Black economic empowerment must be broad-based to succeed
Black economic empowerment (BEE) has been in the news extensively with this year’s fees must fall protests. In an article in Business Day last month Gideon Gerber, an attorney specialising in BEE structuring and compliance, wrote about various solutions to fund higher education. Two of his proposed solutions involve setting up a fund into which businesses can donate 6% of their annual payroll to earn their BEE points. This money will then be used to fund higher education. Alternatively, he proposes that the required expenditure on skills development for black economic empowerment is reduced from 6% to 5% and the compulsory skills development levy increased from 1% to 1,5%.
The latter solution sounds like a more viable solution to me because a portion of the compulsory skills development levy goes into the National Skills Fund (NSF) of which a portion is used to fund higher education.
The problem I have with his proposal that involves donating 6% of the annual payroll to fund higher education is that such a change will result in having to modify the entire Black Economic Empowerment Act. The purpose of the BEE Act is to provide development across the board, therefore the term broad-based. Should the proposed funding solution be implemented it will provide free higher education to students and development of other groups of people will be left behind.
Black economic empowerment must be broad-based to succeed. This means that businesses must plan to achieve the maximum possible points on the skills development element of the BEE scorecard through basic literacy and numeracy training for black adult employees, training of unemployed black disabled people from the community, and learnerships for young black school-leavers.
It sounds like a hopeless task but with a business partner like Triple E Training, that takes care of all the administration and facilitation of your skills development programmes, it is possible to comply to skills development as a priority element of the BEE scorecard.
Don’t let the submission of your workplace skills plan (WSP) to the relevant SETA in June 2017 catch you off-guard. Call me on 010 597 7611 and I will help you plan to meet the requirements of the skills development element of the BEE scorecard.