BBBEE Amendment Bill in Parliament Soon

Department of Trade and Industry

The tabling of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Amendment Bill in parliament is imminent.

This was confirmed by the trade and industry minister, Rob Davies, in a written reply to a parliamentary question.

Cabinet approved the bill for tabling early in August 2012.

According to a statement released at the time, the amendments seek amongst other things to:

•    establish a B-BBEE commission “to deal with compliance” in respect of B-BBEE-related legislation;
•    strengthen compliance-related monitoring and evaluation;
•    provide for offences and penalties;
•    provide for the regulation of B-BBEE verification agencies by the independent regulatory board of auditors;
•    provide for the creation of incentive schemes to support black-owned and -managed enterprises as part of the national B-BBEE strategy; and to
•    promote compliance with B-BBEE legislation by organs of state and public entities.

A draft amendment bill was published in November 2011 for comment.

Clamping down on fronting is a key objective of the bill.

In the reply, the minister refers to the recently released census 2011 results which highlighted a continuing high income gap between white and black households.

A significant difference in income between male and female also prevails.

The results also indicated a high unemployment rate amongst black South Africans.

“These statistics together with other indicators reaffirm that inequality in the country is still based on racial lines and gender lines and therefore a need for government to intervene to reduce inequality using policy instruments such as the B-BBEE Act”.

The minister also emphasised that the proposed amendments aimed to enhance the monitoring and evaluation of BBBEE within the public sector.

In a separate matter, the portfolio committee on trade and industry has decided to merge the Co-operatives Amendment Bill and the Co-operatives Second Amendment Bill into one bill.

The two bills were tabled at the end of May 2012.

According to a committee report, the trade and industry ministry wanted the Co-operatives Amendment Bill to be a section 75 bill while the second bill would be a section 76 bill.

However, the joint tagging mechanism decided otherwise and tagged both as section 75 bills.

This prompted the committee to decide that a merger of the two bills was the way to go.

Government wants co-operatives to contribute towards the creation of jobs, poverty alleviation and economic growth.

A key aspect of the proposed legislation is the setting up of the co-operative development agency.

The agency would aim to:

•    Help with governance and management of the co-operatives sector
•    Lend support to the development of co-operatives as an organised sector
•    Provide financial and non-financial support to the sector
•    Provide business support services including pre-registration support, business plan development, mentorship and after-care to co-operatives.

The proposed legislation also intends establishing the co-operatives tribunal.

The tribunal would be tasked with handling disputes and conflicts as well as ensuring compliance with the provisions of the act. It would be placed within the department.

Other entities in the pipeline include a co-operative academy to provide training and a co-operative advisory council.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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