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    Arrive Alive | 10 June 2024 Empowering young people with skills and knowledge is an essential activity in building and maintaining the economy of any society. The spotlight is increasingly falling on vocational skills and the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), the leading voice in the automotive aftermarket, says that during Youth Month there is no better time to applaud Government’s efforts to tackle youth unemployment in the long term by prioritising education and the skills deficit that exists. Ipeleng Mabusela, RMI CEO: Strategy and Corporate support says if the country wants to address the current skills crisis we need to strengthen and build more TVET Colleges and shift focus towards more vocational and technical education. “Vocational skills form the backbone of any economy and can be a valuable stepping stone to advanced careers in the future,” he says. In the automotive aftermarket sector specifically, growth is definitely predicted from the small to medium businesses that are going to drive the economy. “It is here that we are sitting with a skills crisis of technicians across the automotive sector. As an industry we have to address the automotive skills shortages, reduce unemployment and be part of real transformation. The reality is that there has been no real skills development and/or under-investment in human capital for many years in our country. Skills have been outpaced by technology and there has been a loss of businesses and profits. Improved skills will result in increased productivity. It is all about professional standards and changing of perceptions and encouraging business owners to draw in new entrants into the sector,” says Mabusela. Mabusela believes if we can drive the inclusion of more apprentices and start migrating the informal business into the formal sector, we will have a far stronger sector.  “Significantly for every small and informal business or every apprentice successfully converted and absorbed into the formal sector, 5 jobs are likely to be created. Each of these newly employed people in turn, financially support another 20 people on average in the process,” he says. And this commitment is not filled with empty promises. Since 2017 RMI has been integrally involved with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to assume the role of Occupational Team Convener (OTC) for the Diesel and Automotive Motor mechanic trades using the occupational qualification delivery method at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa. They have also partnered with the German Chamber of Crafts Erfurt, more popularly known as Handwerkskammer Erfurt (HWK Erfurt), to upskill lecturers drive vocational training in the automotive aftermarket. Almaine Horne, Acting Registrar: School of Occupation and Training for Eastcape Midlands TVET College (EMC) is one of the colleges in the Eastern Cape that have benefited from the training.  Horne believes a TVET qualification is so relevant in today’s world since it is a skills-centered training programme which equips unemployed youth with the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure that they are ready for the modern day work environment. ‘And,” she says, “our collaboration and partnerships with industry ensure that our learners are fully empowered to meet the needs of industry.” Many of the ECM students come from poor disadvantaged backgrounds in Kariega, Gqeberha and surrounding areas and this is one way they can change their lives. Mabusela says the transfer of knowledge and skills becomes easy if there is an adequate balance between the theoretical and the practical component of the training and that is why industry needs to work so closely with academia. “It makes it more effective for the students to grasp content because they are able to build on the knowledge and skills attained by continuously sharpening their skills and practicing and polishing up their craft in a practical workspace.” More recently, through one of the RMI’s constituent associations, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), the organisation has also been targeting technical schools through their Motor Mech competitions which at held at Port Rex in East London. Daniel Pienaar Technical High school in Gqeberha and HTS Drosdty in Worcester. “We believe if we are to be successful in addressing the skills gap we need to attract young people right from school level. Here the students can be introduced to more technical subjects like Mathematics/Technical Mathematics, Physical Science or Technical Science, Engineering Graphics and Design (the design elements of parts and body style) and Mechanical Technology (Automotive), as well as Fitting and Machining (the manufacturing of parts). Johan Havenga from HTS Drosdty agrees stressing the importance of  schools working together with training centres, industry and Higher Qualification Institutions so that students can start working in the industry when they are in school still. Competition like Motor Mech expose the industry to these learners. Jason Bekker from Port Rex says it is very rare that schools and the private automotive industry get together and collaborate and give learners an exciting platform to kick start their careers. “It’s really a special relationship as learners get a huge head start once they complete their schooling due to the many eyes drawn to these shows, and for those who excel, apprenticeship opportunities literally fall at their feet.” He is also completely in agreement that schools and colleges should align more closely with industry by updating their curricula to reflect current industry needs. The DHET’s Centre of Specialisation (CoS) at the Athlone campus of the College of Cape Town has seen keen interest from RMI members at vehicle dealerships and independent mechanical repair workshops. The recipe is working for the College, Industry and young apprentices, and  ideally should be replicated across the country. “Employers are literally queuing to have their apprentices trained by our College. They see the Return on Investment, willingness to host the apprentices, and to assign a workplace mentor. In the current intake, the College is the lead employer and the training provider. This means the apprentices are paid by the College and the employers are the host, providing the necessary ingredient of exposure and training at the workplace on latest technology,” comments Rasheed Adhikari, lecturer at the College of Cape Town’s Athlone campus. “If we can close the gap from high school to apprenticeship level we will have made significant progress and open up a wealth of new career opportunities for our young people in the future,” concludes Mabusela. