September 27, 2019

President of South Africa Endorses Employee Ownership

Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of the Republic of South Africa, endorsed worker ownership as a means of improving labor-management relations and increasing worker voice in company decision-making. The endorsement, reported by Fin24, part of South Africa's News24, follows endorsements of worker ownership by both the ruling party, the African National Congress, and by the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

Earlier policy support for employee ownership in South Africa is based on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation, which aimed to increase the assets and stock holdings of black South Africans. President Ramaphosa proposed a different approach to worker ownership, which Fin24 described as "a more German model of ownership, where workers co-determine corporate strategy." The new proposal would also provide government funding to support purchases of shares by workers. 

The South Africa Employee Ownership Association (SAEOA) has consulted with the government on this effort, and its founding director, Tendani Nelwamondo, said that the SAEOA is working to encourage "government and funding agencies to embrace employee ownership as one model to empower employees and improve the socio-economic livelihoods of employees."