The Constitution of SA is a legal framework and foundation. It outlines the rights and duties of its citizens and the structure of the government
BEE is a construct born out of what we set out to achieve for everyone in the Constitution of SA. There are also other factors – so knowing how the two work in tandem is an important part of the process.
Since the constitution provides us with a solid reference point of how a progressive and empowered South Africa functions, we can trace The Empowerment Act (also known as the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act) back in the original intentions and stipulations. In collaboration with the constitution, The Empowerment Act aims to elevate our current levels of equal participation and involvement in our economy.
The execution of BEE facilitated in a threefold manner:
1) Firstly, the Codes of Good Practice which provide the outline in terms of measurement criteria and guidelines for broad-based BEE and transformation charters
2) Second is the strategy document for broad-based BEE by the Minister of Trade and Industry
3) Thirdly – the transformation charters for specific industries in the economy to accelerate the objectives of the Empowerment Act, a topic we’ve written about previously on our blog with focus on the Tourism industry
To help identify BEE and the Constitution of South Africa, we’ll be breaking them up for explanation. We want to improve understanding of how they work together for a better and brighter South Africa.
The Empowerment Act
The Empowerment Act is the shorter name we use to refer to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act. Tpo avoid complication, let’s focus on the core principles of the act to get the most understanding:
1. To increase the number of black people that manage, own and control enterprises and assets that set out to contribute to the economy
2. To facilitate ownership and management of these enterprises and assets by communities, workers, cooperatives and other collective enterprises
3. To develop skills among human resources
4. To improve representation in all levels and categories of the workforce, including (but not limited to) preferential procurement and investing in black-owned or managed enterprises
The Employment Equity Act
The Employment Equity Act is essentially the outline to kickstart affirmative action for designated groups. Groups that have been systematically discriminated against in the past. This is to ensure equal employment opportunities and representation is incentivized in all sectors and levels of the workplace.
In terms of the act, an employer with fifty or more employees or a person who employs fewer than fifty employees but has a total annual turnover that is equal to the applicable turnovers set out in the schedules of the act, is known as a designated employer.
The Employment Equity Act only applies to designated employers. This is unlike the Empowerment Act which aims for all enterprise or entities to improve the representation of black people at all levels of the enterprise. This is separate from whether they are designated employers or not.
The Skills Development Act
The Skills Development Act is another institutional framework. It’s set up to help develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce. This enhances a lot of the fundamentals of the constitution of SA by spearheading direct change in the competence of our holistic workforce.
One of the ways the Skills Development Act helps out is by providing learnerships that lead to recognised qualifications – a topic we’ve also spoken about on this blog before with our article on SAB championing youth development in the country.
The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act
Lastly, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act is another initiative put in place to help boost the frameworks set out in the Constitution of SA. By implementing a foundation for the procurement policy used to create a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective system. This is relevant, especially when dealing with how many parts of the state deal with procurement.
This foundation protects the advancement of previously disadvantaged groups. This creates and cultivates and much more fertile ecosystem for fair and empowering business.
Making the efforts in your company to ensure you’re compliant with BEE and have improved your scorecard as much as possible is one of the best investments you can make in both the long and short-term. By breaking down the Constitution of South Africa as it relates to BEE – we can see what an effect these initiatives can have on a business and industries as a whole.
The benefits of becoming BEE compliant can also be directly beneficial to the level of success a company is capable of. For example, having a BEE certificate allows you to perform business with government sectors and other public entities (as spoken about in the procurement part of this blog). It also allows your business to tender. Having a higher BEE level improves your chances drastically on attaining these tenders.
If your company is in need of BEE suppliers and services, BEE-Connex is the largest network of top B-BBEE experts. They are available at the click of a button. So you can have the best people servicing your companies BEE needs.
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