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    Philippa Larkin | 15 May 2024 Afrika Tikkun, a leading youth development and non-profit organisation, yesterday issued a call for immediate action ahead of the elections after data showed South Africa’s jobless rate spiked to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024 and youth unemployment also rose. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) yesterday released the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which showed an increase of 0.8 percentage points in the jobless rate from the previous quarter. Lara Hodes, an economist at Investec, said, “Vulnerable youth, comprising those aged 15-24, remain the most disadvantaged segment when it comes to finding sustainable employment in this subdued economy. Unemployment in this grouping remains at a critically elevated level. It increased, albeit modestly, to 59.7% in Q1.24 (from 59.4% previously).” She said comparing unemployment rates by level of education evinced the “significant impact of education on mitigating a nation's unemployment rate”. “Unemployment rates for those with matric or lower educational qualifications exceeded the national rate, whereas individuals with other tertiary qualifications and graduates had rates below the national unemployment rate,” Hodes said. In light of the country’s ravaging level of youth unemployment, Afrika Tikkun said it urged South Africa’s leaders to take immediate measures to address this pressing issue, especially as the nation approaches the looming national elections. It said the report highlighted that the country’s young people had disengaged from the labour market and that they were not building on their skills base through education and training. “The Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) rate serves as an important labour market indicator for young people. More than four in every 10 young people are not in employment, education or training,” Afrika Tikkun said. The labour force stands at 25 million and a staggering 16.2 million people are classified as “not economically active”. Onyi Nwaneri, the CEO Afrika Tikkun, said, “These statistics highlight the systemic barriers preventing meaningful participation in the economy. The status quo is failing future generations with more than 300 000 people having been thrust into unemployment within a single quarter. “As South Africa gears up for the national elections, the youth unemployment crisis must be tackled head-on. Youth unemployment is not merely a statistic; it is a national emergency demanding immediate and sustained attention,” Nwaneri says. “All political parties must prioritise youth employment in their agendas, committing to concrete policies and actionable plans to create opportunities for our youth. Empty promises are no longer enough; our young people deserve tangible solutions,” Nwaneri said. He said now more than ever, South Africa must take action to empower our youth and end the cycle of unemployment. “Together, with the collective will and determination of all the private sector, civil society and government, we can build a South Africa where every young person has the chance to thrive and contribute meaningfully to society,” Nwaneri said. Riaz Moola, the CEO and co-founder of HyperionDev, southern Africa’s largest tech education provider, said in response to the grim data that a critical issue South Africa faced was closing the skills gap. A key trigger was the mismatch in the country’s job market. “While there is an urgent demand for skilled professionals in ICT among South African businesses, unemployment numbers are surging. This gap underscores the misalignment between existing workforce skills and those required by modern industries. “There is a pressing need for more collaborative approaches to equip the youth with the necessary capabilities, which is more apparent than ever,” Moola said. This included a collective push to enhance vocational training and foster immersive educational experiences like those offered by coding bootcamps. Tertiary institutions’ wider adoption of such initiatives was critical to addressing immediate employment challenges and strategically positioning South Africa as a vital player in the global digital economy, he said. “Despite their increasing popularity, coding bootcamps face acceptance and credibility challenges due to their relative ‘newness’. However, these educational models are essential for modernising South Africa's workforce. We need broader adoption across the educational spectrum. Investing in such innovative and adaptive educational models will not only help tackle immediate employment issues but also position South Africa as a formidable player in the global digital economy,” Moola added. