem not with CIPC

According to CIPC the questions of registration of patents is proceeding with new vigour but complainants make the point that no actual testing takes place. Ms Astrid Ludin, current CEO and IT guru was not in Parliament to make any presentations on the specific subject of IP and who remains “on suspension” it appears for some transgression on awarding contracts.

Ludin has an excellent reputation with DTI and in all probability she just wanted to get a job done, at high speed and quickly chose what she thought was the best thing to do. Unfortunately, that is not how red tape works.

Most critical : Invention or intervention?

It appeared some time ago that stakeholders were past the endless argument that South Africa wouldmedicines, pills make the market place unsustainable for pharmaceutical companies with important and much needed drugs if there is disregard for patents lodged after years of painstaking research. But this once again re-emerging.

Over 100 submissions, it is rumoured, were made on the original Policy IP document when it was first submitted for comment, so one assumes that Dr Rob Davies has a fair assessment on how stakeholders are feeling… but his department still refusing to tackle the issue, it appears.

Keeping the same show running

Meanwhile, activists have re-opened their claims that “tweaking” of an expired but well established drug takes place and new patent periods sought for twenty years on the same item, which cuts out the possibility of cheaper generics and innovation. Facts presented at recent conferences on the subject have also re-awakened the premise that South Africa is paying more than most developing countries for drugs.

The background of the delay is provided by a divisive scenario between two government departments – health and trade and industry – the latter department being responsible for the production of the new intellectual property policy stating South Africa’s position.

Too many pokers in fire perhaps

medicine bottleDespite the minister of trade and industry (DTI), Dr Rob Davies, trying to calm waters with the “going nowhere” statement of “We are moving in a direction in striking a balance between innovation, affordable medicines and to modernise our IP regime”, South Africa’s new intellectual policy (IP) policy seems to be sticking at cabinet level.

It is difficult to disregard the much earlier scandal involving the rumoured attempt by a Washington-based PR company to delay and modify the draft IP Policy, a move which infuriated both the minister and the department of health. The anger of minister of health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, was patently obvious at the time and there is no doubt that a sour taste in the mouth is left with many in that department.

Has to come to a head

medicines sans frontWith Treatment Action Campaign and Médecins Sans Frontières ratcheting up their campaigns – the latter specifically naming Pfizer on TB drugs that cost R10 in India and R600 in SA – and DTI’s minister Davies at present in the USA arguing on GAT agreements, the much needed IP policy will probably remain on the backburner for a short while longer.

Two things will happen eventually. Either the government publishes a gazette calling for comment on yet a further draft IP policy or an ATC notice is issued by Parliament announcing its tabling as a paper for debate.

Either way, minister Davies is likely to call a media briefing first.

Other articles in this category or as background
Intellectual property law still in limbo – ParlyReportSA
Intellectual Property Laws Bill goes forward – ParlyReportSA
Medical and food intellectual property tackled – ParlyReportSA
Medicines Bill: focus on foodstuffs – ParlyReportSA

Posted in Facebook and Twitter, Health, Justice, constitutional, LinkedIn, Special Recent Posts, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Minister Davies continues with IPAP 6

 IPAP equals “smart” industry…

The minister of trade and industry, Dr Rob Davies, before the elections, published his further Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) with a theme of “smart re-industrialisation” taking South Africa to 2017.  He now returns to the same cabinet post to implement his proposals.

His department, DTI, talks in the document of integration of the region with both SADC countries and the continent as a whole, giving emphasis in SA on manufacturing rather than relying on commodity exports.

In presenting the plan, Minister Davies said the objective was to grow the economy; enhance manufacturing; and tackle poverty alleviation.    He said the new IPAP was aimed at the revitalisation of industry, with focus on competitiveness and the “labour-absorbing capacity of the manufacturing sector – especially in the traditional and non-traditional tradable and value-adding sectors of the economy.”

