The Empowerment Report, produced by Intellidex in partnership with Empowerdex and Independent Media, appeared in Business Report on 1 November. It is the authoritative ranking of all JSE-listed companies according to their black economic empowerment scores.
Every year we recognise those companies that have attained the highest rankings overall and in the various BEE subcategories, while also tracking industries operating under their sector codes. Since the revised 2013 Codes of Good Practice were implemented, we have run two sets of tables to cover companies that have converted as well as those still operating under the 2007 codes.
The BEE landscape has undergone numerous significant changes in the past year, some welcome, some controversial.
The most positive is the gazetting of a Mining Charter that appears to be acceptable to government and business. As with any industry, policy certainty is paramount. Without it, no major investment in the battered industry will take place.
Government has also introduced proposed legislation on a new scheme that is proving rather contentious. It plans to extend the BBBEE exemption that companies with annual turnover of below R50m enjoy to all companies with direct black ownership between 51% and 99%. They would be classified as level two contributors to BEE and would be exonerated from other empowerment requirements. Companies with 100% direct black ownership are automatically granted level one status.
The third initiative has been widely welcomed. The Youth Employment Services (YES) aims to create 1-million paid internships for black youth, with incentives for absorbing interns into full employment. Formulated by business, labour and government, it has the necessary support to be a success.
Another contentious issue has been bubbling quietly under the surface for some time now. The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Commission insists that what should be classified as regular corporate social investment initiatives are being presented as BEE trusts or foundations and are incorrectly claiming BEE socioeconomic development scores for them. The commission argues that the intervention must assist historically disadvantaged people to become economically active. A mobile clinic for HIV treatment, for example, or donating blankets or shoes to schools cannot score a company BEE points because it is not making anyone economically active.
Critics argue that this is a misinterpretation, and that such trusts are recognized by the trade and industry department’s BEE codes and by the Mining Charter.
This could boil over: many companies have invested heavily in trusts that are doing important and good work in uplifting the impoverished and improving the quality of their education and health services, among others.
Click here for the full Empowerment Report, including the rankings.