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Adv Jan Munnik | 16 May 2024 Draft Employment Equity (‘EE’) Regulations (‘the 1 February Draft EE Regulations’) setting out revised Sector Targets, were published by the Department of Employment and Labour (‘DEL’) on 1 February 2024 in preparation for the commencement of Section 15A of the Employment Equity Amendment Act No 4 of 2022 (‘the Amendment Act’). Section 15A of the resultant Amended Act provides for the introduction of Sector Targets with which Designated Employers (those > 50 employees) will have to comply in setting their EE Goals. Sector Targets are being introduced by the DEL to increase the pace of transformation, and to counter the existing practice on the part of some employers of setting low EE Goals. One of the changes made to the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations in the 1 February Draft EE Regulations is that the subject matter of the Sector Targets has been changed from ‘Black’ to ‘Designated Groups’ i.e., ‘Designated Groups Male’, ‘Designated Groups Female’ and ‘Designated Groups Total’ as opposed to the previous ‘Black Male’, ‘Black Female’ and ‘Black Total’ Targets. There are several unintended consequences resulting from this change that threaten achievement of the objectives of the EE Act. These are that: The % Targets for Blacks and Black Females will be decreased by the % White Female Target. The % Targets for Designated Groups will in fact be lower. The resultant % Targets for White Males will be higher, whilst those for White Females will be lower. I deal with each above consequence below. The % Targets for Blacks and Back Females will be decrease. 12 May Draft Sector Targets Gazette Black Targets for each Sector are identical to the 1 February Draft Sector Targets Gazette The 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations read together with the amendment to Section 20 (2) to the EE Act, in the 2022 EE Amendment Act, required Designated Employers to apply the % Black, % Black Male and % Black Female targets (as well as their resultant African, Coloured and Indian (‘ACI’) Targets) set out therein applicable to their respective Sectors in the setting of their EE Numerical Goals in each of the Top Four Occupational Levels. Except for the Financial and Insurance Activities Sector, where a mistake was corrected, the % Targets themselves (and those for the Male and Female target groups) were not changed by the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations i.e., the Black, Black Male and Black Female % Targets of the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations are identical to the % Designated Group, Designated Group Male and Designated Group Female % Targets for each Sector’s four Occupational Levels of the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations. Difference between Black Targets and Designated Group Targets Designated Groups consist of African, Coloured and Indian Males and Females, White Females and Persons with Disabilities. As Persons with Disabilities have their own Sector Targets, it is assumed that they are not intended to be part of the Designated Groups Targets of the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations for all employees. This means that: Designated Group Targets = Black Targets plus White Females Targets; Designated Groups Male Targets = Black Male Targets; and Designated Group Female Targets = Black Females Targets plus White Females Targets. Impact of Regulation 3.4.4 and 3.4.6 on the setting of % White Female Goal Regulation 3.4.4. reads as follows: ‘Employers should not set targets (our emphasis) for those groups whose representation have already exceeded their EAP in a particular occupational level.’ Regulation 3.4.6 reads as follows: ‘Where a designated employer has exceeded the set numerical target of a particular racial/gender group at an occupational level, such an employer may not regress (our emphasis) in that particular racial/gender group but should set targets towards the EAP’. The provision in Regulation 3.4.4 that EE Targets (sic) should not be set for ‘those groups whose representation have already exceeded their EAP’ conflicts with the provisions of Section 20(2)(c) of the EE Act as amended, read together with Clause 7.4 of the 2017 Codes of Good Practice on the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of the Employment Equity Plan and the EEA13 of the 2014 EE Regulations, which requires EE Numerical Goals to be set for each race and gender Group. Based on the above wording of Regulation 3.4.6, it would then seem that in the event of the % White Female Start Month Profile (‘SMP’) being above or below its EAP, a Designated Employer is required to set a White Female Target between its % SMP and its % EAP. According to the data furnished by the DEL in the 12 May 2024 Draft Sector Targets Gazette, the average % White Females representivity in the top four Occupational Levels was higher than 3.5% in almost all 18 Sectors, and up to over 30% in some. This means that in almost all cases the % White Female Target will be lower than its % SMP, but higher that its EAP of 3.5% Nationally, and likely to be well above their NEAP of 3.5% in some cases. Black and Black Female Targets are reduced by % White Female Start Month Profile Accordingly, a consequence of the changing of the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations from ‘Black’ to ‘Designated Group’ Targets in the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations, is that % Black and % Black Female Targets of the former Gazette, are both reduced by the % White Females Target, which can be anything between 30% and 3.5%. This may even result in a negative % Black Goal! The % Targets for Designated Groups will in fact be lower. As White Females