Within the next two months, Microsoft SA will embark on a BEE equity equivalence programme – similar to the one Hewlett-Packard adopted – in a bid to up its status as a BEE supplier.
Due to the fact that many multinationals cannot simply sell 25% of their shareholding in BEE deals, many have come to arrangements whereby they invest the equivalent revenue of such a deal into upliftment programmes and projects. This is then reflected in their status as BEE suppliers to customers such as government and large corporates.
At the company's Partner Summit in Durban last week, MD Mteto Nyati told delegates that the equity equivalence programme was currently awaiting apporval from the SA government.
"In terms of BEE we are looking to get to Level 2 and right now we are in the process of getting regulatory approval from the Department of Communications," Nyati says. "We are investing a huge amount of money in SA where we think we can make a huge difference but, unfortunately, I can't share the details at the moment."
At a later interview, Nyati couldn't give additional details, but revealed the programme could be up and running within the next two months.
"In terms of the programme, ours will be slightly different [from HP's] but we will be using the same vehicle," he says. "We are currently doing an internal evaluation of those involved and what investment we have to make, but we have made a commitment to BEE.
"We need to address some key issues such as unemployment and small business and help them both," he adds. "They are both linked and if we start to address the issues in line with the challenges faced by this country, people can only support us. We hope the government will.
"In two months time I will be in a position to comment further," Nyati says. "It all depends on the approval of the government."