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The Stakes are High , SANAS ACCREDITATION By: Stella Nolan





By: Stella Nolan

What is the SANAS mandate?

Conformity with the Codes of Good Practice (Codes) led to

establishing an accreditation programme for B-BBEE Rating

Agencies under the auspices of the South African National

Accreditation System (SANAS). The Department of Trade,

Industry and Competition (the dtic) gave SANAS the mandate

to develop, maintain and enforce the accreditation criteria of

B-BBEE Rating Agencies.

As per statement 005 of the Codes, SANAS is the only

accreditation body that oversees B-BBEE Rating Agencies.

Therefore, the SANAS accreditation process is of the highest

standard of compliance in line with the verification manual and

the R47-03 document. All B-BBEE Certificates issued by an

accredited B-BBEE Rating Agency must include its unique

accreditation number and the SANAS accreditation symbol.

SANAS is responsible for carrying out assessments to drive

conformity with a mandate through the Accreditation for

Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory

Practice Act (Act 19 of 2006). Besides the Accreditation

of B-BBEE Rating Agencies, the SANAS mandate covers

accreditation for Calibration Laboratories, Certification Bodies,

Chemical and Microbiological Laboratories, Forensic Laboratories,

Inspection Bodies, Medical Laboratories, Pharmaceutical

Laboratories, Physical and Mechanical Laboratories, Producers

of Certified Reference Materials, Proficiency Testing Service

Providers, Testing Laboratories, Verification Laboratories and

Veterinary Laboratories.

How does SANAS ensure conformity of

B-BBEE Rating Agencies?

Core to ensuring ethical and transparent B-BBEE Verifications

is the annual assessment undertaken by each B-BBEE Rating

Agency. The result of this assessment is what determines a

B-BBEE Rating Agency’s continued accreditation. In addition,

the annual re-evaluation of accreditation ensures consistent and

accurate processes and procedures, ensuring that B-BBEE Rating

Agencies conduct B-BBEE Verifications in line with the verification

manual and R47-03 document.

An assessment team is allocated to a B-BBEE Rating Agency,

made up of a Team Leader and a Technical Assessor. The

team members are representatives from the public, private and

academic sectors. Before participating in an assessment, each

assessor undergoes comprehensive training for compliance

requirements on both the Codes of Good Practice and the Sector

Codes of Good Practice.

A Team Leader is responsible for managing the assessment

team and evaluating the quality management system used

by a B-BBEE Rating Agency. A Technical Assessor’s role and

responsibility is to:

> Witness the performance of B-BBEE Verifications;

> Evaluate the accuracy of how a B-BBEE Rating Agency

applied the requirements held in the verification manual; and

> Evaluate the B-BBEE Rating Agency’s employees and

technical signatories to appraise their overall performance,

including their continuous training and knowledge on

amendments published.

An Assessment Team is responsible for recording evidence

provided to the B-BBEE Rating Agency by its client. If a team

uncovers deficiencies, they are recorded as non-conformances

that will require corrective action by the B-BBEE Rating

Agency. Once a B-BBEE Rating Agency confirms that all

non-conformance issues have been addressed, an Approval

Committee (AC) reviews the evidence. Following that, the

AC will either approve or suspend the accreditation of the

B-BBEE Rating Agency.

What is the impact of a SANAS Assessment

on a B-BBEE Rating Agency?

SANAS is the sole accreditation body overseeing the

accreditation of B-BBEE Rating Agencies in South Africa, where

the highest standards are upheld. The SANAS website keeps an

up-to-date list of the accredited B-BBEE Rating Agencies, which

includes their accreditation status, listed as accredited, expired,

withdrawn or suspended.

A B-BBEE Rating Agency may not conduct a B-BBEE Verification

or issue a B-BBEE Certificate if their accreditation has expired,

been withdrawn or suspended. The following scenario outlines

the impact of a B-BBEE Certificate issued by a B-BBEE Rating

Agency that is no longer accredited.

On 1st September 2020, following an annual assessment,

SANAS suspended XYZ Rating Agency’s accreditation, as it did

not meet the requirements outlined in the verification manual or


A B-BBEE Rating agency has successfully passed the SANAS accreditation process and applied to retain its

status as a SANAS Accredited B-BBEE Rating Agency.

