IT-ONLINE / 19 AUGUST 2020 - 17.54 / STAFF REPORTER
South African based business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions provider Merchants has become the first BPO provider in the country of its size to achieve a level one B-BBEE status under the revised Generic Codes of Good Practice, just a year after achieving level 2 status.
The business is 51% black owned, with 30% black female ownership.
“The journey to B-BBEE level 1 was not without its challenges,” explains Sydwell Shikweni, transformation director at Merchants. “The newly revised generic codes in this regard, effective as of December 2019, required further transformation measures in terms of among others, skills development and preferential procurement.
“The effort has however been incredibly rewarding ensuring sustainable transformation and the development of our people, a core part of the business’ value proposition.”
In terms of the business’ scorecard, Merchants scored 25/25 for Ownership and 6/6 for Board Composition and Executive Directors. The Enterprise Development score, Supplier Development score, and Socio-Economic Development score remained steady at maximum possible of 7, 10 and 5 points respectively, when compared to last year.
Meanwhile, Preferential procurement has improved significantly from 24.50 in 2019 to 28.44 in 2020, out of the total 29 points. Merchants also participated in the Youth Employment Services (YES) initiative – which was introduced into the Generic Codes of Good Practice in 2018 – with an intake of 89 candidates.
“Improving our B-BBEE credentials has been an ongoing goal as part of our commitment to our transformation journey as a business. We have an effective B-BBEE committee, a sub-committee of the board chaired by our Transformation Director, and transformation is a standing agenda item in our Social and Ethics Committee and board meetings,” says Zain Patel, MD of Merchants SA.
“This achievement is not only positive for our business as well as that of our clients, but is a clear result of our ongoing commitment to a meaningful and sustainable business and is proof of our strategic drive toward transformation within the business,” concludes Shikweni.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER