Africa Inc. is a South African business magazine programme produced and presented by journalists Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha that investigates the complex issues that surround and drive the country's Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies.
The series premiered on SABC3 on Tuesday 30 June 2009, at 20h00. There are 26 half-hour episodes in the first season.
Africa Inc. is a unique view on black economic empowerment, 15 years into democracy. The show attempts to draw a comprehensive picture of the complex issues that drive BEE forward.
Africa Inc. is produced and presented by journalists Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha, who traverse the length and breadth of South Africa to bring perspectives on the country’s empowerment experiment.
Tinged with the glamour and sophistication that go hand in hand with the world of business, Africa Inc. brings you conversations with business moguls and top decision-makers including Tokyo Sexwale, Nku Nyembezi-Heita, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi and Saki Macozoma.
The show speaks to the power-players, the dealmakers, the beneficiaries and the critics of Black Economic Empowerment.
Episode 1: BEE a Decade On: Where do we Stand?
Africa Inc. sets the stage for 13 weeks of debate on Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa. We go back in time to what the ideals of Black economic empowerment were, how it has evolved since inception and what are the key issues for both those who are pro or anti BEE.
We interview well-known proponent and beneficiary of BEE, Mr Saki Macozoma. We also interview Blade Ndzimande from the SACP and get the alternative view from one of BEE’s biggest critics.
Episode 2: BEE and 2010
Africa Inc. looks at who has benefited so far and who is set to benefit from South Africa hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup. There have been a myriad of complaints from some industries and ordinary South Africans who feel that they will not be getting a piece of the pie.
We look at some BEE success stories and Nikiwe Bikitsha speaks to CEO of the Organising Committee Danny Jordaan. He tells us how they have made space for SMME’s and ordinary South Africans to benefit economically out of BEE.
Siki Mgabadeli speaks to the Former CEO of SA Tourism, Moeketsi Mosola, a sector which is set to benefit greatly from the soccer spectacular.
Episode 3: The Many Faces of Fronting
This episode gets down and dirty with one of the most controversial issues surrounding BEE – fronting. Fronting means falsely claiming to be a majority black owned company, having black ownership in a company or having black staff occupying top management positions.
Africa Inc. looks at an example of such a case and interviews one of the greatest critics of fronting in BEE and affirmative action, Jimmy Manyi. Sipho Zikode from the DTI sets out the government’s framework on how to deal with fronting.
Episode 4: SA Billionaires
In this episode Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha look at the black millionaires who made it big long before BEE came into the picture and those who benefited the most post-BEE.
This programme traces the evolution of black business to the current era and the controversy surrounding the creation of an elite class.
Siki interviews true black entrepreneur Herman Mashaba and about his views on BEE and if it would have made their lives easier. And Nikiwe speaks to BEE multi-millionaire Tokyo Sexwale.
Episode 5: Media
This show looks at the coverage of BEE by the media.
Has the media played a good role in exposing the problems that BEE faces, has it played its role in educating the public on how they can benefit from empowerment or has it merely perpetuated the prevailing stereotypes and just concentrated on the senior empowerment players at the expense of the general public?
Africa Inc. also looks at media ownership and the level of transformation in the sector. Siki and Nikiwe talk to Multichoice CEO Nolo Letele and Reg Rumney, head of the centre for Economics Journalism in Africa.
Episode 6: Community Development
Since inception, BEE has evolved from merely benefiting a few – to recognition that the broader society must also feel its impact – in comes broad-based black economic empowerment.
From the rural North West, to the lush winelands of the Cape, we bring you the tale of 2 communities who have interpreted BB-BEE in different ways. How successful have these formulas been and are the communities feeling the impact.
Africa Inc. brings you an exclusive interview with Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. We also speak to winemaker Professor Mark Solms of Solms-Delta wine estate in Franschhoek.
Episode 7: Black Diamonds: Keeping up with the Khumalos
In this episode Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha look at the much talked about ‘black diamonds’. Who are they and what impact has BEE had on the growth of the black middle class who are the so-called black diamonds?
We speak to Prof John Simpson of UCT’s Unilever Institute, which conducted the research. We also speak to Prof Stephen Gelb of the Edge Institute at Wits University.
Episode 8: Women and BEE
It is Women’s month! Women are among the most marginalized groups in our country when it comes to the economy. We look at how women have used BEE to their advantage.
We will look at some controversial issues – such as the issue around white women and BEE and whether or not they should be benefiting. We will also look at the women’s groups that are supposed to benefit from the broad-based BEE deals – do they exist and have they seen a difference in their lives?
We speak to Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, CEO of Arcelor Mittal SA, as well as Wiphold’s Gloria Serobe.
Episode 9: Fashion
This week, Africa Inc gets sector-specific and looks at the clothing and retail sector. Given that we all have to wear something – is there an imperative for companies in this sector to comply with BEE legislation, especially since they are not dependent on government tenders.
Does that fact allow them to get away with a superficial application of transformation? Is there some window-dressing, so to speak?
Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha speak to clothing retailer Edcon to unpack the issue, while the unions have been silent on the issue.
Episode 10: Conflict of Interest: From Government into Business?
Anchors Siki Mgabadeli and Nikiwe Bikitsha look at the concerns around conflict of interest – should government ministers and other officials be allowed to jump straight from a government post into a cushy business post?
What type of cooling-off period should there be for those who may be considering a job in the private sector?
We interview Empowerdex’s Vuyo Jack and Mr Mathews Phosa, the ANC’s Treasurer General.
Episode 11: Gambling
The gaming sector is one of the most lucrative in the country and it’s also one of the most highly-regulated – putting pressure on industry players to comply with BEE legislation.
But there have been concerns that a lot of the deals done are superficial, as they are at holding company level, rather than at operational level.
Africa Inc. unpacks the successes and the controversies of BEE in the gambling industry. We speak to the National Gambling Board as well as one of the big players in the sector Tsogo Sun.
Episode 12: Financial Services
If there’s one sector in the country that is seen as the custodian of the economy – it would be the financial services sector. No wonder then that transformation in this sector is keenly watched by all.
Who's playing ball and who isn't and what are the sticking points?
We speak to Cas Coovadia of the Banking Association as well as Nomkhitha Nqweni, the President of the Financial Services Sector Charter and ABSIP President.
Episode 13: Sell by Date
In this episode, Africa Inc takes you back on the journey of the past few weeks and shares the lessons learnt from the who’s who in BEE circles and what their projections are for BEE going forward.
Nikiwe Bikitsha and Siki Mgabadeli also bring you some never-before-seen footage of their escapades as they brought you the story of South Africa’s empowerment experiment.