Members of the Public have 60 days to comment on the B-BBEE Amendment Bill that has been gazetted by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies. The gazetting of the Amendment Bill is the culmination of the recommendations done by the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council.
The proposed amendments to the B-BBEE Act intend to achieve key strategic objectives, amongst others, to align the B-BBEE Act with other legislations impacting on B-BBEE and with the Codes; establishment of the B-BBEE Commission to establish an institutional environment for monitoring and evaluating Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment; provide for the regulation of the verification industry by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors; and deal with non-compliance and circumvention by, inter alia, introducing offences and penalties.
Minister Davies says that the proposed B-BBEE Commission will ensure that BEE activities in the country are aligned.
‘The B-BBEE Commission which is proposed in the B-BBEE Amendment Bill will play a critical role including, but not limited to, oversee, supervise and promote adherence with the B-BBEE Act and Codes of good practice in the interest of the public, strengthen and foster collaboration between the public and private sector in order to promote and safeguard the objectives of B-BBEE; promote advocacy, access to opportunities, and educational programmes and initiatives of B-BBEE; and promote good governance and accountability by creating an effective and efficient environment for the promotion and implementation of B-BBEE’.
Davies says the Bill does not leave a room for fronting as those who are involved in fronting and convicted may be imprisoned for 10 years.
‘The Bill introduces offences of the following acts of fronting , which include misrepresenting or attempting to misrepresent the B-BBEE status of an enterprise; providing false information or misrepresenting information to the Verification Personnel in order to secure a particular B-BBEE status; providing false information or misrepresenting information relevant to assessing the B-BBEE status of an enterprise to any organ of state or public entity; and failure by a B-BBEE Verification Professional or any procurement officer or other official of an organ of state or public entity to report offences to an appropriate law enforcement. Any person convicted of an offence in terms of the Bill is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or to both a fine and imprisonment; or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both a fine and imprisonment; or to a fine of 10% of that enterprise’s annual turnover,’ said Davies.
The Bill also introduces inclusion of specific statutory offences involving fronting and other forms of fraudulent misrepresentation of empowerment status and the specification of penalties and blacklisting of entities and / or management for those offences. Furthermore, the Bill makes provisions for empowering the Special Investigations Unit to investigate all offences involving fronting or corruption committed by both the public and private sector with regard to the application of the Act and B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Comments on the B-BBEE Amendment Bill can be sent to the following persons:
Lindiwe Madonsela LCMadonsela@thedti.gov.za or Xolisile Zondo XZondo@thedti.gov.za
Issued: The Department of Trade and Industry
Sidwell Medupe (Departmental Spokesperson)
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774