are part of Designated Groups, it follows that in terms of the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations, the Targets for Designated Group = the % Black Target plus the % White Female Target. This means that the Designated Groups Target of the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations will necessarily always be higher than the Designated Group (Black) Target of the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations’ as White Females are included in the 1 February 2024 Sector Targets’ Designated Groups Targets. Furthermore, as illustrated above, the % White Female Target is likely to be higher than its % SMP representivity in the case of the subject matter of Sector Targets being ‘Black’. The change from ‘Black’ to ‘Designated Group’ Targets will increase the resultant % White Male Target (instead of decreasing them) and not increase the % White Female Target. Calculation of (resultant) % White & FN Target As EE Goals need to be set in respect of each individual race and gender group of the EEA2, EEA12 and EEA13 Workforce Profile template, and they need to add up to 100%, the following consequences necessarily flow from applying % Black and % Designated Group Target respectively in the setting of EE Goals with regard to resultant White and Foreign National (‘FN’) Target: When applying a Black Target, the resultant % White and FN Target (Males and Females) = 100% minus the applicable % Black Target. When applying a Designated Group Target, the resultant % White and FN Male (only) Target = 100% minus the applicable % Designated Group Target. % White Male Target will necessarily increase with change of Sector Targets from ‘Black’ to ‘Designated Groups’ In setting EE Goals where the subject matter of Sector Targets is ‘Black’, as per the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations, a Designated Employer will need to select a % White Males Goal (normally lower than its % SMP) and % White Female Goal (normally higher than its % SMP) that add up to 100% minus the % Black Target. In setting EE Goals where the subject matter of Sector Targets is ‘Designated Groups’, as per the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations, the % White Male Goal will automatically be 100% minus the applicable Designated Group Target, which is the same as the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations ‘Black’ Target. It follows that the % White Male target will increase (instead of decreasing) if the Designated Group Targets of the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations were to be retained, as it will no longer be required to set any EE Goals for White Females (higher than their SMP %) as they are included in Designated Group % Targets, and the White Male targets will simply be 100% minus the Sector Target’s Designated Group Target i.e., there will be no need to split this balance with White Females. % White Female Target will necessarily remain static with change of Sector Targets from ‘Black’ to ‘Designated Groups’ As shown above, the % White Female target cannot, pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 3.4.6 of the 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations, be increased as, in almost all cases, its SMP representivity will be higher than the EAP for White Females. On the other hand, the % White Female target a Designated Employer can set pursuant to the provisions of the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations is only limited to 100% minus the % Black Target minus the selected % White Male Target. Example to illustrate the above unintended consequences. Let us assume that a Designated Employer in the Manufacturing Sector selects a White Male Goal of 40% and a White Female Goal of 20% pursuant to the above Black Target in the 12 May 2023 Draft EE Regulations. The resultant differences in the targets for Designated Groups, Blacks, Black Females, White Males and White Females, set pursuant to the 12 May 2023, and 1 February 2024 Draft EE Regulations after applying the above targets, data and assumptions, are set out below. Conclusion It is submitted that the above example illustrates quite clearly the unintended consequences of the resultant % Targets for Blacks, Back Females and Designated Groups being lower, and White Males higher, in the event of the subject matter of Sector Targets being ‘Designated Groups’ as opposed to ‘Black’, which clearly threaten achievement of the EE Act’s overriding objective of achievement of equitable representation of all race an gender groups. I will be dealing with the following further aspects in subsequent articles on the 1 February Draft EE Regulations: The positive impact of the Agreement between Solidarity and the DEL on Sector Target EE Goal setting and implementation in the 1 February Draft EE Regulations. Why the provisions in the 1 February Draft EE Regulations with regard to the usage of National or Provincial EAP is unlawful. