EconoBEE tells dti: “Sort out BEE certification inconsistencies first”


Well-intentioned as they appear, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) plan to bring radical changes to the BEE certification processes and preferential procurement policy could backfire within next three years, fears black economic-empowerment (BEE) advisory firm, EconoBEE.

EconoBEE CEO Keith Levenstein said the real problem behind the failure of BEE verification that the dti was overlooking was glaring inconsistencies within itself.

“The solution is not to get the DTI to start issuing BEE certificates. It is to get the verification industry to operate properly. The DTI is responsible for appointing and managing the regulators of the verification industry and this they have also failed to do.”

Levenstein said he had asked the DTI many times to issue guidelines and to take action against inconsistent verifications, errors, interpretations and fronting but to no avail. ‘They have not done so. Where they have issued guidelines, they invariably got it wrong.”

Through the plan, the dti aims to create a class of black industrialists and accelerate “radical” transformation in the South African economy three steps backwards. The changes to be effected under it will see the department taking away the role of issuing certification from agencies that are accredited to grant BEE ratings and certificates, and the latter limited to fulfilling an advisory role on BEE policy.

However, defending the decision during the Black Industrialists Stakeholder Engagement Session, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, observed that the verification agencies had been undermining the State’s transformation agenda by indiscriminately issuing BEE certification.

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