South Africa's first democratic government was elected in 1994, with a clear mandate to redress the inequalities of the past in every sphere: political, social and economic. Since then, government has embarked on a comprehensive programme to provide a legislative framework for the transformation of South Africa's economy. In 2003, the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Strategy was published as a precursor to the B-BBEE Act, No. 53 of 2003. The fundamental objective of the Act is to advance economic transformation and enhance the economic participation of black people in the South African economy.
The Act provides a legislative framework for the promotion of BEE, empowering the Minister of Trade and Industry to issue Codes of Good Practice and publish Transformation Charters, and paving the way for the establishment of the B-BBEE Advisory Council.
In order to fulfil the legal mandate as outlined in the Act, President Jacob Zuma appointed members to the B-BBEE Advisory Council on 3 December 2009, as contemplated in Section 6(1)(c) and (d) of the Act. The B-BBEE Advisory Council aims to provide guidance and overall monitoring of the state of B-BBEE performance in the economy, with a view to making policy recommendations to address challenges in the implementation of this transformation policy.
The B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice emerged in February 2007 as an implementation framework for B-BBEE policy and legislation. After the implementation thereof, institutional mechanisms were established for the monitoring and evaluation of B-BBEE in the entire economy.
In an effort to comply with the B-BBEE policy, companies have employed the services of Verification Agencies (VAs). Due to verification practices having varied from agency to agency, resulting in confusion in the market, certain revisions were required. Consequently, in the interests of harmonising accreditation and verifications practices, the dti and the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) have put in place a process of phasing out certificates issued by non-accredited VAs.
As a result of the above, from 1 February 2010, certificates issued by VAs - those which are accredited and those that are not yet accredited but which have received a valid pre-assessment letter from SANAS - will be acceptable in the market. These certificates will be valid for a period of twelve months.