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    SA News | 14 May 2025 The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) indicates that the number of unemployed persons increased by 330 000 to 8.2 million during the first quarter of 2024. According to Stats SA, the official unemployment rate stands at 32.9 %, an increase of 0.8 of a percentage point in first quarter of 2024 (Q1: 2024) compared to the fourth quarter of 2023 (Q4: 2023). The results of the QLFS also indicate that the number of employed persons increased by 22 000 to 16.7 million in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023. “Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 214 000 to 13.1 million, while discouraged work-seekers decreased by 1 000 in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023. This resulted in a net decrease of 215 000 in the not economically active population. “The above changes in employment and unemployment resulted in the official unemployment rate increasing by 0.8 of a percentage point from 32.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024. The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition also increased by 0.8 of a percentage point to 41.9% in Q1: 2024 compared to Q4: 2023,” Stats SA said on Tuesday. Formal sector employment increased by 56 000 in Q1: 2024, while informal sector employment decreased by 100 000 over the same period. “The industries that contributed to the net employment increase include trade (up by 109 000), manufacturing (up by 99 000), private households (up by 44 000), transport (up by 39 000), agriculture (21 000) and mining (9 000). Employment losses were recorded in community and social services (122 000), construction (106 000), finance (50 000) and utilities (17 000),” Stats SA said. Provinces that recorded increases in employment were KwaZulu-Natal (35 000), Gauteng (26 000) and Northern Cape (4 000) when compared to the previous quarter Q4:2023 and Q1:2024. Those that recorded decreases in employment were Western Cape (17 000), followed by North West (13 000), Mpumalanga (8 000), Eastern Cape (4 000) and Limpopo (3 000), while Free State remained unchanged. “The youth (15 to 34 years) remain vulnerable in the labour market; the first quarter of 2024 results show that the total number of unemployed youth increased by 236 000 to 4.9 million while there was a decrease of 7 000 in the number of employed youth to 5,9 million. This resulted in an increase in the youth unemployment rate by 1.3 percentage points from 44.3% in Q4: 2023 to 45.5% in Q1: 2024,” Stats SA said. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’


    Western Cape Government | 15 May 2024 Since 2020, the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Experiential Learning programme has helped approximately 12 420 young, unemployed South Africans, mostly from areas such as Mitchells Plain, Delft, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, and Langa, to gain permanent or contract jobs in the Western Cape. “While the Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa, as confirmed yesterday by Statistics South Africa in the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the fact remains that far too many people, and especially young people, are not able to find work. At the same time, in almost all my interactions with businesses I hear how they struggle to find employees with the right skills needed. This is why the WCG’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism dedicates significant time, energy, and funding to provide a critical link between the needs of industry, academia, and unemployed young people,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger. Working with the private sector, stakeholders across all levels of government as well as international partners, DEDAT runs various skills development programmes in the Cape Town metropolitan area, as well as various rural towns including Darling, Caledon and Atlantis, aimed at providing opportunities to unemployed young South Africans. The department’s experiential learning programmes include work and skills, artisanal development, clothing and textiles, business process outsourcing (BPO) and hospitality. All learners are from the Western Cape and are South African citizens. By funding monthly stipends in collaboration with other spheres of government, topped up by the respective companies, unemployed young people are given the opportunity to receive a combination of structured or accredited training coupled with on-the-job experiential workplace exposure from between 4 to 12 months. Companies are required to provide either permanent or contract work to 80% of those trained and in some cases, depending on the needs of the company, 100% of learners have been placed. Since 2020, 15 527 beneficiaries have completed the experiential learning programmes, and with the requirement to absorb 80%, this means that approximately 12 420 have been absorbed into permanent or contract employment. Some of the areas where our learners come from include: “I am very encouraged by these results, and we are more determined than ever to help ensure that more young South Africans are given the opportunities they need to succeed. The WCG is working hard to boost the foundations for economic growth, to enable the creation of many more jobs in the province and South Africa. Without skills, this is simply not possible, and if we are to take full advantage of the immense potential of our economy we need to invest in the right qualifications, the right skills, and the right experience for jobs available now and in the future. One of the seven pillars of our economic action plan, ‘Growth For Jobs’, is our action plan to improve access to economic opportunities by investing in and working collaboratively with the private sector to upskill, to train, and to provide many more opportunities for young, unemployed South Africans,” concluded Minister Wenger. