DTI clamping down on illegal verification agents

The department of trade and industry (DTI) is on a mission to take firm action on illegal verification agents, who issue fraudulent black economic empowerment (BEE) and company registration certificates.
Dubbed Operation Khusela, the initiative, led by Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina, targets illegal agents.
In a media briefing in Tshwane (Pretoria), Masina said people who sell fraudulent BEE and company registration certificates were not only crippling the businesses in South Africa, but harming the economy as well.
“Our economy is bleeding. People are losing tenders due to such activities, because if it is detected that the certificate if fraudulent, there is no way the state will award a tender to that business, even if it might have had the capability to deliver,” said Masina.
“Innocent people are falling prey to these dealings and it is important that the state puts an end to it.”
Recently, Masina, accompanied by the acting deputy director Nomonde Mesatywa, DTI officials and the media, approached several illegal verification agents in Tshwane and was able to get bogus BEE verification certificates rated from level one to level three, which were sold for about R800 on the street.
“Certificates issued by these people are very similar to the ones issued by SA National Accreditation System accredited agencies and unsuspecting people are unable to notice the difference,” said Masina.
“Our people were able to get these certificates without even producing identity documentation and financial statements to verify whether they are even owners of the companies they claimed to own.”
He said the intention was to also demonstrate to industry the importance of being properly regulated and that it was important for government to reclaim the verification space.

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