As the verification process is a very hands-on and evidence-based process it comes as no surprise that the standard process for handling B-BBEE verification during the lockdown process would become a contentious point.
We are all well aware of the coronavirus’ pandemic and how it has changed all aspects of life worldwide and Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment would be severely hampered if no change to the methodology was brought forth by the relevant authorities .
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. This includes provision of all evidence to illustrate compliance with the elements of the scorecard.
All verification agencies are required to be accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).
These verification agencies must follow a standard set of procedures and processes prescribed by SANAS in performing B-BBEE verifications however this becomes a momentous task if the agency is not able to meet with the clients and review all relevant evidence. 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. No B-BBEE score can be given without an on-site assessment of the entity in question.
As part of the current pandemic and lockdown issues as well as the health challenges faced by everyone SANAS has temporarily relaxed these requirements.
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 and must be recorded as such.
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.
In line with social distancing measures currently in place all companies should implement the necessary measures in order to ensure that its B-BBEE verifications are completed remotely and in time before the current certificate expires.
Author Craig Tonkin