We are concerned that ABVA members are telling their clients that the only acceptable rating is one from a fellow ABVA member – that self-rating or accountant/auditor signed BEE scorecards are not acceptable. This we believe is going to be responsible for more irritation towards BEE and transformation and have the consequence of slowing transformation, rather than speeding it up.

We have therefore sent the following email to ABVA:


Dear Sirs,

We are becoming more and more concerned about statements we hear emanating from companies who are members of ABVA. Specifically the statements that they will refuse to accept a BEE rating produced by any organisation other than a fellow member of ABVA.

The purpose of this letter is to enquire the true situation from ABVA and obtain a letter either confirming the above policy or denying it.

We sincerely hope that the above rumours are untrue and require your confirmation that this is indeed the case.

In the event of the contrary, we will have no alternative but to challenge this policy in terms of the B-BBEE Act 53 of 2003, and the Codes of Good Practice as gazetted on 9th February 2007.  In addition we will also approach the competition commission to decide whether ABVA and/or its members are behaving in a manner contrary to the competition act.

We base this on:
1)    No verification agencies have yet been accredited.

2)    ABVA is not an accreditation organisation and has no legal force with regard to BEE verification. This is the domain of SANAS. SANAS, and not ABVA, accredits verification agencies.

3)    Polices relating to veracity of a rating should be made by SANAS, not ABVA.

4)    SANAS gives direction to how the BEE codes should be interpreted and not ABVA

5)    SANAS has not stated that the only acceptable rating is one by an ABVA member. In any event ABVA is not necessarily the only industry body that SANAS members may belong to.

6)    SANAS’ mandate for BEE verification was issued by the dti not ABVA.

7)    SANAS has a code of conduct requiring BEE verification agencies to refrain from consulting and rating/verifying the same client within 2 years. Many ABVA members are ignoring this issue.

Finally the effect of such a policy, if true, is counter-productive to the aims and objectives of true empowerment. It hurts the companies whom we are encouraging to become more empowered and compliant. The policy is seen by them as nothing more than a money-making scheme by ABVA members. It results in them hardening their attitudes against empowerment rather than embracing it.

Keith Levenstein
Econoserv SA cc/EconoBEE


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