Tough times ahead

He warned that “ahead lay a tough, incremental process, during which there will be advances and setbacks” but he believed in the last five years the department of trade and industry (DTI) had placed the manufacturing sector in a much stronger position than before to take advantage of “emerging positive factors on the local economic scene”.
The minister said the latest IPAP has a guiding mission, which is to take South Africa’s potential for industrial growth to “greater intensity”; firstly with the infrastructure spend of R840bn over the next three years and also with localisation focusing on government procurement to support local manufacturing.    He called on all business and industry to support this process.

He named beneficiation as an important “driver” of the latest IPAP, moving away from dependency on export of primary commodities and developing its “enormous resource endowment by developing strategic partnerships in the burgeoning regional oil and gas economy.”     He said this would be a game changer.

Moving into Africa

As far as regional integration was concerned, Minister Davies said the new IPAP saw a move from primary and semi-processed products exported outside the continent, to the building of regional markets for a growing domestic manufacturing base and the manufacture of competitive products for global export.

To this end, he said, there had to be “accelerated development of a free trade area linking SADC in Central Africa with COMESA in the East.”

Minister Davies laid great stress on the need for the development of strong economic incentives for competitiveness, involving concessional industrial financing and mechanisms that promoted upgrading.    He said he saw the new Special Economic Zone (SEZ) incentives, building on the previous IDZs system, as a priority.

Customs catch up

Collective action by state institutions against the “illicit economy” – especially illegal imports – must be the subject of greater focus and action by government and DTI will continue to emphasize this, he said.

The minister continued, “We came into office in 2009 having lost a million jobs, 200 000 of those in manufacturing . . . and I think if we had not done what we have done, we would have been sitting here and talking seriously about the loss of industries across the board in this country.”

He added, “We have far too few black industrialists . . . and far too many people who are looking to go into business who are generalists; who are looking to any contracts coming from government and then subcontracting that to somebody else.”

The desire now, he said, supported by amendments to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and the associated codes, was to develop “deeper entrepreneurship” in the productive sectors of the economy.

Getting going

“This IPAP must belong to all of us”, minister Davies said, “from departments of state to the state utilities; from industry stakeholders and associations to organised labour and the academia”.    He concluded there was much to do in the next three years and “there was no room for complacency”.

He now returns in the new government to do just this.

Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/ipap-focuses-on-jobs-to-beat-current-economic-problems/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/get-sadc-free-trade-agreement-right-first-davies-warns/

Posted in Facebook and Twitter, Finance, economic, Labour, LinkedIn, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Special Recent Posts, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments

New SA cabinet

Who for cabinet?…

NAAfter a week of intense speculation, with the swearing in of Members of Parliament, the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the re-election of Jacob Zuma as President, followed by a gala inauguration process at Union Buildings, the political and financial world held its breath until the moment arose when the composition of the cabinet was announced over the weekend.

Also in the week previous, the first seating of the National Assembly marked noticeable changes in the hierarchy of the new governing alliance party. Strategic seating arrangements displayed the fact that Cyril Ramaphosa took the conspicuous seat allocated for the Deputy President.  In this sense, the mould was cast for a new period in South Africa’s political history at that point.

Ramphosa ZumaSince his defeat by Thabo Mbeki for status in the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, chairman of the Student Christian Movement, former secretary-general of the ANC and first secretary National Union of Mineworkers, was deeply involved in the negotiations that led to Nelson Mandela’s release. His involvement with South Africa’s political development is extensive.  He will now bring to cabinet decisions his twenty years of business experience gained whilst remaining as a political heavyweight in waiting.

Old faces

When the seating in Parliament took place, it appeared at the time that the incumbent minister of trade and industry seemed to haveRob+Davies maintained his influence within the ANC caucus and so it was to be.

tito mboweniWith the status-quo being to some extent maintained, one would therefore not expect any major changes or shifts in terms of policy, regulations and government position of matters related to business, the economy and international relations. The “behind the scenes” withdrawal of Tito Mboweni from parliamentary lists was significant since it had been clearly rumoured that he was tipped for the position of finance minister.

