I have grave concerns about the Wits Business School/Barloworld Empowerment Awards 2008 – refer to the Business Report advertising feature (advertorial) dated 22nd May 2008.
The awards perpetuate the myth that BEE is about the size of the BEE deal. The awards completely ignore the fact that BEE is about Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. The ownership aspect is only worth 23 points on the scorecard. The other factors, worth 84 points (the codes allocate up to 107 points) are management, employment equity, skills development, procurement, enterprise development and socio economic development.
To have an award called BEE deal of the year, and not for example “Most Empowerment Large Company” is a slap-in-the-face for the good cause of black economic empowerment. By their omissions of other awards Wits and Barloworld are harming BEE. It is sending a message that BEE is only about deals. No wonder many businesspeople have the incorrect impression that BEE is about “giving 25% of their business away. As a result many choose rather to ignore BEE if they are not rewarded and recognised for implementing broad-based BEE. It could be said that the awards approach is sabotaging BEE rather than helping it.
On a further even more important point, the advertorial states that “Much of the activity then was in the financial service sector, following the finalisation of the Financial Sector Charter (FSC)….”
This is untrue. The FSC has not been finalised. It has been gazetted in terms of section 12 of the act, which is for information and comment only. Only once it has been gazetted under section 9 of the B-BBEE Act does it have any legal force and could be regarded as “Finalised”. Until then financial institutions, like every other enterprise in the country, are obliged to follow the gazetted Codes of Good Practice if they choose to implement BEE in their organisation.