Business is BOOMING in the Eastern Cape: Grant Thornton Verification Services

OCTOBER 7, 2015

Grant Thornton Verification Services is proud to have been founded right here in Port Elizabeth. Formed in 2007, we were then known as iQuad Verification Services, a part of the iQuad Group now under the Sasfin Group. 2011 saw us joining Grant Thornton, instantly growing our footprint and brand.

One of the first verification agencies to be accredited by South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) in 2009, we now have offices in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Although we are now a national company, our hometown remains a strong region and one where we are pleased to see so much growth and opportunity.

Earlier this year, VW South Africa announced a planned upgrade of their plant to the value of R4,5 billion. The upgrade will see opportunity for industries including construction, engineering, manufacturing and others and will result in job growth for the region.

Meanwhile, subsidiaries of the Rhino Group have partnered with Australia in a bio-gas energy project and with the UK government in a lighting and energy efficiency project. These partnerships are injecting much needed eco-friendly investment into the economy.

South African Breweries (SAB) recently announced an R80million investment in their Nelson Mandela Bay Plant, opening a new Castle Lite production line.

With these and other opportunities in the Eastern Cape area, local business has the potential to benefit from the investments in this area by ensuring they are first in line to provide the goods and services needed for these projects.

BBBEE is a tool which businesses can use to their competitive advantage. With the recent changes in BBBEE legislation, you need to know where your company now fits into the amended scorecard.

We take this opportunity to share the answers to some of the many queries we are receiving at the moment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed in BBBEE?
In October 2013, the dti gazetted a new more stringent BBBEE scorecard, which is now coming into effect.

Do the amended codes apply to me?
The amended codes apply to ALL entities under the general scorecard, with a financial period ending after 30 April 2015.

If you fall under a sector scorecard – construction, Chartered Accountancy (CA), tourism, transport, AgriBEE, forestry, ICT, property, finance – you are still required to be verified under your existing scorecard and the amended codes do not (yet) apply to you.

The sector councils are in the process of aligning the sector scorecards to the amended codes and these will be gazetted for public comment before becoming compulsory. The deadline for this is 30 October 2015. The minister has indicated that those not aligned by then may be repealed. This means that those sectors will fall away and entities falling under them will then be measured under the general amended scorecard.

The deadline for this is 30 October and almost all sectors have missed the boat. To date, the only sectors aligned and released for public comment have been tourism and a new sector – Marketing, Advertising and Communication (MAC).

What are the new exemption and turnover thresholds under the amended codes?
Under the amended codes, certain sized entities no longer need a BBBEE certificate, they can confirm their status and level with an affidavit. Turnover thresholds have increased for EMEs and QSEs, making it easier and cheaper to comply with BBBEE and levels have been enhanced for black owned companies.

Templates for affidavits can be found on the DTI website: http://www.thedti.gov.za/economic_empowerment/bee_codes.jsp. These can be completed by qualifying entities and commissioned free of charge at a police station.

What is "black”?
A black person is defined under the codes as:
"Africans, Coloureds and Indians"

  • Who are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or descent; or
  • Who became citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation-
    • Before 27 April 1994;
    • On or after 27 April 1994 and who would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to that date”

Chinese people who meet these criteria are counted under the "Coloured" group.

What is "Black Owned"?
A company is considered to be black owned where:

  • Black people hold at least 51% of the exercisable voting rights of the company;
  • Black people hold at least 51% of the economic interest of the company;
  • Has earned all the points for net value - i.e. there is no debt on the shareholding

What do the new codes mean to me?
The amended codes will result in the majority of companies falling 2-4 levels on their B-BBEE scorecard. This is due to the introduction of higher targets and discounting of levels, where priority targets have not been achieved. Rest assured that all companies are in the same boat, where black ownership has not been optimized.

If you rely on your B-BBEE scorecard for contracts, make sure you have put steps into place to keep your score at a level higher than your competitor.

How can Grant Thornton help?
As well as B-BBEE verification services, we also provide the following services:

  • Training - including supplier training days
  • Gap analysis
  • Scenario planning
  • Retainer based monthly/quarterly scorecard updates to assist with scorecard monitoring
  • Consulting - where we are not also the verification agency
  • Newsletters and updates via email, LinkedIn and twitter

Updates and roadshows hosted with various partners to highlight value-add solutions.

Image: The Port Elizabeth team is headed up by Marike Muller. Marike is an admitted attorney and joined the team in 2012 as an analyst. She has completed the DTI's B-BBEE management development programme through WITS and has been assessed by SANAS as a technical signatory.

Marike is supported by a team of analysts and a second technical signatory, who together deliver B-BBEE services to companies all over the Eastern Cape and sometimes beyond.

Contact Marike if you would like further information on how the amended codes will affect your business or if you would like to find out more about how we can help you.

Watch our LinkedIn and twitter feeds for updates such as these, or sign up to our monthly newsletter "BEE in the Know":

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Twitter: @gtvservices
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