If the election of Baleka Mbete as Speaker and the massive influx of ANC cadres from Luthuli House to the National Assembly areMbete,Baleka swornin anything to go by, we can expect a more controlled environment in Parliament, particularly in the light of a reduced majority and the presence of the EEF.   Such tighter control will be evidenced in the nominations of chairpersons to the various Portfolio Committees.

Also in the past week, National Council of Provinces held its first seating. Unlike the National Assembly, 80% of the members of the NCOP are new to the House. Although this House does not particularly influence national, international and economic trends, one might expect significant changes in terms of committee positions on important issues.

Thandi Modise, former premier of the North West was elected chairperson of the NCOP and who is noted for her open-mindedness and approachability.

 The final choice

neneFinally, in a major cabinet reshuffle, President Zuma, announced his choice of ministers. To the surprise of most. he promoted deputy finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to finance minister, replacing minister Pravin Gordhan. Whether minister Nene was groomed for the position or minister Gordhan, who goes to governance and traditional affairs, is needed to sort out the finances and delivery disciplines in local government, remains to be seen. The appointments are nevertheless surprising.

The size of the cabinet apparently is not an issue with either the President or the ANC Alliance.    Clearly, the issues wracking the allianceanclogo are as important as economic issues and time will tell if the appointments are a consolidation of power or a compromise.

President Zuma also confirmed businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his Deputy President. Considering Ramaphosa’s background and position, his appointment is expected to be welcomed by investors and the private sector.   As we speculated, Rob Davies is to maintain his position as minister of trade and industry, providing some continuity for the business world despite the fact that sparks never seem to fly in this area. However, DTI can be said to have had some success.

Mining and police

Mining minister, Susan Shabangu, who had been criticised for her handling of the strike in the platinum mines now in its fifth month, wasNgoako Ramatlhodi replaced by Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a former deputy minister in the prison service. Minister Shabangu goes to the new ministry of women, part of the Presidency.

radebeThe National Planning Commission and the ministry of performance, monitoring and evaluation have been merged and will be headed by former Justice Minister, Jeff Radebe, thus becoming part of the triad with the President and Deputy President. The total shake up of the security cluster, mining and energy portfolios could be set to have an significant impact on the five month strike in the platinum belt.

Left of centre

Mzwandile Masina has been appointed deputy minister of trade and industry. If there are to be “radical changes”, as President Zuma Mzwandile Masinaanticipated, this is where changes in B-BBEE might occur. Masina was formerly the national convenor of the ANC Youth League and was recently at the centre of a controversy when referring to NUMSA General Secretary, Irvin Jim, he used bad language.

Should Masina have any hold on policy and regulation, one could witness a significant shift in policy to the left, bearing in mind minister Rob Davies is a member of the SACP.

Electric shock

tina-joemattThe new minister of energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, emerging from her fisheries complications and other difficult personal issues under investigation, will have her work cut out to get a grip on the energy picture and will have to rely, hopefully, on the many experts in the department of energy. This is before tackling the complicated issues facing the country in such areas as Eskom sustainability, the petroleum and fuels strategy and ISMO.

The new deputy minister of finance is Mcebisi Jonas, former MEC for economic development and environmental affairs of the Eastern Cape provincial government during which time it could be said that the Eastern Cape did not benefit from his term of office.
This is a disappointing appointment.

Madala Masusku, former Mpumalanga MEC for finance, is another provincial MEC who has made cabinet as deputy minister of economic development in a key position without too much experience.

Mr Policeman

Nkosinathi-NhlekoChief whip of the ANC, Nkosinathi Nhleko, previously deputy minister of labour, seems to have been rewarded for caucusing legislation through at the last minute in Parliament at the close of the fourth Parliament and becomes minister of police, whilst incumbent Nathi Mthethwa slips down to minister Paul Matashile’s position, Pallo Jordan’s old post, at arts and culture, Matashile disappearing from the hierarchy it appears, as did Jordan as well.