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Johan Botes | 13 May 2024 An April 2024 decision by the South African Labour Appeal Court, O’Connor v. LexisNexis, serves as a reminder to employers that the statutory protection against unfair workplace discrimination extends to employment applicants and that employers should carefully consider the grounds for making decisions regarding the recruitment of staff. The case concerned a matter of unfair discrimination under the Employment Equity Act and the refusal to employ a job applicant because of their criminal history. The court ruled that the unfair discrimination in this instance was based on arbitrary grounds and that the applicant’s criminal history was not relevant to the inherent requirements of the role. This case highlights the risks of rote reliance on factors used by employers to select or reject staff. Businesses should constantly scrutinise the reasons for seeking applicant information and whether reliance on such information will pass legal muster. There is often less than convincing evidence of the link between a factor considered to have a direct bearing on recruitment selection and the true, inherent requirements of a vacancy or role. For example, if an applicant for a position of trust has a history of dishonest behaviour, this may serve as a disqualification for the role. When considering applications for roles for prescribed officers, statutory positions that require the incumbents to be fit and proper persons (for instance, attorneys, estate agents, auditors), and positions with heightened requirements of integrity (financial directors, compliance, personal protection), it may warrant disqualification of candidates with recent convictions that impugn their integrity or who have been dismissed from service for workplace misconduct involving any form of dishonesty. But expunged convictions of fraud dating back more than 20 years, for instance, should not automatically prevent an applicant from being employed in a role where there is little else other than the normal requirements of trust and fidelity expected of every employee. By the same token, refusing to employ a person as a driver because they had a drunk driving conviction 20 years ago as a teenager but have kept a clean record since is hardly going to survive a legal challenge. The judgment builds on a number of previous cases to unpack what constitutes arbitrary grounds in the context of unfair discrimination. While South Africa’s employment equality legislation lists a wide range of protected grounds, it also allows for protection against unfair discrimination on grounds that may not be listed in the legislation but are nonetheless arbitrary. The court confirmed that for such a claim to succeed, the discrimination must be proven to be based on "attributes or characteristics that have the potential to impair the fundamental dignity of persons as human beings or to affect them adversely in a manner that is comparably as serious as discrimination on a listed ground, such as race, gender and culture.” The applicant’s criminal conviction is an inherent attribute intimately connected to how society perceives them. The court concluded that by not permitting people convicted of criminal offences to eventually be allowed back into society, we deny them their right to freely participate in society with dignity. This resulted in the ground being treated as if it were listed, carrying the same weight as discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other protected grounds. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    SA News: 10 May 2024 The Department of Employment and Labour has warned employers against misrepresenting their Employment Equity (EE) status. The department’s Statutory and Advocacy Services Chief Director, Advocate Fikiswa Bede, said a number of employers risk being taken to courts over misrepresentation on their employment equity status. Bede said, in addition to imposing fines, the department will also be taking a number of employers to court and lay criminal charges. “The Employment Equity Act allows us to go to court. I hope no one wants to have a criminal record. We are now seriously looking at pursuing the criminal route,” Bede said. Bede noted that Chief Executives of companies are responsible for signing-off the EE plans. She said the department has been doing its own monitoring and will no longer accept EE reports as the gospel truth. Just like the Chief Executives, Bede said EE managers and EE Forum members have a duty to ensure compliance and as such they will also need to be held accountable. Bede was speaking during the Employment Equity Dinner and Awards ceremony, held in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Thursday night. The department hosted the EE awards to reward employers complying with the legislation and also aimed to promote compliance with EE legislation. Employers bestowed with recognition