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    BEE 123 | 11 June 2024 Four years ago, Skills123 embarked on a mission to transform lives and uplift communities through the power of education and skills development. This month, we celebrate the incredible journey and achievements of this remarkable organisation, which has been dedicated to upskilling youth and fostering training and development with unwavering passion and commitment. A vision of empowerment Founded on the belief that equipping young individuals with the necessary skills can open doors to countless opportunities, Skills123 has been a beacon of hope in a world of constant change. Recognising the evolving demands of the job market, Skills123 has worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between traditional education and the practical skills needed for modern careers. From its inception, Skills123 adopted an innovative and inclusive approach. The organisation understood that true empowerment comes from providing not only technical skills but also fostering critical thinking, creativity, and resilience. Over the past four years, this holistic vision has yielded remarkable results, touching the lives of thousands. Marrying business needs with transformation goals Central to Skills123's philosophy is the belief in marrying a company’s operational requirements with their B-BBEE scorecard obligations. By aligning training programs with both business needs and transformation goals, Skills123 ensures that companies achieve a return on investment while driving sustainable transformation. This integrated approach has been key to Skills123’s success, helping businesses grow and prosper while making a meaningful impact on the community. Transforming lives through comprehensive training One of Skills123's most significant achievements has been their comprehensive training programs, which have reached thousands of young people across various regions. These programs are meticulously designed to address the specific needs of diverse industries, ensuring that participants gain relevant and practical skills. From learnership programs and skills of the future workshops to leadership training and entrepreneurship courses, Skills123 has left no stone unturned in its quest to prepare the youth for the future. Their standout success stories include programs that have empowered over thousands of young individuals with cutting-edge technical skills. Graduates of these programs have gone on to secure permanent employment in leading companies and continue to contribute to the economic transformation of their communities. The stories of these young trailblazers are a testament to the profound impact of Skills123's initiatives. Milestone achievements and impact A significant milestone in Skills123's journey is the recent graduation of 58 talented disabled individuals from one of its key learnership programs, with an additional 2 set to complete later this year. Out of this graduating cohort, an impressive 52 learners have already signed absorption contracts for permanent employment. This achievement underscores the real-world impact of Skills123’s initiatives, reflecting the dedication and hard work of both the learners and the organisation. In partnership with one of our flagship clients, we facilitated a successful bursary fund, valued at R32m, which provided over 200 students with the opportunity to advance their studies. This initiative supported students in STEM disciplines, covering tuition fees, registration, accommodation, devices, textbooks and an annual living allowance. Such efforts not only provide financial assistance but also empower students to access quality education and reach their full potential. The wrap-around support enabled them to focus on their studies. Programme Types & Skills123 Impact Over 4-years These numbers speak volumes about the impact Skills123 has had on the lives of young individuals. The organisation has not only provided education and training but has also created tangible opportunities for permanent employment, further studies, and personal growth. Pioneering innovative solutions In an age where adaptability is key, Skills123 has continually evolved to meet new challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic posed unprecedented obstacles, yet Skills123 swiftly transitioned to virtual training models, ensuring that learning never stopped. Their resilience and ability to innovate during trying times have set a benchmark for other organisations. Moreover, Skills123’s collaboration with industry leaders and educational institutions has led to the development of cutting-edge curricula and certification programmes. These partnerships have not only enhanced the quality of training but have also provided participants with valuable industry insights and connections. Looking ahead: A bright future As we celebrate Skills123’s fourth anniversary, it is clear that their journey is just beginning. The foundation they have built over the past four years is solid, and their vision for the future is both ambitious and inspiring. With plans to expand their reach, introduce new programmes, and continue fostering a culture of continuous learning, Skills123 is poised to make an even greater impact in the years to come. Skills123’s four-year journey is a testament to the power of vision, dedication, and community. They have not only transformed lives through skills and training but have also created a movement that champions the potential of every young individual. By aligning business needs with transformative goals, Skills123 ensures a sustainable and impactful approach to empowerment. As we look back with pride and forward with hope, one thing is certain: Skills123 is lighting the path to a brighter and more empowered future for our youth. Here’s to four years of incredible achievements and to many more years of transforming lives. Happy anniversary, Skills123! ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Under Statement 400 of the Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice, clause 3.7 identifies the requirements for Enterprise and Supplier Development Beneficiaries. Clause 3.7 states the following: 3.7 Beneficiaries of Supplier Development or Enterprise Development are EMEs, QSEs or Generic Entities which are at least 51% Black Owned or at least 51% Black Women Owned utilizing the flow through principle. However, in terms of Generic Entities, this is based on the provision that at the first instance of receiving assistance from the Measured Entity, it was identified that such suppliers were EMEs or QSEs. This recognition for Generic Entities will only be allowed for 5 years from the first time of receiving assistance from the Measured Entity. Enterprise & Supplier Development Services are available to assist Members with understanding these requirements.