Also disappearing is Marthinus van Schalkwyk, whose ministry of tourism goes to Derek Hanekom, moving from the ministry of sciencehanekom and technology.

oliphantOn the labour front, experienced Mildred Oliphant stays where she is and continues to implement the four new labour laws thus providing some sort of continuity.

With so many changes, continuity in the short term is the issue.

Start up time

There is clearly going to be a time gap with so many shuffles and structural changes and it might be months before the whole impetus of the fifth government of South Africa gains traction to deal with the economic and delivery problems facing South Africa.

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Medical and food intellectual property tackled

Medicine, food and education all affected….

patientA National Policy on Intellectual Property document has been published by the minister of trade and industry for broader public comment, cabinet approval having been already been obtained. The document is described as being very much a draft.

According to the policy’s objectives, it aims “to improve access to intellectual property-based essential goods and services, particularly education, health and food” and “introduce a public health perspective into intellectual property laws”.

Multitude of intellectual property issues

The document  is also meant to inform legislative bodies on a multitude of intellectual property-related legislation matters, according to Macdonald Netshitenzhe, chief director of policy and legislation at the department of trade and industry (DTI), who has been responsible for the proposals.

In the background to the Bill, it states that the policies proposed are “meant to co-ordinate and streamline intellectual property legislation within South Africa.”

A 30-day public comment period on the policy closed on October 4 and Netshitenzhe says that the policy is meant to be a framework for discussion on intellectual property legislation within South Africa. He is clearly expecting dissenting views, which he says are welcomed.

A number of highly critical legal dissertations have already appeared on the web. One of the principal suggestions of the new proposals is to tighten up on patent criteria in order to avoid the granting of combinations of previously existing drugs, or finding a new uses for a medicines already on the market.

Patent application procedure changes

The policy also suggests allowing for patents to be opposed before and after they are granted. Currently in South Africa, patents can only be fought through a court challenge, and only after a patent has been granted.

Most notably, the policy also recommends a patent examination system. Currently, South Africa hosts a patent depository system, through which patents are granted so long as paperwork is submitted and fees paid, without the substance of the patent application being considered.

Médecins Sans Frontières, who are known to have been in contact with DTI on the policy matters, will be submitting comments, and, as Netshitenzhe explains, once the public comment period concludes, the amended document, including those comments, will be brought to Cabinet who may suggest further changes before giving its approval.

DTI says a final policy will only vetted by Parliament probably in the first portion of next year.
Refer to articles in this category
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/carbon-tax-comes-under-attack-from-eskom-sasol-eiug/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/new-air-quality-act-to-deal-with-major-polluters/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/eskom-warns-on-costs-of-new-air-quality-rules/

Posted in Earlier Stories, Facebook and Twitter, Health, Justice, constitutional, LinkedIn, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

BEE Bill to stop fronting tabled in Parliament

Fronting control not passive participation is aim…..

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published a notice stating that it has tabled a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Bill before Parliament, the eradication of “fronting” being perceived as one of the main objectives of the proposals.

In a statement released at the time, the amendments seek amongst other things to establish a B-BBEE commission “to deal with compliance” in respect of B-BBEE-related legislation and  strengthen compliance-related monitoring and evaluation and providing for offences and a maximum penalty.

On the issue of fronting, DTI have referred to in a number of documents issued by the department, although by now suggesting criminalization of the issue a clearer legal definition is going to have to be found, commentators have noted. DTI in the past has said that any process of black participation in business must result in an increase in the ownership and control of the economy by black persons.

The BEE  scorecard currently being used by business gives points for direct empowerment which focuses on black ownership of enterprises and assets through shares and other instruments that provide the holder thereof with voting rights and economic benefits, such as dividends or interest payments.