were selected from a sample of 91 employers from various sectors who were judged against their own approved EE plans, and the number was reduced to nine. She emphasised the department is not interested in getting money from employers but ensuring compliance. She said the inspectorate would be invoking Section 61, where some of the elements of the section states that “no person may – obstruct or attempt to improperly influence any person who is exercising power or performing a function in terms of this Act; or knowingly give false information in any document or information provided to the Director-General or a labour inspector in terms of this Act.” Employment and Labour Inspector General, Aggy Moiloa urged employers to comply and not allow themselves to be pushed or force be exerted on them to comply. “Judging by the annual reports of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), the work of the inspectorate is cut out. We have some mileage to cover,” Moiloa said. Moiloa commended the award recipients, emphasising that workplaces should be centres to harvest talent. “These are ground breakers, trend setters who give us hope that there are institutions that are willing to comply,” Moiloa said. Award categories Ministerial award (performing inspectors): Albert Mabokela; Lesego Maema; Edward Manana; Ministerial Award Gold: Clientele Legal; Sherwood Spar; Shoprite Cherkers Pty Ltd; Ministerial Award Silver: Le Roux; Medicus Shoes; Pine Lake Marina Pty Ltd; and Ministerial Award Bronze: Braitex Tensilon Pty Ltd; Toscana Herbs and Fresh Produce Pty Ltd. The category on affirmed employers, who showed progress was awarded to Footgear (Pty) Ltd; Ackermans A Division of Pepkor Trading (Proprietary) Ltd; Sasol Limited and Samsung Electronics South Africa Production (Pty) Ltd. Other affirmed employers included Gautrain Management Agency; Mediclinic South Africa; Blunden Coach Tours; Rockwell Automation; Machinery Plant Hire cc and Sishen Iron Ore Company PTY LTD. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    The Socio-Economic Development element requires an Independent Competent Person to present an Independent Competent Person’s Report to confirm that the requirements of an organisation’s Socio-Economic Development contributions have been met and that a claim is indeed legitimate. As per Schedule 1 of the Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice, a “Competent Person” means a person who has acquired through training, qualification and experience the knowledge and skills necessary for undertaking any task assigned to them under the codes.” An Independent Competent Person must have no conflict of interest when nominated to sign off on an organisation’s Socio-Economic Development initiative. Such a person must have sufficient training and experience or knowledge, as well as other qualities that allow them to assist an organisation in the capacity of an Independent Competent Person. The competence level depends on the initiative's complexity and the requirements of a particular assessment. An Independent Competent Person must have a duty of care to an organisation’s investors. Socio-Economic Development Services are available to assist organisations that wish to confirm the competence of an Independent Competent Person.


    In terms of the B-BBEE Act, on 18th May 2021, a Practice Note under Gazette #44591 was published by the Minister of Trade Industry & Competition. The notice outlines the rules for discretionary Collective Enterprises. The purpose is to clarify how Ownership by Collective Enterprises is defined as Broad-Based Schemes, Employee Share Ownership Programmes, Trade Unions, Not for Profit Companies, Co-operatives, Trusts should be interpreted under the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Ownership Services are available to assist members with Ownership structures.


    Selecting the correct Skills Development service provider, in most cases, is the difference between the success or failure of a Skills Development Strategy. Therefore, due diligence before contracting a Skills Development service provider is essential and would include establishing the following: o   How long have they been in business? o   Did they previously trade under another company name? o   What are the geographical areas in which they operate? o   Do they have references that support a solid track record? o   What is the average drop-out rate of Learners? o   Do they rely on third-party intervention? o   Are the Learners’ salaries or wages in line with the national minimum wage requirements? o   Can they furnish evidence that they are an accredited Skills Development service provider? o   Do they adhere to the standards of the body of their accreditation? o   Can they provide a financial viability report from their auditors? o   Do they agree to a site visit to confirm that the facilities will adequately accommodate Learners from both an infrastructural and geographical perspective? o   Can they confirm that they have the in-house capacity to meet the contract requirements? o   Do they have a good relationship with the primary SETA aligned with the sector an organisation represents? Skills Development Services are available to assist members in selecting a Skills Development service provider.


    Danette Breitenbach | 13 May 2024 The Marketing, Advertising and Communications Sector Charter (MACC) and eQvest Limited have formed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to create the MACC Fund, the first of its kind. Introduced in Johannesburg recently, the Fund aims to raise R10.2bn as a catalyst for the transformation of the creative and cultural industries, particularly the film and television sector. The Fund is the answer to the countrywide cry for funding says MACC chairperson Angelo Tandy. “When we conducted our public hearings across the country, we heard the same cry, from Gauteng to the Western Cape: please help us access funding,” he explains. Businesses in the sector have traditionally found it difficult to access funding from traditional sources as the compliance is so stringent. The traditional finance sector has dropped the ball maintains eQvest CEO, Nathaniel Bricknell. “South Africa has one of the most incredible platforms when it comes to films and series production, but the barriers to entry for these particular sectors, because they are misunderstood, is problematic." Bricknell adds that at the same time, there are many vehicles in this country that are transformative but don’t have access to funding. “We see ourselves filling this gap through this PPP.” Sustainability element to the fund Two percent of the funds generated through the vehicle will be put back into the MAC Charter. “This is to ensure the sustainability of this particular vehicle, as it has a very fundamental role to play in transformation. It also ensures that this vehicle is the mouthpiece in government that can speak for the sector. It is important that there is a sustainability element to this project,” explains Bricknell. In addition, five percent of the revenue generated will go to community media such as community radio stations, TV and newspapers. “Community media plays a vital role in the country, and unfortunately these media rely heavily on government funding, and they are also not equipped to be sustainable and while well intended they are not commercially minded,” says Bricknell. Equity for investors The minimum investment is R10,000. The MACC Fund offers investors a rate of return of 14 % per annum. Institutional investors can earn B-BBEE equity equivalent scoring by investing in the MACC Fund. “The fund is structured with government as a unique fund with the intention of offering equity equivalent,” says Bricknell. He explains that any institutional investment that meets a particular threshold within the fund will be able to get equity equivalent on their investments. “This is focusing primarily on local institutional investments, we are unpacking a strategy for international institutional investments.” Accelerator programme While funding is a hurdle, so are business skills so the Fund has an accelerator programme attached to it. The accelerator will equip businesses that do not meet all the criteria for Charter funding, to qualify. “We do not want to close the door on applications who do not meet the criteria. Instead, they can go through the accelerator programme to ensure that they then do meet the requirements for funding,” says Tandy. “Getting the money is one thing, but then you need to know what to do with it. This accelerator programme will walk with small businesses to give them the skills they need,” he says. Tandy adds that this is a breakthrough for the sector, all of us in the industry. Rudy Kruger, CEO of the accelerator project says no business should fail. “ This nine out of 10 failures is nonsense. Let’s get businesses to the point where they can access funding and succeed. Still talking transformation “We want to transform the sector, but to transform it in the right way by levelling the playing fields,” says Tandy. Mathe Okaba, MACC Charter deputy-chairperson, adds that any talk on transformation needs to be cognisant that it has been 30 years, and we are still talking transformation. “We should be transformed by now. We need lots of young businesses functioning in our industry,” she says. When Black people fail they are seen as incompetent, but we were not raised with silver spoons in our mouths, or in big conglomerate families where money has always been there. “We are starting off our families by setting up our own legacies for our families, and in setting up these legacies, let’s set them up right. That’s why the accelerator is so important. Let’s show our children how to get into business right and operate right and the accelerator is a critical component of success.” ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Michael Bagraim | 13 May 2024 Michael Bagraim writes that the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority wants to pressure the property industry into bending over backwards to ensure Broad-based BEE requirements. The Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA) seems to be hell-bent on destroying real estate agencies in South Africa. The regulatory authority wants to pressure the property industry into bending over backwards to ensure Broad-based BEE requirements. This will be the wholesale destruction of the entire industry. We must understand that all real estate agencies have to apply for a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC). The certificates enable estate agents to practise their trade and profession in South Africa. Without the certificate, the business is illegal and will be closed. What is now happening is that our over-restrictive negative