The government yesterday released the final draft of its much-anticipated black economic empowerment standards after heavy criticism from business.
The standards, entitled Codes of Good Practice for Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBEE), outline what companies must do to fulfil the government's BEE policy requirements.
The government met with stakeholders last month after business operators complained that the codes were too complicated.
Certain sectors and small businesses claimed that they were unfairly affected by the codes, originally set out in December last year.
Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa was confident that the fine-tuned version of the BEE codes was a simpler document with greater clarity.
Cabinet approved the new standards last week, which will go for gazetting in January and will be implemented a year later.
"I suspect that we have got it right this time," he said.
"The biggest challenge was defining a small company."
According to the original code, any company earning less than R5million was considered a small company.
"When you look at the agricultural sector, this excludes 90 percent of the sector," Mpahlwa said.
Emex BEE Verification Agency chief executive Dries Visser said that he expected to see a sharp rise in the number of companies seeking BEE scorecards.
"Seventy percent of people's non-committal to BEE guidelines was simply because the codes were not released," he said.
"We expect a 50 percent increase in companies seeking scorecards, mostly in the medium market, R5million and up."
One of the most notable features was the introduction of compliance targets directed towards procurement from black women.
A company might earn 15 points from a possible 100 by using suppliers that are 30 percent black women owned and will earn the same amount of points if the supplier is a 50 percent black owned company.