Compliance with BEE ideals is bedevilled by multiple contradictory standards

I refer to the August 3 article “Aircraft contract award ‘hinders’ BEE”. It highlights confusion about black economic empowerment (BEE) and how it is implemented.

James Ngobeni, the chairman of the BEE charter steering committee for the building and construction industry, complained that Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) had chosen a group with only 9.7 percent black ownership, while Acsa said it was governed by the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act.
The construction charter is based on the codes of good practice for broad-based BEE of the department of trade and industry. Broad-based BEE is based on an objective measurement of compliancy via a scorecard. The scorecard measures all seven pillars of empowerment. When Acsa chose its bidder, we hope it looked at the total BEE scorecard and not only black ownership.

The confusion arises as Acsa has stated that it used the procurement act to evaluate the tender. Trade and industry’s draft codes require a broad-based BEE scorecard. The draft construction charter uses a proposed broad-based scorecard, similar to the draft codes. Ngobeni wants Acsa to use ownership as the criterion. There is no consistency.

I fully support transformation, but when each entity uses its own measurement, it makes it difficult for companies to comply with the ideals of broad-based BEE.

Which form of transformation must companies undertake in a consistent manner? We are eagerly awaiting the final codes from the minister of trade and industry to clarify this.

Keith Levenstein
Chief executive
Econoserv SA

You may also like...