    Under B-BBEE Legislation the definition of “Black Designated Groups” is stated under Schedule 1 of the Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Black Designated Groups are defined as: (a) unemployed black people not attending and not required by law to attend an educational institution and not awaiting admission to an educational institution; (b) Black people who are youth as defined in the National Youth Commission Act of 1996; (c) Black people who are persons with disabilities as defined in the Code of Good Practice on employment of people with disabilities issued under the Employment Equity Act; (d) Black people living in rural and under developed areas; (e) Black military veterans who qualifies to be called a military veteran in terms of the Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011. B-BBEE Verification Services are available to Members in order to understand the definition of Black Designated Groups.


    The Definition of Youth falls within the Black Designated Groups category. It was enacted as per the National Youth Development Agency Act No 54 of 2008, published as Gazette #31780. It defines “Youth" as persons between the ages of 14 and 35. The preamble to the act gave the following rationale behind the Act. “Recognising the heroic struggles of generations of the youth to bring about freedom and democracy in South Africa; And since youth development is central in the reconstruction and development of South Africa; And whereas the government must take reasonable measures, within its available resources, to achieve progressive development of South Africa's youth; And whereas the interventions on youth development in South Africa must be implemented in a cohesive, seamless and integrated manner; Therefore the spirit and form of the National Youth Development Agency must give resonance to youth development in South Africa.” The concept of Black Designated Groups is found under the Ownership as well as Enterprise & Supplier Development elements from a point scoring perspective. B-BBEE Verification Services are available to Members in order to understand the definition of Youth.


    The Fried Tomato | 10 June 2024 Johannesburg, 10 June 2024: Daybreak Foods, a prominent player in the agribusiness sector, has taken a commendable step towards addressing the critical issue of youth unemployment in South Africa. The company is launching a partnership with the Youth Employment Service (YES) Programme, an initiative that is a beacon of hope for many young individuals who are seeking opportunities to kickstart their careers in agriculture and related industries. The YES Programme, which has been instrumental in creating job opportunities for the youth, aligns perfectly with Daybreak Foods’ commitment to social responsibility and economic development. The collaboration is set to provide 104 participants with invaluable work experience across all sectors of Daybreak’s business, fostering a new generation of agribusiness leaders. Richard Manzini, Daybreak’s CEO and a key figure in this partnership, has been actively involved in promoting opportunities in the agribusiness sector through his presentations at Mpumalanga University and Fort Hare University in recent weeks. His efforts have both highlighted the potential of the agricultural sector in driving economic growth and inspired many young minds to consider agribusiness as a viable and rewarding career path. The impact of such partnerships cannot be overstated. They play a pivotal role in equipping the youth with the necessary skills and experience required to thrive in the competitive job market. Moreover, by focusing on agribusiness, Daybreak Foods is nurturing talent in a sector that is crucial for the country’s food security and sustainability. Manzini comments “Daybreak has to prioritise fulfilling its investment mandate to advance transformation in the agriculture industry, one of the least transformed sectors in the country. Job creation and preservation, including jobs for youth, and creating meaningful economic platforms to address poverty in our host communities, are key to our success.” The initiative by Daybreak Foods is a testament to the power of collaboration between the private sector and youth empowerment programmes. It serves as an example for other corporations to follow, emphasizing the importance of investing in the future workforce for the betterment of society as a whole. As South Africa continues to grapple with high levels of youth unemployment, it is encouraging to see organisations like Daybreak Foods stepping up to make a difference. The partnership with the YES Programme is more than just a corporate social responsibility endeavour; it is a strategic investment in the nation’s future and a step towards a more prosperous and inclusive economy. “We will write a better future; not because we are re-writing the past. No, simply because the future and present require it of us. It is who we are and our youth are a mainstay of our future.,” says Manzini , leaving it clear that he is here to tell the South African corporate story of how we can run and create great businesses that are globally competitive and inclusive. For more information on the YES Programme and its impact on youth employment, readers can explore details on the dedicated YES Programme blog. Additionally, those interested in the contributions of Richard Manzini to the Agri sector can look forward to updates on Daybreak Foods social platforms. