13 December 2011
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has gazetted the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Amendment Bill, which aligns the various laws relating to black economic empowerment in South Africa.
The Bill was tabled on Friday, and the public has 60 days to comment on it. The gazetting of the Amendment Bill follows recommendations made by the Presidential B-BBEE Advisory Council.
The amendments also aim to establish a B-BBEE Commission that will set up an institutional environment for monitoring and evaluating black economic empowerment.
It also provides for the regulation of the verification industry by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors, while also dealing with non-compliance and circumvention by introducing offences and penalties.
Davies said the B-BBEE Commission would play a critical role in supervising and promoting adherence with empowerment legislation and Codes of Good Practice, while fostering collaboration between the public and private sector in order to promote empowerment.
The commission will also 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 implementation of B-BBEE.
No room for fronting, misrepresentation
The Bill introduces offences in several acts of “fronting”, including misrepresenting or attempting to misrepresent a company’s empowerment status, and providing false information in order to secure a particular B-BBEE status.
Offences in terms of the Bill will be punishable by fines or imprisonment, Davies said.
The Bill also introduces 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.
The Bill further empowers the Special Investigations Unit to investigate all offences involving fronting or corruption committed by both the public and private sector.