The Association of B-BBEE Professionals and the National Association of BEE Consultants (NABC) announced they are merging to form a single professional body for the broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) industry.
The new entity will retain the Association of B-BBEE Professionals (ABP) name, as it is in line with the new BEE Act and general enough to cover the whole industry, which includes verification agencies, consultants and practitioners.
At the same time, the new ABP announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).
The launch of a professional body for the B-BBEE industry should be seen in the context of the drive by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to harmonise accreditation and verification practices in line with the amended B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and the amended Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, which came into effect in October 2014. The DTI has recognised the ABP as the professional body representing and governing all members of the B-BBEE industry.
The ABP is taking the lead to create and enforce a code of conduct for the B-BBEE industry, set the necessary academic and other qualifications, and provide continuous professional development.
“We are thrilled to be finalising the merger between the B-BBEE industry’s two main representatives, so creating one professional organisation. Black economic empowerment is a key element of the country’s transformation journey, and ensuring it is properly managed is critical, and we look forward to working with the DTI in the future,” says Dionne Kerr, Vice Chairperson of the NABC and Chair of the Industry Body Steering Committee.
“Our members have supported this move, and we are confident that they will benefit significantly from being part of a more professional industry that is able to speak with one voice.”
SAIPA Technical and Standards Executive, Faith Ngwenya, is also upbeat about her organisation’s involvement in the new industry body. “Partnering with the ABP means we will be able to help shape the code of conduct and academic qualifications for certification in the B-BBEE space, and our members will be able to participate in ABP’s continuous professional development programme at preferential rates,” she says. “SAIPA has been a professional body for many years, so we also hope that experience will be of value in this new partnership.”
David Ndou, chairperson of ABP, says that the launch of the merged organisation as a fully-fledged professional body is an important milestone in the development of B-BBEE. “Creating a single voice for the industry will have a stabilising effect as there will no longer be differing interpretations of the law and the B-BBEE codes. Clients will get a better service, and they will have recourse in case of a dispute,” he says.
“Professionalising the industry in partnership with the NABC and SAIPA also brings benefits for our members, who will gain the recognition that comes with accreditation by a professional body, and a way to engage with government.
“We at the ABP look forward to working with members and other stakeholders, including the DTI, to take the transformation process to the next level.”