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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
South Africa retailer in BEE deal
South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has admitted BEE needs reviewing
South African retailer Woolworths is to sell a 10% stake in the company in a black economic empowerment (BEE) deal worth 292m rand ($41.36m; 21m).

The fashion, food, and homeware firm said the move recognised the "social and economic imperative" of BEE.

Woolworths is just the latest South African firm to enter a BEE deal under direction from the government.

BEE is meant to correct apartheid-era inequalities by making businesses transfer stakes to black-led groups.

Yet it has been accused of benefiting a small group of wealthy black investors, with many of the biggest deals so far having gone to consortia whose members include people with links to the ruling African National Congress.

South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel admitted last month that the BEE programme needed to be reviewed to ensure it worked more effectively.

Some 90% of Woolworths' employees are black, of whom 85% are woman.

The firm is not connected to the separate US and UK companies of the same name.

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10 Apr 07 |  Business
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14 Oct 06 |  Business
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