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Creamer Media : 10 June 2024 With technological advancements rapidly changing the face of work and employees having to acquire essential new skills, the need for corporate training has never been greater. The results of a 2023 survey by global professional services network Deloitte found that 56% of South African respondents said between half and their entire workforce complement would be required to change their skills in the next three years to remain competitive. Additionally, the LinkedIn 2023 Workplace Learning Report says 89% of professionals believe developing employee skills will help companies navigate the changing work environment. Given the speed at which the corporate environment is changing, the temptation to roll out employee training as quickly as possible is certainly there. However, companies also need to be wary of sacrificing the effectiveness of programmes and adherence to regulations as they seek to expedite these processes. Muhammad Ali, managing director of South African ISO specialist World Wide Industrial & Systems Engineers(WWISE), points out that standards set out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can play a crucial role in assisting South Africa’s companies in their training endeavours. “Human resources practitioners will want to consider standardisation for various reasons,” Ali says. “A significant one is that ISO standards are now aligned with the South African Education and Training Authority (SETA) as well as the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO). Tax rebates and the Skills Development Levy (SDL) are among the benefits,” he explains. Aside from this, since many training requirements are also legal requirements, compliance is effectively built into the programme. The result of this is conformity that ensures the standard of product or service is consistent. Furthermore, Ali says, companies can use ISO to ensure their suppliers meet international standards and, in many cases, this improves the relationship. “Identifying the skills shortage and working with a skills development programme are all part and parcel of any SETA, SDL and QCTO programme, all of which are governed by law in South Africa. By training and upskilling employees, their productivity and efficacy improve. “Evidence of effective utilisation of the training is crucial, so it is important to measure this against objectives and key performance indicators.” Most companies implement ISO standards when the need arises from tender or client requirements. Simply put, failure to meet these can result in the firm losing the contract.Ali says top management needs to create a level of governance that optimises processes and best practice standards. “Once implemented, the induction phase is critical in integrating new employees into the culture of the organisation by demonstrating the ISO management systems and how to effectively use them to understand policies, conformance values and consequences of not following the standards. There are various ISO standards applicable to training programmes, including: ISO 9001 – Quality Management Systems. Creates overall corporate governance using a risk and process-based approach with an internal and external client focus. ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Systems. Creates an understanding of environmental impact in all organisations, from paper usage to waste. ISO 45001 – Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems. Create a system where injuries, ill health and all safety hazards are accounted for with mitigating controls. ISO 27001 – Information Security, Cybersecurity and Privacy Management System. To manage the data and information through all processes in the organisation to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of Information. It also focuses on competence (education, training and experience) and controls related to onboarding employees with induction and respective privacy laws. Ali adds it is essential for all company stakeholders to buy into ISO standards for training programmes to be successful. “Facilitators need to ensure trainees commit to the programme by providing engaging content with practical examples. Resistance to change is simply not an option.” ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Jo Mangaliso Mdhlela | 10 June 2024 Trade union federation Cosatu says it will be engaging the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which invests on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), as well as the government, to push for workers to be included as owners of African Bank. “This can come in the form of shares owned by African Bank employees as well as a strategic stake by the PIC,” Cosatu spokesperson Matthew Parks told Sunday World this week. The African Bank Group has reported an encouraging turnaround in its consolidated unaudited interim financial results for the six months ended March 31, 2024. The bank achieved a net pro-fit of R203-million and a reduction in impairments of 40% through a tightening of lending criteria and a shift in its net advances mix. The group has also recorded a 38% increase in its customer base, which currently stands at 5.7-million. Parks said Cosatu welcomed the successful intervention and turnaround strategy led by the South African Reserve Bank. “We support the broad-based black economic empowerment strategy about its ownership as the banking sector has not moved at the pace the country expects regarding transformation and diversity,” he said. “Cosatu will be engaging the PIC who invest on behalf of the GEPF as well as the government to push for the workers to be included as owners of the bank,” Parks said. Group CEO