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21 August 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued a warning over the growing number of fraudulent broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) certificates.
The government said there had been an increase in the circulation of false certificates verifying that businesses are BBBEE compliant. It warned that individuals, sometimes claiming to be working for the DTI or verification agencies, were issuing bogus certificates.
Buyers have to meet targets of contracts awarded to BBBEE businesses and use the certificates as evidence. But companies with fraudulent BBBEE certificates could face prosecution and be excluded from the National Treasury’s central database of suppliers.
“There’s always been a tendency to defraud or misrepresent companies. There have been more incidents occurring now as the implementation of the BBBEE code of good practice is becoming a common business imperative, having been implemented five years ago,” Nomonde Mesatywa, chief director for BBBEE at the DTI, told SM. “Also, at the end of last year the Preferential Procurement Regulations were passed meaning the procurement regulations for public sector contracts are now aligned to BBBEE businesses.”
The DTI advised BBBEE certificates can only be issued for companies by agencies approved by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and registered auditors approved by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors. Certificates can be verified by checking the professional body practice number of the BBBEE accounting officer.