Control means, according to DTI in their BEE statements, the right or the ability to direct or otherwise control the majority of the votes attaching to the shareholder’s issued shares; to appoint or remove directors holding a majority of voting rights at meetings of the board of directors of that shareholder and the right to control the management of that shareholder.

DTI has been particularly vocal on the subject that passive ownership by black people is in itself not sufficient to bring about “transformation” or where investors have very little control over the direction of investment decisions made by fund managers. Such passive ownership of enterprises can also lead to a form of ‘fronting’ “and this needs to be guarded against”, says DTI.

Minister of trade and industry, Dr Rob Davies, has referred to this matter and further consequences of the new Bill in a number of DTI press statements recently and conferences he has addressed.

The Bill also contains more regulations to control B-BBEE verification agencies involving an independent regulatory board of auditors is also part of the minister’s proposals contained in the Bill and the provision or creation of incentive schemes to support black-owned business. The Bill is notable in that it follows the BEE scorecard principle of specifically defining a “black person” as Africa, Coloured or Indian.

A draft bill was published for comment and no doubt the portfolio committee on trade and industry will announce public hearings before the committee in the new parliamentary session of 2013. The Bill as tabled is available on the DTI website.

Posted in BEE, Cabinet,Presidential, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Trade & Industry0 Comments

DTI tables two Co-operative Bills for its co-op strategy in SA

As part of a strategy to create an enabling environment for autonomous co-operatives in South Africa, the department of trade and industry (DTI) has two Bills before Parliament, both Co-operative Amendment Bills changing the original anchor legislation and both containing interventions that will, in DTI’s view, create nationwide access to the co-operative movement.

Public hearings in Parliament are now taking place in Parliament.

The first Bill is to “enhance the development character of existing legislation and reduce the regulatory burden for co-operatives” and the second Bill applies mainly to the provincial application of the initiatives.

Minister of trade & industry, Dr Rob Davies, said in a prepared statement at a co-operatives conference in Bloemfontein in early July, “The new bill will result, amongst others, in the establishment of the Co-operatives Development Agency which will become a one-stop shop for both financial and non-financial support tailor-made for co-operatives, including administration of incentives, provision of training and improvement of working conditions in the cooperatives sector.”

“The bill also provides for the setting up of a Co-operatives Tribunal and Co-operatives Advisory Council,” said Davies. He emphasised that the proposed institutions were aimed at assisting the government to reduce the mortality rate amongst co-operatives and ensure their sustainability.

These will ensure that “co-operatives take their rightful place and contribute effectively to the country’s economy as they have the capacity to create jobs and eradicate poverty.” Minister Davies also appealed to the private sector and government to seriously consider procuring goods and services from co-operatives, thereby forming a strong symbiotic relationship.

DTI said the areas of amended legislation mainly covered the fact it has been decided that every co-operative must have a reserve fund in its constitution decided by members unless such reserve is already 5% or more of net assets and that voting rights for co-operatives registered after 2005 are subject to a 15% proportional system.

Re-definitions are proposed of who may join together to forms a co-operative; name reservation by registration is proposed with the condition that the words “co-op” as part of the name; the name concluded by “Limited” or “Ltd” and a more democratic approach that was previously allowed for is adopted on the appointment of directors. Their tenure in office is also outlined.

DTI in a subsequent statement said that they had tabled the Bills in the belief that the cost of compliance of smaller co-operatives was too high and that a co-operatives tribunal was necessary to ensure compliance with legislative requirements; to assist with judicial management and conflict resolution.

The Co-operative Agency that would be established by DTI will be a state function to assist with the development of co-operatives. The original act was promulgated in 2007 and two years later provincial workshops were established by DTI on preparation for amendments to the Bill to make the concept more workable.

NEDLAC concluded its views on the draft Bills in 2011, which were approved by cabinet in March of this year. A regulatory impact assessment has also been concluded by DTI on both Bills, particularly bearing in mind the effect that both Bills will have on communities insofar as compliance, co-ordination, administration and sustainability is concerned.

 

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Finance, economic, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments


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