By Thakhani Tshivhase
The amended Coded of Good Practice for Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment that came into effect on 1 May 2015 hit South African companies like an earthquake and the aftershock can still be felt as various companies face their first verification under the new codes. Yes, the B-BBEE ball game has now entered the premier league. Thus, companies need to apply the correct strategic focus, diligent application and follow through to ensure that one is able to attain a level that will ensure the company achieves a comparative advantage in this competitive landscape that is the South African economy.
Having been through a few verifications with our clients, there are a few hacks that we would like to share that will make your life B-BBEE life a little easier:
- If you don’t have the internal capacity to manage B-BBEE initiatives, outsource it to a reputable implementing company. Now we aren’t just saying this because we play in this space! It is being said due to the amount of financial resources, time, effort and energy that is required to keep track of each initiative and remember to always collect evidence because if isn’t justifiable and verifiable, it simply won’t count. The reputable verification agents in the industry are almost brutal in their audits.
- Please ensure that you have filed and submitted all the necessary statutory documents. If for example, you have not submitted your Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR) or Pivotal Report to your applicable SETA, none of your training interventions may be recognised. Also make sure you consult your SETA list of critical skills so you don’t lose valuable points as a result.
- Don’t forget to include early payments made to 51% black owned and black women owned businesses! These are easy points to achieve and more importantly, they are non-monetary. It is important that you seal this deal with a signed supplier development agreement between your company and that of the beneficiary. Without this document in place, you would be disqualified (to receive the points) despite the general ledger evidence that you did indeed pay the supplier early.
- The last piece of advice we would like to share when it comes to B-BBEE is to plan initiatives that speak to your company’s strategy and value chain. This way, each investment you make, will yield returns (ROI). This also removes the feeling that you are just coughing up money for a certificate. For example, if you decide to sponsor bursaries for students (as a way to take care of the Skills Development Expenditure on Unemployed black people that is required) ensure that you sponsor students studying in a field that is relevant to the skills you need in your organisation. Set up internships for holiday periods so that you can have an extra pair of hands to assist in your organisation and the students can receive exposure to the workplace. Once they have completed their studies, you now have a pool of new talent that you are able to bring into your organisation.
It is vital to note that The Codes of Good Practice essentially aim try to foster a more inclusive economy in which all South Africans can take part. If applied right, we all play a part in building a more robust economy from which we can all benefit.