Technology industry players have begun expressing reservations about the lack of a transition period and confusion as to whether existing black economic empowerment (BEE) compliance documents remain applicable following the publication in June of the BEE charter for the sector.
Various ICT players attending an SA Communications Forum workshop on Tuesday said there was confusion about whether companies were immediately in breach of the charter upon its publication if they didn’t meet its criteria.
Some players said they’d been led to understand that their existing BEE certificates remained valid until they were due for renewal.
But Moleboge Lekwane of Mkhabela Huntley Adekeye Attorneys refuted this and said many companies were not compliant and would need to be reaccredited. “I think that’s an oversight,” she said.
Some players were “forward thinking” and sought advice about the code’s potential implications and prepared for these, while others did not, she said.
Norman Munzhelele, chief director of information and communications technology (ICT) policy at the department of communications, said his department was engaging with the department of trade & industry about these issues and understood the need for clarity.
He said SA’s ICT sector was “unique” and must be treated as such. The charter “cannot be just another sector code. It needs to talk to us and to what we want to achieve as a sector.”
According to Munzhelele, some companies want to “pick and choose elements of the charter”, but this was not acceptable and the charter “must be seen as a whole”.
He said the document was the result of discussion, negotiation and compromise.
The department of communications planned to establish a BEE Sector Codes Council to deal with concerns around the charter. Munzhelele said the department was still working out how the council would function, how its members would be nominated and how it would be funded. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media