Kennedy Bungane said despite operating in a tough economic climate, the results reflected a turnaround of African Bank. “This was bolstered by the integration of Grindrod Bank into the Business Banking division, a move that received regulatory approval in March. “The acquisition positions African Bank to better serve underserviced small, medium, and micro enterprises and entrepreneurs, aligning with its foundational vision in the business banking sector,” said Bungane. Respected businessman, publisher and activist Dr Thami Mazwai praised the strides the African Bank was making to have a consortium of black businesspersons partake in the acquisition of a majority stake in the banking business. Mazwai, a former Robben Island political prisoner, and visiting professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Western Cape and chairman of Mtiya Dyna-mics, said this move was long overdue, “and should have happened a long time ago”. “This initiative by the African Bank reflects the vision espoused by people such as Dr Sam Motsuenyane, the founding father of the National African Bank during the difficult period of apartheid and discrimination, who was also a pioneer of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” said Mazwai. “Cosatu and Nactu were integral part of the liberation struggle and played a critical role in the liberation of our people. I will be glad if this will also be expressed in economic participation of these trade union federations,” Mazwai said. The bank maintains a surplus liquidity of R7.9-billion in cash reserves, excluding statutory asset requirements. The capital adequacy position remains robust at 32.5%, despite recent acquisitions, exceeding both regulatory and internal minimums. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Mamsi Nkosi | 8 June 2024 South Africa’s ICT sector is currently experiencing a significant hiring slowdown, with recruitment declining by 11% year-on-year compared to the first quarter of 2023. This is according to the latest CareerJunction Employment Insights report, gathered from Saongroup South Africa, which works with over 5,000 of SA’s top recruiters. According to the report, despite the continued demand for IT skills, the sector continues to experience a dip in hiring activity, with a 26% year-on-year decline over the last two years. In South Africa, big businesses have eyed layoffs in various sectors as a way to navigate uncertain economic times. Economists from the Bureau of Economic Research reported that despite a recent one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate from 32.9% to 33.9%, it remains bleak. Tech business leaders share their insights on what can be done to turn the economic tide, not only from a job creation perspective, but also to create meaningful work experiences and provide accredited training for the digital skills of the future. Salesforce Salesforce research has indicated that more than 60% of full-time desk workers do not have the skills to use generative AI technology, even though most of them are convinced this knowledge will advance their careers. As a result, training the next generation, as well as reskilling the current generation when it comes to AI, is a key component of the tech revolution According to Ursula Fear, Senior Talent Programme Manager at Salesforce South Africa, AI specialists need to be empowered to implement rapidly, monitor, and ensure best security practices when it comes to AI. “We need to act urgently to mitigate the fact that we don’t want to have too many certified yet unemployable young people entering the workforce. Importing talent is not a long-term solution and we cannot extend the contracts of those who enter the country to fix the problem now. We need to upskill locally and ensure that we have the talent to take the vital technology sector, which contributes about 8% to the economy, to the next level,” says Fear. “South Africa requires a mindset change, and the government cannot address the skills crisis alone. It requires collaboration and partnership from the business sector to form long-term solutions that tangibly address the existing digital skills gap by providing youth with hands-on experience. Education and tertiary certifications form a critical component of empowering our current and future ICT workforce, but what is truly needed is the provision of hands-on experience and mentorship to sustainably develop leaders and entrepreneurs of the future and grow the South African economy,” adds Fear. Blink by MiWay: Embracing technology means creating opportunities Technology is here to stay, and with high unemployment levels in South Africa and a tech job crisis, there are many ways in which we can use technology to create opportunities, both professionally and personally. “As a technology-first business, we highly value the right digital skills and appreciate that what encompasses digital and tech skills is constantly being expanded, along with digital innovation”, says Keletso Mpisane, Head of Blink by MiWay. Skills needed in the insurance sector include analytical skills, attention to detail, legal knowledge, and technical proficiency. These skills all abide by the use of technology, specifically with data control and the use of big data. The development of these skills is needed for the insurance sector, which provides a platform for those skills to be honed and nurtured and creates opportunities for work. Zoho: The right tech tools at the right price As Andrew Bourne, Regional Head, Africa at Zoho, believes, “the right tech tools, at the right price can support digital literacy