Dr Iqbal Surve is the Executive Chairman of Independent Media. File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Empowerdex’s latest most empowered company survey shows African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) tops the list.

This based on the 2013 Code of Good Practice, while Vodacom SA is the Most Empowered Company according to the 2007 Code of Good Practice.

Research for the annual survey for South Africa’s Top 100 Most Empowered JSE-listed companies was conducted by empowerment ratings agency Empowerdex. The results, released in partnership with Independent Media’s business publication Business Report, and specialist research and media house Intellidex, were announced at a special function in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

This year’s Most Empowered Companies rankings differ from previous years because many companies have converted to the revised 2013 Codes of Good Practice, while others are still operating under the 2007 codes.

That is mainly because their industries are yet to establish their own, industry-specific transformation codes or charters, but expect to do so by year-end. According to Empowerdex, there are two sets of rankings this year, one for each group. Except for venture capital and development board companies, the participants in this year’s survey are all the companies listed on the JSE, including AltX.

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This is the first year that AEEI qualifies to be in the main rankings of the Most Empowered Companies survey because it was previously classified as a qualifying small enterprise (now termed exempt micro-enterprises). AEEI’s total BEE score of 102.47 points puts it ahead of Oceana Group (last year’s winner), which scored 97.82 points.

Amongst those companies still operating under the 2007 Codes of Good Practice, Vodacom SA had the highest score with 98.25 points, followed by Nedbank with 97.34 points.

The 2016 awards function, attended by business transformation and industry leaders, academics and government officials, was held in conjunction with a panel discussion led by industry experts Sisa Ntshona of the Enterprise Development Council of South Africa, Thembi Chagonda of Global Business Solutions and Nomzamo Xaba of Empowerdex, who spoke on the topic: After nine years of active measurement of BEE and with the codes changing twice over the past nine years, are companies still transforming or have they given up?

“As South Africa’s truly black-empowered media publishing company, it is an honour for us to once more be the platform for the release of the results of South Africa’s Most Empowered Companies. Apart from listing the results of the research assessment, The Empowerment Magazine also focuses on the progress of transformation in the various sectors as well as insights from thought leaders on employment equity, enterprise development and other scorecard categories,” said Independent Media’s Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

According to Colin Anthony of Intellidex, a striking aspect of this year’s assessment of empowerment within JSE-listed companies is that despite the conversion to the revised 2013 Codes of Good Practice, many of the top-ranked companies still recorded high overall BEE scores. “This is no mean feat. The widespread expectation was that companies would see their BEE recognition levels reduced because the new codes have more stringent qualifying criteria – and indeed, many companies did score lower than last year”, he said.

All the results are available in Friday’s issue of Business Report. The Empowerment Magazine will be distributed in Independent Media’s national Sunday publications - Sunday Independent, Sunday Tribune and Weekend Argus, on October 16.

Independent Media and AEEI are subsidiaries of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings.