A Government Gazette notice stipulating that construction companies and accounting firms with February year-ends had ten days to comply with government’s amended broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) codes, has sent stakeholders reeling.
Commenting on the notice, which was submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry, BBBEE consulting firm VeriCom CEO Deon Oberholzer said that industry had, until now, been kept in the dark about whether they should comply with their original or an amended sector code.
“Those companies that opted to wait until things are finalised now face the grim reality that they will probably see their BEE score dramatically reduced, owing to the more stringent requirements of the amended codes, with little or no time to react.
“It is expected that companies may be more than a little upset about this, especially if one takes into consideration that the notice was already signed by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on December 8, more than ten weeks ago,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Oberholzer pointed out that the property, agriculture and forestry sectors had already been gazetted for public comment, which meant that their final amended code could still be dropped on the market in the next ten days.
“We also noted that the announcement incorrectly states that the tourism sector is not repealed. It had already been replaced by an amended tourism sector codes on November 20,” he said, adding that the other sectors of information technology and communications, finance and transport had been granted reprieve.
“They do not yet have to comply with the Amended Codes and nothing can happen by the end of the month, as they still need a 60-day window for public comment. We will probably see them finalised in the next six months,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Construction Sector Council announced the scrapping of their sector code in November, citing an inability to obtain consensus between industry players. Only Davies had the power to repeal a sector code, and none such repeal or extension had surfaced, until the publishing of the gazette.