and develop the ICT skills South Africa needs”. In fact, says Bourne, “we need to future-proof children so that they are equipped to apply for jobs that require digital and development skills”. “With low-code platforms, for example, citizen developers can create complex and powerful business applications without requiring costly and lengthy training. Most low-code application development can be managed with users who only have moderate technical knowledge,” he adds. Sportingbet: Innovation sparks job creation The rise of online sports betting platforms is creating new skills development and employment opportunities, with technology playing a crucial role in job creation, in particular for women. Gail Odgers, Head of Acquisition at Sportingbet, says: “It’s important for systems to be put in place that facilitate mentorship, learning opportunities, and skill development for women, and this needs to be a continuous process. Also, soft skills development and engagement leveraging industry updates, coaching, and engaging with other women in the industry at conferences. “I feel positive about the future outlook for sports betting in South Africa. Things look very different today than they did even five years ago. We are seeing more women rising in this space and it would be good to see more women in sports betting business ownership,” adds Odgers. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Brand South Africa | 6 June 2024 We are at the end of the 6th administration in South Africa’s 30-year-old democracy. Though an infant in comparison to its sister countries across the African continent who’ve gained their independence earlier, South Africa has grown in leaps and bounds to ascend into the realm of the upper echelons of economic prosperity. As a preferred investment destination on the continent, its quest to build a formidable and developed nation is not without bounds. As citizens look forward to ushering in the 7th administration, they wait in anticipation for a government that’ll set a positive tone for the next 30 years and beyond. Chief among some of the challenges is economic development that’ll bring about a remedy for the country’s incremental unemployment rate within this evolving digital era. It is without any shadow of a doubt that the multiple sectors that make up our economy exhibit prospects of exponential growth. The one thing that they all have in common is that they all have some level of dependency on the Information and Communication Technology and Digital sector, and as these sectors continue to progress, they warrant a rise in the development of the Digital sector. The government, business and civil society have come to understand this imminent and inevitable need that South Africa has. Since the first South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) in 2018, investments in the digital economy have grown exponentially over the past five years. Our country has received commitments of R200 billion ($10,5 billion) in total investments for our country’s telecommunications network by Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Rain and Liquid Telecom. South Africa’s geographic location touches multiple oceans and as such, has traditionally put us at a great advantage of a network of subsea communication cables that connects us to other continents. Furthermore, our country’s high internet penetration rate has attracted investments from international companies that have begun to cement South Africa’s position as a subsea landing hub in the sub-Saharan region and a point of entry for those companies looking to broaden their horizons into the rest of the African continent. A good example of these investors is Google, who’ve made a commitment to collaborate with the government to bridge the 30% digital penetration gap to give more South Africans access to the internet. According to their CEO, Dr. Alistair Mokoena, they estimate that there will be another 300 000 000 users coming online in Africa by 2030 thus the urgency in ensuring that demand is met. Their investment towards the subsea network of cables is expected to add $6.7 billion to South Africa’s GDP and add 180 000 indirect jobs resulting from the infrastructure’s widespread economic impact. On top of that, Google seeks to address data storage through its first ever Google Cloud Region in Africa where cloud region signals will be made available for their partners, society, end users and their customers. This investment is set to add $2 billion to South Africa’s GDP and 40 000 indirect jobs to the economy. Another multinational that has been around for as long as the existence of South Africa’s democracy is Microsoft. The blue-chip organisation is doubling down on its commitment to advance capabilities for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and the youth through a R1,3 billion ($69,6 million) investment. Microsoft’s programmes are designed to build ICT capability so that South Africans can create new ways to address youth unemployment, employability, inequality, sustainability, and global competitiveness in the areas of Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, AI and Machine Learning. These include digital transformation for up to 42 SMMEs and startups, alignment with 18 TVET colleges to enhance the employability of students and the support of up to 20 advanced research and development projects to address the current and future policy needs of the country in cyber security and AI. According to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr. Ebrahim Patel, “The Fund will assist black South Africans in non-tech