Another month – still no sign of final codes

Yet another month has passed – and despite promises from government and dti, there is no further sign of the final codes.

How inefficient can they be? A press release from dti and the minister stated on 11 July 2006: “The dti is confident that the process of finalizing Codes of Good Practice on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment will be presented to Cabinet for approval in August 2006. Thereafter the first and second phase of the codes will be gazetted.”

How confident were they to be so incorrect with their estimates? Are there other forces at work aimed at stopping BEE, or maybe not satisfied with how stringent the requirements are?
I’m seeing that longer the delay the more resistance there is to implementing BEE. Many people told me that like many other government initiatives such as PAIA, BEE would fail – so they will wait it out. I always disagree with those sentiments, but it gets more and more difficult to respond.

At the same time more and more companies are asking for their customers’ BEE compliancy levels. Unfortunately because there is still no finalization many companies are using their own “in-house” developed scorecard or questionnaire. In most cases their questionnaires are wrong – they still emphasize ownership and not a broad based scorecard, but we cannot argue with them because the codes are not final.

Does dti not realize that they are dealing with businesses that need to make a profit? Businesses want finality, so they can manage their businesses without surprises.

Government and dti are being very unfair to businesses by delaying approving the codes. B-BBEE is very much about winning hearts and minds and convincing people that BEE is “the right thing to do”. Every day I meet people who are very angry, even abusive just because I operate in this industry. Much of my role is to calm them down and explain in a logical way how they can benefit from BEE. I usually succeed, but government is not helping me, or the BEE cause by the delay.

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