Construction sector firms have been warned it is a contravention of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act for any entity to have multiple scorecards for the same period.
Felix Fongoqa, the chairman of the Construction Sector Charter Council, said yesterday that it was aware that some client bodies, for instance in the mining industry, also expected companies to have a BBBEE certificate that complied with the mining charter.
Some state-owned enterprises also generally wanted a generic BBBEE scorecard.
“That is not right or permissible. You are in the construction sector. You can only have a certificate based on the construction code. We have embarked on a journey to conscientise client bodies in this regard,” he told the annual conference of Master Builders South Africa.
He said the council had decided to embark on a baseline project with the main aim of establishing the state of empowerment and the progress of transformation in the sector since the construction sector code was gazetted in 2009.
He appealed to construction firms to co-operate in providing credible, factual and substantive information about transformation in the industry for the departments of Trade and Industry and Public Works, the BBBEE Advisory Council and the industry itself.
“The problem is that if we don’t have our own data that is credible, measurable and verifiable, others will talk on our behalf. They will not necessarily measure the same things that we are measuring but will nevertheless talk on our behalf because they have some data. It’s imperative we produce our own information,” he said.
Fongoqa referred to the quarterly report released by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in April, which measured black ownership as any firm that had black ownership of 50 percent plus one. He said this was not aligned to the 30 percent ownership level in the construction sector charter or the seven elements of the BBBEE codes.
The CIDB report found that 68 percent of construction firms in grades 7 and 8 were at least 50 percent plus one black-owned. Fongoqa said this was “very good” and a statistic to be commended because it meant the industry was doing something about transformation.
However, Fongoqa admitted the industry was still facing black-ownership challenges at grade 9 for both building and civil engineering contractors.
But he said the Employment Equity Commission said at top management level the industry only had a total of 26.5 percent black participation. In terms of the construction sector code for year four onwards, the industry was supposed to be at 40 percent in that category and, based on the statistics from the commission, it appeared it was still battling to meet its employment equity targets, he said.
Fongoqa stressed there were gaps in the information that was in the public domain because the data did not necessarily talk to the seven elements forming part of the construction sector code, it was narrow based and the information could not be used as a true reflection of where industry was in regard to transformation.
He said the council had established a database for information about the industry.
“What we are gathering is not the certificates but the scorecard. Once we get that information we will report on your achievements as an industry and help in creating an enabling environment in which the industry can achieve its stated goals.”