The higher education sector in South Africa every has reason to celebrate as the amendments to the Department of Trade and Industry’s B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice came into effect as of December 1. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA) Archives

CAPE TOWN – The higher education sector in South Africa every has reason to celebrate as the amendments to the Department of Trade and Industry’s broad-based black economic empowement (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice came into effect as of December 1.

Published in May 2019, the amendments come with a requirement that 2.5 percent of a corporation’s annual payroll is spent on funding higher education, a move set to help resolve the issue of access to education in South Africa.

Nyasha Njela, resource mobilisation manager at online student crowdfunding platform, Feenix, said the amendments to the B-BBEE scorecard were a positive step towards addressing the challenge that many students faced in the country.

Njela said the amendments to the B-BBEE scorecard, in relation to skills development, have a specific focus on supporting higher education students. “This will encourage companies to provide funding for previously disadvantaged students for which they will earn up to four points on the scorecard.” 

The amendments include a revised code 300 for the skills development generic scorecard, and indicators for employed and unemployed learnerships are now said to be combined.

Human Nature Consulting director, Jo-Anne Hay, said there were two main challenges in the domestic economy that drove these amendments, namely, job creation and addressing funding for tertiary education.

“The 2.5 percent target is a significant part of the skills development scorecard and corporates will need to focus on this to maintain their required B-BBEE Levels. It would be beneficial for corporates to instead concentrate on their core business and work with an organisation such as Feenix to ensure the effective allocation of funding,” said Hay.

One of the main challenges businesses who choose to contribute to bursaries face, is to identify and vet students within their sector and to manage the administration of the funding and support payments and this is where organisations like Feenix step in.

Hay said the compliance needed to claim this spend for B-BBEE purposes was very specific and could be challenging to obtain the documentation required from each student. 

As a crowdfunding platform for education, one of its purposes is to connect funders with university students. Njela said Feenix carried out a vetting process for each student and ensured that all documentation required for B-BBEE verification was obtained.

Major changes to the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice are as follows:

Absorption

Now restricted to the securing of long term employment and no longer includes further education and training. This is a significant change affecting 5 Skills Development Bonus points.

Designated group supplier

This is a clarification and means a supplier that is at least 51% owned by black people defined under Black Designated Groups.

Long-term contract of employment

Means a legal agreement between an individual and an entity that would employ the individual until his or her mandatory date of retirement.

30% black women-owned

Means an Entity in which: (a) Black women hold at least 30% of the exercisable voting rights as determined under Code series 100; Black women hold at least 30% of the economic interest as determined under Code series 100; and (c) has earned all the points for Net Value under statement 100.

Current equity interest date

Replaces the Net-Value Date with an amended wording that relates to the commencement of the Time-based Graduation Factor. It means the later of either the date of commencement of statement 100 or the date upon which the black ownership transaction became effective and unconditional.

Qualifying ESD contributions

Amends the qualification of beneficiaries to 51% Black Owned or Black Women-owned QSEs or EMEs. Previously it included 30% Black Women-owned entities.

Additional information sourced from BEE Ratings-SA

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