I am deeply saddened by the new BBBEE Codes.  I believe in the broad-based aspect of BBBEE; I believe that we need to increase our economically active population and I believe that business should actively contribute to this process. In essence, I believe in the spirit and intent of BBBEE. Unfortunately the new codes have changed Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment into Narrow Based Black Economic Empowerment and I cannot understand why.

Perhaps my frustration with the amended codes is due to the fact that our own company (currently a level 2 BBBEE contributor) will in all likelihood – if we are lucky – drop to a level 6. This is due predominantly due to the fact that as a QSE we have a very small staff complement and all our staff are highly trained. This means that in terms of skills development we cannot score over 40% of the points available. However, for a QSE, should the codes be changed to allow us to assist Black people (unemployed or youth) in terms of training – then we would be more than willing to spend our 6%; we just cannot spend it on our staff.  And anyway, will assisting the un- or undereducated not increase the economically active population more than over-educating individuals that are already active in the economy ?

Also, hardly any QSE’s previously selected to score on the enterprise development pillar as we are ourselves small businesses who need assistance and usually do not have the capacity to manage the requirements of enterprise development. Again, if the DTI would come to the party and provide a list of or mechanism to assist developing enterprises then I am willing to donate my required 2% to the cause (assuming of course it actually goes to the cause and not the bureaucracy developed to manage the cause).

But here is the real reason that I do not buy into the new Codes. If I am willing to gift an additional 15% of my company to a Black shareholder then I will be over 51% Black owned and I can ignore all the above, all the pillars, all the intent and spirit of the legislation and be a Level 2 yet again. So ignore the masses and provide 15% to one – how is that BBBEE ?

So, if going forward, you see that THCE is a level 6 and no longer a level 2, please do not think it is because we are not supporting transformation. Please understand that it is the opposite – we are a level 6 because we believe in the spirit and not the numbers of transformation.

– Nici Turnbull

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