Covid-19 Vaccine Value Chain - Opportunities for Blacks, Youth, Women and People with Disabilities - Kganki Matabane, CEO of the Black Business Council
Covid-19 pandemic is an unfortunate and unprecedented global social and economic disaster. It has also brought a lot of sorrow and anger in our communities as it has taken away our loved ones. On the other side of the coin, it also brought business opportunities as we have already witnessed with the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, sanitisers gowns or aprons, respirators etc.
We should learn from the mistakes that happened during the procurement of PPE where South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) unregistered and opportunistic companies were given procurement opportunities through corruption and in disregard to our procurement legislation, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA). As such, we should make a concerted effort to priorities compliant and SAHPRA registered companies owned by the above-mentioned groups when providing procurement opportunities for vaccine distribution, administration, logistics etc. to ensure that we transform our economy. We should also ensure that the spirit of our economic transformation legislation is also implemented.
There will be a myriad of value-chain business opportunities availed and brought about by the covid-19 vaccine process. Examples of such opportunities are, but not limited to:
Supply Chain, Logistic and Transportation
- These will include, transport, distribution, warehousing and storage of the vaccine.
- Point of care centres
- These will include hospital hubs, clinics, company care services, pharmacies, pop-up facilities.
- To assist with vaccination reporting and tracking
- For monitoring and reporting
Legal and Regulatory
- To deal with things such as potential liability, patents etc
- To assist with public communications, messaging, conspiracy theories and education
The big question arising out of these opportunities is how we are then, going to ensure that that these prospects are distributed and shared equitably amongst all businesses. How are we going to ensure that the big players are not going to continue with their monopoly and domination of the opportunities? How are smaller and independent service providers going to be assisted in ensuring that they are ready to provide these important and critical services?
We are fully aware of and acknowledge that the country is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. We also note that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and other laws are not suspended during this period. As such, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) remains law and in place and as such, should not be undermined in haste. The policy of BBBEE, implemented through the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, No. 53 of 2003, should be understood as a necessary mechanism, to achieve a more just and equitable society. When applied correctly, BBBEE does not confer unfair advantage for some companies over others based on race. Conversely it does not have the effect of excluding white companies.
We should not repeat the recent history by continuously side-lining businesses owned by blacks, youth, women and people with disabilities. If we do that, history will judge us harshly and our children will spit on our graves. Let us find political will and courage to do the right thing by effecting socio-economic transformation in our lifetime. The covid-19 vaccination provides such opportunity.
Kganki Matabane, CEO of the Black Business Council