November 2, 2020

Join Us in Supporting Employee Ownership in South Africa

The founding director of the Southern Africa Employee Ownership Association (SAEOA), Tendani Nelwamondo, virtually attended the NCEO’s Fall ESOP Forum, where several attendees had a chance to talk with him. The NCEO actively supports the efforts by the SAEOA and Nelwamondo to promote employee ownership in South Africa, and we invite you to join us: please make a donation to the NCEO designated for the SAEOA.

Nelwamondo provided an insider’s perspective of the current state—and compelling potential—of employee ownership in South Africa:

The Southern Africa Employee Ownership Association (SAEOA) is an established and registered not-for-profit company based in South Africa (and registered with the Companies Act of 2008). The main objective of the association is to promote employee ownership in the country. The association aims to be the voice of employees on ownership issues.

Some of the primary objectives of the association are:

  • Promoting and building awareness of employee ownership
  • Advising stakeholders on employee ownership
  • Conducting research
  • Contributing to the formation of employee ownership policy
  • Growing the economy while reducing inequality
  • Creating sustainable employment opportunities and saving job
  • Eradicating poverty amongst employees and their families (especially youth, women, and people with disabilities).

The SAEOA is on a journey to advocate for the implementation of sector-based employee ownership, such as in agriculture, mining, franchising, energy, health, transport, value-chain, etc. The SAEOA is planning to convene webinars, seminars, workshops, and annual conferences with entertaining, stimulating, and provocative topics.

Employee ownership has a bright future in South Africa. This is so because the government of South Africa has the right policies, especially the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, and because it also has political buy-in. President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have shown enormous interest in employee ownership to speed up transformation, contribute to the socio-economic livelihoods of employees, grow savings, and create new sustainable  employment opportunities. According to the newspaper the Sowetan, published on January 9, 2018, Pres. Ramaphosa said “give black workers shares.”

The ANC’s party manifesto (i.e., the party platform) states that it will include a broad base of workers in employee ownership schemes and similar arrangements to supplement workers’ incomes and build greater partnerships between workers and owners to build these businesses.

These and similar statements by the President, the ruling party, and also opposition parties show that there is full political buy-in on employee ownership. The remaining question is how to implement employee ownership in South Africa. What support and resources are required for the association or companies or employees or shareholders willing to transition to employee ownership? The SAEOA, working closely or in partnership with the NCEO, could be well positioned to guide government, companies, and employees to smoothly transition to employee ownership.

The SAEOA is ready to help the South African government and all the relevant stakeholders to implement sustainable employee ownership policies across all key sectors of the country.

Please join the NCEO in supporting the development of employee ownership in South Africa by making a donation and specifying “The Southern Africa Employee Ownership Association” in the box labeled “designation note.” 100% of your donation will support the SAEOA.