Jewellery sector told to comply

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The jewellery sector is under pressure to comply with the BEE Codes of Good Practice in order for companies to receive operating licences by May this year.

To qualify for a permit, jewellers must get police clearance, tax clearance (personal and company), a five-year BEE plan and a business plan.

The five-year plan includes full criteria on employing blacks, training, forming corporate partnerships with black-owned companies and using black suppliers.

It is not yet clear what will happen to companies that are run by families and employ five or less people.

Industry insiders said most companies were closing down or intended closing down because of these BEE policies.

Kurt Franzmann, an accountant at a small jewellery manufacturing company Bijoux-Giovanni Jewellery, said it was "impractical and costly" to expect small companies in the industry to comply with the codes.

He said: "These BEE policies cost a lot and they will end up forcing people to close business, so in the long run the jewellery industry will suffer.

"There are a lot of small companies in our industry and it is really not practical because it translates into more paper work and many small companies won't even get licences because of this.

"A colleague of mine has already spent R40000 just to get the application done and it's not yet complete," Franzmann said.