“It [BEE] is not a real thing because it takes away the self-initiative needed from young and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who must wake up and want to do the things themselves,” he said at the sixth birthday celebrations of Maponya Mall in Soweto on Friday,” Sowetan newspaper reported.

He said BEE was a good idea in principle, but in practice it did not always work.

“I really blame our government for the economic situation because we are nearly 20 years into our new dispensation but we have not come up with a bank that would give people a risk fund.”

He also said black and white businesses needed to unite, but added that white business people and foreigners should not be allowed to dominate business in townships.

“Soweto has suddenly become a place where white business people want to do business, when small entrepreneurs of the area should be given an opportunity to own business here,” said Maponya.

It’s not the first time Maponya has slammed BEE. In an interview with Business Day last year, Maponya said BEE had promoted a culture of entitlement and expectations, which discouraged matriculants and university graduates from starting their own businesses.

“BEE was created to empower the majority of our people, unfortunately it was abused and misused so that it empowered the few who were connected.”

Maponya (87) was born and raised in Limpopo. He studied teaching, but later worked as an administration clerk. He first foray into business was a grocery store in Soweto. In 2007, he opened Maponya mall, which is one of the biggest malls in South Africa. He is also one of the founders of National African Federated Chamber of Commerce.

Sources: Sapa, History online, Business Day