In the News: Employment Equity Amendment Bill to bring about real transformation

On Tuesday, 18 February 2020, Cabinet announced its approval of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill 2020, to be submitted to Parliament. As the Bill makes its way to Parliament for deliberation, the Department of Employment and Labour has set the ball in motion for the introduction of sector-specific Employment Equity numerical targets. Read the full article in SA News.

Click here for Government Gazette Notice. Download the Draft Public Procurement Bill here.

Financial Services Industry faces possible penalties

According to the B-BBEE Commission’s Zodwa Ntuli an analysis of compliance reports submitted by JSE-listed companies indicates that the financial sector is regressing in ownership and management control. These companies could face possible penalties for non-compliance.

Read more here.

Revised CA Sector B-BBEE Code Draft published

The Department of Trade and Industry, has gazetted the revised Chartered Accountancy Profession B-BBEE Sector Code (CA Charter) for public comment. The aim of the revised code is to empower and grow the number of Black people in the chartered accountancy profession.

Revisions to the Code include drastic changes to the skills development element.

Individuals who want to comment on the new CA Charter, should e-mail the DTI (for the attention of Sipho Solfafa) at cacode@thedti.gov.za by no later than 26 June 2019.

See full CA Charter here.

BEE Council Encourages Best Practice

The Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Advisory Council has called for the declaration of a Transformation Week in the country to showcase best B-BBEE practice.

“There was consensus at the meeting that there is a need to declare a Transformation Week in the country to showcase best B-BBEE practice, create awareness, and educate, with platform to share progress and introspect regarding economic transformation,” said the Council.

Council held its meeting, chaired by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.

The B-BBEE Advisory Council is a body appointed by the President in terms of the B-BBEE legislation to advise him and government on B-BBEE and transformation of the South African economy in order to achieve an inclusive economy.

The collective also acknowledged that the country’s procurement laws need to be strengthened to embed B-BBEE compliance in their content.

Successes

Friday’s meeting recognised that progress has been made in the implantation of B-BBEE policy over the last five years.

The Black Industrialist Programme, noted the meeting is among one of the achievements of that can be counted. The programme intends to create majority black-owned entities in the productive sectors. To date the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has supported 138 beneficiaries.

The meeting held at the dti campus in the capital, also counted the establishment of the B-BBEE Commission to effectively monitor implementation and progress as one of the other successes.

“Understanding the primacy of B-BBEE in the government’s drive to effect fundamental change and economic redistribution, the Council discussed and number of issues that have an effect on the implementation of B-BBEEE,” it said.

Financing

Issues discussed at the meeting include the role of development financing institutions (DFIs) in financing and supporting empowerment. The gathering stresses that the role of DFIs, should be complemented by the financial sector to intensify funding for B-BBEE as per the commitment of the Financial Services Charter.

The Preliminary report of the B-BBEE Commission showed that vendor-financing is higher, followed by funding financial institutions in respect of major B-BBEE deals already registered, with government funding being the lowest.

It added that focus should be placed on financing SMMEs and Black Industrialists, particularly those in the productive sectors.

The Council emphasised the need to intensify efforts of ensuring that SMMEs get markets to sell their wares, and also appreciated the significance of public and private sector partnerships in this regard.

The Council also mulled on the appropriate way to utilise the 30% as contained in the procurement policies to empower SMMEs in local communities.

Transformation, fronting

The collective acknowledged the veracity of the economic transformation work that still need to be advocated in society to educate and ensure increased B-BBEE compliance.

On black ownership target, the Council said the 25% target should be inclusive of active participation of the beneficiaries and not passive involvement.

In the same breath, the Council raised concern on the usage of broad-based ownership schemes, the abuse of the third party for enterprise development, supplier development and skills development.

It also expressed concern about the non-participation of black shareholders and directors in 51% black owned structures.

Acknowledging that fronting is becoming more sophisticated aided by consultants and verification agencies in the market, the Council urged government to finalise the development of regulation for verification agencies and B-BBEE practitioners to complement the work of the B-BBEE Commission and South African National Accreditation System. – SAnews.gov.za

SAQA welcomes NQF Ammendment Bill

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) has commended the role players who have worked to get the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Bill through Parliamentary processes.

SAQA on Monday thanked Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor and the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training for being at the forefront of the amendment bill, which is now awaiting the President’s signature.

The NQF Amendment Bill aims to protect the integrity of the South African education and training system by giving SAQA the legal responsibility to verify qualifications and part-qualifications (an assessed unit of learning that is registered as part of a qualification).

The bill makes provision for the registration by the Higher Education and Training Department of all private education institutions and skills development providers, as well as for the accreditation of these providers by the Quality Councils.

It further makes provision for organs of State, employers, education institutions, skills development providers and Quality Councils to refer qualifications and part-qualifications to SAQA for verification and evaluation.

The bill also provides for the formulation of criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications.

“This means that in the case of national qualifications and part-qualifications, SAQA must verify that they are authentic. In the case of foreign qualifications, SAQA must first verify that they are authentic and then compare them with South African qualifications for placement within the South African NQF. By so doing, the quality of both national and foreign qualifications would be protected.

“The bill clearly defines authentic qualifications and part-qualifications. It also defines misrepresented as well as fraudulent qualifications. In the event that a qualification or part-qualification is found to be misrepresented or fraudulent, it will appear in the register of misrepresented qualifications and part-qualifications or fraudulent qualifications and part-qualifications. This will deter would-be qualification fraudsters from misrepresenting qualifications,” SAQA CEO Joe Samuels explained.

Another form of deterrent is the imposition of penalties to not only the qualification fraudsters but also to education institutions and skills development providers that falsely claim that they are registered and accredited to offer qualifications and part-qualifications, Samuels said.

“Hence, it is a criminal offence for an education institution or education skills provider to falsely claim to be registered and accredited, let alone offer qualifications that are not registered on the NQF. The penalties range from five to 10 years imprisonment or a fine or both. This means that learners will not be taken for a ride by unscrupulous providers,” Samuels said.

The penalties are not limited to qualification holders and providers but, also extend to anyone who makes or causes a false entry into the National Learners’ Records Database or the misrepresented or fraudulent database.

Samuels welcomed the changes brought about by the bill as they seek to protect the public against unscrupulous education and training providers, and also protect government and businesses from hiring people who do not have authentic qualifications.

“SAQA will continue to work together with all stakeholders to ensure that the quality of our education system is maintained and enhanced. SAQA will also ensure that once the bill is signed into law, it will be implemented for the benefit of all living in South Africa,” Samuels said. – SAnews.gov.za