How the coronavirus and social distancing will impact South Africa’s BEE regulations

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way South Africans live, interact and conduct business – and Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment is no different, says Sanjay Kassen, head of ENSafrica’s B-BBEE practice group.

All companies undergoing a B-BBEE verification are required to permit their B-BBEE verification agencies to conduct on-site inspections and personal interviews as part of the verification process, said Kassen.

“B-BBEE verification agencies, which are required to be accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), are required to follow the procedures and processes prescribed by SANAS in performing B-BBEE verifications,” he said.

“Importantly, SANAS’ procedures provide that a B-BBEE verification agency must base its verification on information that has been verified by an on-site visit to the measured entity. Moreover, no B-BBEE score can be given without an on-site assessment of the entity in question.”

In an attempt to address the health challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and to promote social distancing, Kassen said that SANAS has temporarily relaxed these requirements and will now permit the following:

  • B-BBEE verification agencies may conduct on-site visits remotely via any suitable recorded video communications channel;
  • Any required B-BBEE verification documents may be submitted to the B-BBEE verification agency or may be viewed via any suitable video communications channel, which must be recorded appropriately;
  • Interviews may be conducted via any suitable video/teleconferencing communications channel, which must be recorded and saved;
  • A director of the measured entity must provide a sworn affidavit confirming the information provided to the B-BBEE verification agency, its physical location and that such information is true and accurate;
  • A measured entity must provide the B-BBEE verification agency with proof of its physical address, which is not older than three months.

“This approach by SANAS is welcomed in these challenging times. In order to avoid any delays in conducting B-BBEE verifications and in the interests of promoting more social distancing, companies should implement the necessary measures in order to ensure that its B-BBEE verifications are able to be completed remotely,” said Kassen.

Read: South Africa working on new sick leave rules for coronavirus

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How the coronavirus and social distancing will impact South Africa’s BEE regulations