Expired When a B-BBEE Rating Agency has allowed their SANAS Accreditation to expire.

Withdrawn Where a B-BBEE Rating Agency either voluntarily or involuntarily withdraws its accreditation.


SANAS has issued a B-BBEE Rating Agency with a serious non-conformance regarding their B-BBEE Verification

processes and procedures.

Following a suspension, SANAS investigates the severe non-conformance/s. Depending on the result, a B-BBEE

Rating Agency may retain its accreditation status.

R47-03 document. In addition, it was issued with severe non conformances for principles they applied when measuring the

Ownership of their client, ABC Traders. Thus, their accreditation

was immediately suspended, pending an investigation.

Following the outcome of the investigation, XYZ Rating Agency

amended its procedures and rectified the principle it used for

measuring Ownership.

Consequently, XYZ Rating Agency had to withdraw ABC

Traders’ B-BBEE Certificate and re-issue it, applying the correct

principles for measuring Ownership. Similarly, XYZ Rating

Agency had to follow the same procedure for all its other clients

where they applied the incorrect Ownership principles in its

B-BBEE Verifications.

On 15th January 2021, XYZ Rating Agency had its suspension

lifted and its accreditation reinstated.

Therefore, between 1st September 2020 and 15th January 2021,

XYZ Rating Agency was not accredited to conduct any B-BBEE

Verifications or issue any B-BBEE Certificates. Consequently,

if any B-BBEE Certificates were issued during that time, they

would be invalid. However, for any B-BBEE Certificate issued

by XYZ Rating Agency prior to 1st September 2020 or after

15th January 2021, their validity remains intact. Nevertheless,

had the investigation revealed severe non-conformance

issues requiring extreme measures, SANAS could have

indefinitely maintained the suspension of XYZ Rating Agency’s

accreditation; hence it would not be able to trade.

Consequently, XYZ Rating Agency had to retract, then re issue, the B-BBEE Certificate to ABC Traders and all other

organisations where its B-BBEE Certificate was issued using

the incorrect principles. ABC Traders, following the re-issue of

its B-BBEE Certificate, in turn, had to replace its invalid B-BBEE

Certificate with the re-issued one to all its customers.

One would, therefore, have to consider the consequences for

ABC Traders. For example, let’s assume they were awarded a

tender based on the initial B-BBEE Certificate, where a B-BBEE

Rating Agency applied the incorrect Ownership principles, and

the amendment meant a drop in Status Level. ABC Traders

would be at risk of losing that tender. Therefore, as the stakes

are so high, organisations must choose a B-BBEE Rating

Agency accredited with processes and procedures in place that

align with the Verification Manual and R47-03 document.

“Choose an accredited B-BBEE Rating

Agency as the stakes are high.”

Tips on how to evaluate the competence of a B-BBEE Rating Agency:

> Ensure that the B-BBEE Rating Agency is accredited to

perform a B-BBEE Verification on the Code on which an

organisation is measured. For example, XYZ Rating Agency

is accredited to perform a B-BBEE Verification on the

Generic Codes, but not on the Construction Sector Code.

> Whether choosing a new B-BBEE Rating Agency or using

the same one as the year before, confirm that it is, or has

remained, accredited and is not under suspension.

> Interview at least three B-BBEE Rating Agencies to determine:

o For which Code are they accredited to perform a

B-BBEE Verification?

o Do they outsource any part of their B-BBEE


o Do they have the internal capacity and infrastructure

to adequately conduct a B-BBEE Verification based

on the size and threshold of an organisation? Do a

site visit to confirm this.

o In the past year, have they had any severe non conformances issued by SANAS? If so, how were

these resolved?

o Has SANAS suspended them over the past year? If

so, why, and how was the issue resolved?

o Determine what their B-BBEE Verification policies and

process entail.

o What is the internal expertise held within the agency?

o How many Technical Signatories are employed by them?

o How long has the agency been in existence?

o Obtain a list of references to validate their competence.

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