[8th ILO SSE Academy]: South Africa's economic structure and its relevance with social and solidarity economy

SSE Organisation
Social Finance / Impact Measurement
Governance / Eco-system
Social Service / Employment

Presented at: 8th ILO SSE Academy

Organisation: Seoul National University

Date: June 28, 2017

Presenter: Ms. Kerryn Kridge (GIBS)


Kerryn Krige explained how indigenous people have been trying to recover their economic power in the middle of a white-centric economic structure in South Africa and how social enterprises can play a role in enhancing inclusiveness of economic structure.

In South Africa, there is ‘BBBEE CODEs’, policies of affirmative action, aimed black people’s inclusivity into the white-centred economy. The 'Broad-Based Black Economy Empowerment' is a system that is the foundation of the South African economy promotion policy for indigenous. The purpose of these codes is to promote structural change in the South African economy by providing indigenous people with opportunities to actively participate in economic activities.                                         

The code is a framework for change and funding, especially for social enterprises that are initiated by indigenous people who have difficulty in attracting funding and accessing markets. BBBEE offers social enterprises in accessing unspent funding (such as dormant accounts) and markets.

Besides, the public procurement of the state must be equitable, fair, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. At the same time, one of the objectives of public procurement is to bridge the gap between big and small businesses by guaranteeing a certain share for the SEs.

However, the proportion of SEs in procurement is small and remains in the grey area, yet. This is because public bidding ought to put a low-cost in priority due to many regulations. Therefore, small and medium-sized enterprise, especially SEs, cannot win in competition with large corporations in South Africa.

In South Africa, SEs are in complicated situations, because there is no legal definition of social enterprises. Neither is there sufficient access to research and markets. Nevertheless, important steps have been taken between the government and SEs. For example, the current provisional government had ordered that the delivery of food service from SEs, and this case could be a great model for the partnership between the government and SEs. This case shows that the government is listening, and South Africa has to leverage a new efforts of reforming its legal structures and keep communicating with different stakeholders.