BEE Watchdog Becomes Official

Pretoria - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says a Bill aimed at appointing a commissioner to deal with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) non-compliance has been referred to the National Council of Provinces.

Speaking to journalists after chairing the Presidential BEE Advisory Council meeting on Friday, Davies said he hoped that the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Amendment Bill was aimed at dealing with non-compliance and to help new entrants become active players in their respective sectors.

"The legislative processes that have involvement [in] the amendment of the Bill, part of which is the establishment of a commissioner to deal with issues of [BEE] fronting ... as well as a few other matters like the regulation of the verification industry ... that Bill has now cleared the National Assembly and we are hopeful that it would have cleared the NCOP before the summit," he said.

Ever since the government put legislation in place to force companies to meet minimum BEE ratings, problems of wide-spread fronting became the order of the day.

This ranged from big players listing black people as their shareholders to coin the "black-owned" status while those people are reduced to making tea and being messengers.

Davies said he hoped the Bill would have gone through Parliament by the time he hosts about 2000 businessmen at the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Summit at the Ghallager Estate in Midrand next month, but said he was doubtful it would have been signed into law by then.

He also said the meeting discussed the implementation of the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice which are aimed at forcing companies to comply with requirements related to supply development, ownership and skills training.

The codes would also deal with penalties for companies that do not meet the minimum requirements, and also deal with cutting red-tape to allow small emerging players to automatically get BEE recognition without being verified.

He said he hoped that the codes would have been gazetted by the time the Summit kicks off on 3 October.

He said the Summit will also deal with questions of how the country can carry forward the "next big project of empowerment", which will also look at how the country can create black industrialists and sectors around it. -