sectors to harness the power of technology and improve their competitiveness and ability to innovate and expand their operations. It will also act as a bridge to enable young people to get training, certification, and job-placement, so that talented South Africans gain access to the opportunities that arise from an increasingly digitalised world”. Enabling them to harness the potential of rapidly developing technologies through advanced skills. True to their nature, institutions of higher learning have kept their finger on the digital economy’s pulse as well. Quite recently, we’ve seen the University of Johannesburg, through its Johannesburg Business School, join forces with the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) to create an innovative research project to address critical skills development. Their research objectives include Virtual Reality (VR), business intelligence and skills forecasting among others to upskill young people to make a meaningful contribution in our digital sector. These interventions prove yet again that the development of our country’s digital ecosystem will make a significant contribution to the growth of our economy in all aspects. Let us continue to educate and empower ourselves with the relevant knowledge and skills that’ll lock our spot at the helm of economic prosperity in Africa. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Kamogelo Moichela | 5 June 2024 Despite its traction, political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe is adamant that an ANC-DA coalition is likely to be fraught with policy challenges and potential conflicts such as power dynamics, land, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE), and foreign policies. For the first time in the history of democracy, the ANC which has been ruling for 30 years, is engaged in heavy talks with opposition parties in a bid to form a new government but a coalition one this time. This is after the ANC suffered a massive defeat in the 2024 election. The ruling party got 40.18%, failing to reach at least 50% support to retain absolute power in the country which forced it to settle for a coalition government. The policy divergent between both parties includes the National Health Insurance Act (NHI), B-BBEE, and the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (Bela Bill). The DA recently slammed the ANC-led government for signing into law the NHI. Seepe said the coalition plan has raised concerns among many South Africans, particularly ANC members and their allies, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). With a combined support of more than 60%, a coalition between the ANC and the DA would enable them to control the National Assembly. Cosatu rejected the coalition, accusing the DA of being against the idea of improving and protecting the rights of workers. On land, the DA states that land reform should be expedited by using the willing buyer-willing seller approach. ANC states: Restitution of land: Giving back land that was taken from its original owners during colonial and apartheid periods. Here is a picture between the two parties on B-BBEE: ANC - Economic transformation: Increasing black ownership, control, and participation in important industries to establish a more egalitarian economy. DA - Economic empowerment for all: According to the DA, empowerment ought to be predicated more on economic necessity than racial class. Meanwhile, the ANC has not ruled out working with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, but this has been met with criticism from the business community. The ruling party has also been in talks with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) for a government of national unity. Seepe further said in all the negotiations, the ANC will remain a senior partner. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    A QSE that is at least 51% Black-owned qualifies for Enhanced Recognition, which means that a Sworn Affidavit is the only B-BBEE Credential they have to present. Paragraph 5.3 of Statement 000 of the Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice published in Gazette #42496 makes the following allowance for Enhanced Recognition: 5.3 Enhanced B-BBEE recognition level for QSE: 5.3.1    Despite paragraph 5.2 above, a QSE which is 100% Black-owned, measured using the flow-through principle, qualifies for elevation to a “B-BBEE Level One Contributor” having a B-BBEE recognition level of 135%. 5.3.2    Despite paragraph 5.2 above, a QSE which is at least 51% Black-owned, measured using the flow-through principle, qualifies for elevation to a “B-BBEE Level Two Contributor” having a B-BBEE recognition level of 125%. 5.3.3    A Black-owned QSE in terms of paragraph 5.3. above, is only required to obtain a sworn affidavit on an annual basis, confirming the following: Annual Total Revenue of between R10 million and R50 million; and Level of Black ownership. Thus, as they have met the Ownership criteria, they are not required to meet the Management Control, Skills Development, Enterprise & Supplier Development or Socio-economic Development targets. Furthermore, paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 make the following references: 5.4 Despite paragraph 5.3 a Black-owned QSE may be measured in terms of the QSE scorecard should it so choose. 5.5 Any misrepresentation in terms of paragraph 5.3 above constitutes a criminal offence as set out in the B-BBEE Act as amended. QSE Services are available to Members to assist with understanding these requirements for QSEs.

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