South Africa has just successfully hosted what can be considered the greatest sporting event ever. Despite the skepticism of many South Africans, we managed to pull it all together: a new airport in Durban, the Gautrain as well as three world-class stadiums in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Nobody thought we could do it, but as the saying goes “‘n boer maak ‘n plan”. For those that don’t know, when loosely translated this adage implies that no matter the hardships, we shall overcome them – and we did!
This could, and should, be carried over to many of the other hardships in our country. Transformation and empowerment are among those issues that require the same perseverance and determination. Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment presents an excellent set of policies that have, unfortunately been badly implemented or not implemented at all. A burning frustration in this arena is the issue of verification.
Many companies employ the “boer maak ‘n plan” route with celebrated success but the lack of standards is still perceived as a demotivating force to many others. They see their competitors obtaining vastly different scores – in some cases far higher scores – and regard it as unfair.
EconoBEE, expert BBBEE consultants have long been fighting for standardization in the BEE verification industry and believe that this will serve to encourage more businesses to become compliant. “SANAS will state they have standards – but these are standards of administration. They ensure that all verification agencies have the correct forms and procedures, but they do not get involved in interpretation. The verification industry is too concerned with losing their accreditation than disputing an issue with SANAS,” stated Keith Levenstein, CEO of EconoBEE.
Levenstein has made numerous appeals to various industry bodies for the appointment of an Ombudsman that could oversee the appeal processes and making appeals on behalf of clients has become second nature to this fighter of fair empowerment. Levenstein stated, “In our case, to give credit to the agencies we have dealt with, they have changed their decisions once we presented a good argument based on reason, legislation and experience. However, if they had disagreed with us, there is no standard method of further recourse, short of submitting a complaint to the dti and SANAS and hoping they will respond. If the dti response is “there is no definition….” And SANAS’ response is “refer to the dti definition”, then we are back to square one.”
EconoBEE will be presenting three conferences on how to prepare for verification in Johannesburg on 22 July, Cape Town on 27 July and Durban on 3 August 2010. The sessions will deal with issues relating to maximizing your score, tips on how to ensure efficient verification, relevant documentation and the completion thereof as well as how to handle appeals. Visit their website www.econobee.co.za for more information.