BEE verifications for Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSEs) produced after 1 August could be invalid.
Keith Levenstein, CEO of BEE consultancy EconoBEE, says: “The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) recently issued regulations stating that certificates produced after 01 August 2009 will only be valid if produced by an accredited verification agency or one that has a pre-assessment letter from SANAS (the South African National Accreditation System)."
SANAS is mandated to accredit verification agencies and have so far accredited 19, which are able render verification services for the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice, specifically Codes 100,200 300, 400,500,600 and 700. However they do not have accreditation rights to render services on a number of other codes, such as. code 800 – which is where the QSE code of practice falls under.
"Therefore, a company that gets a certificate from an agency that produces a certificate for a QSE but is not accredited for this particular task will result in that certificate being invalid," says Levenstein.
He adds that accredited agencies don't have rights to render accreditation services for the recently gazetted sector codes of construction, tourism and forestry.
"This is more problematical because methodology around code 800 is at least covered by the guidelines issued by the DTI in July 2008 – so, in theory, SANAS could quite quickly issue pre-assessment letters to accredited agencies and then accredit the agencies.
"In all likelihood this was an error by SANAS, but they have to remedy it before 1 August. We cannot have a situation where SANAS, the controlling body, bends its own rules."
Levenstein says he is raising the matter now to ensure that verification is done properly and the law is applied correctly.
"This is, quite simply, a mess. If verification is to be done properly then SANAS and the DTI should lead the way in doing their job properly."