government is trying to look like it is doing something to improve the employability of black South Africans. The reality is that the further restrictions on an industry that is under pressure will lead to the wholesale closure of most small real estate agencies. We have about 6 000 real estate agents who would have to close shop or practise illegally. Without a valid BEE certificate in the future, the agencies won’t be granted their FFC. The harsh regulatory labour legal environment, which has stifled businesses for almost 30 years, is becoming more pernicious. The real estate agents are invariable small businesses that have employed many who want the benefit of being able to work in a non-restricted environment. We are told by economists worldwide that small businesses are the engine room of job creation in most countries. Big businesses are shrinking in that they are able to mechanise, computerise and outsource. It is small businesses that open the portal for the unemployed to enter the labour market. The move is counter-productive. The pernicious and extremely vile regulations will make the situation worse for the entire property industry. The move has to be considered even more ludicrous when we see that the Department of Employment and Labour is about to endorse and issue regulations for the Employment Equity Act Amendments. The regulations have proposed that any business employing fewer than 50 employees will have an automatic right to be given a BEE certificate. In other words, the government has recognised that the BEE certification requirements are a handbrake to job creation. It makes no sense to have the proposed regulations attached to the Employment Equity Legislation and, on the same hand, take it away from small businesses by enacting the proposal of the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority. The mind boggles at why the government is hellbent on destroying another industry in South Africa. In the past 30 years, we’ve seen an ANC government systematically destroying almost every industry in our economy. We’ve seen this with the mining industry, clothing manufacturers, farming and even the metal industry. The negative and destructive reach of an ANC government has strangled productivity in South Africa. The only way forward is to remove the ANC-led administration as soon as possible. The move, proposed by the PPRA and underpinned by the ANC, will ensure that the most businesses in the property practitioner industry will become non-compliant and eventually close. When the businesses stop trading, we will see thousands more South Africans in the unemployment queues. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


    Jacomien de Klerk | 11 May 2024 South Africa's workplace learning environment faces a looming deadline which may catch many industry stakeholders off guard, and it is becoming increasingly clear that many sectors of the economy are simply not ready. This will have real consequences for everyone involved: unemployed young people, workers, the various sector education and training authorities (SETAs), training organisations, employers, and industry associations. In 2021, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande set a deadline of 30 June 2024 to change from SETA-developed qualifications to new workplace learning qualifications. This means that from 1 July, no learners can be registered for any credit-bearing programmes based on legacy qualifications. A failure to successfully switch to the new occupational qualification framework will have far-reaching implications for those most dependent on workplace learning opportunities, in particular unemployed young people seeking entry into the workforce and workers who want to obtain qualifications and progress in their careers. If more isn’t done, we can expect a decrease in training from July when training providers can no longer use legacy qualifications for learnership and skills programmes (credit-bearing training) and without there being new occupational qualifications to replace legacy qualifications. The B-BBEE status of companies might also be negatively affected. With fewer credit-bearing training opportunities available for them to fund, organisations will in all likelihood struggle to achieve targets for skills development spend, which will have consequences for their B-BBEE scorecards. The Citrus Academy, a non-profit company established and supported by the Citrus Growers’ Association, has been monitoring this situation with concern. The lack of available occupational qualifications within the agricultural sector will affect access to workplace training for many employers and workers from July this year. In many cases, these are the only learning and development opportunities that people in rural areas can access. But this is not only going affect the citrus industry, or even just agriculture. It has implications for the entire economy. The transition to occupational learning qualifications is complicated because it is not just a superficial change from one governmental accreditation authority to another. The entire approach to training is fundamentally altered. The new training framework hopes to create a system where learners are equipped for specific jobs through a combination of theory, practice and workplace learning. By matching qualifications to the needs in the labour market, the occupational learning system hopes to directly build a skills pipeline for industry, by making use of occupational qualifications. Until 2010, the SETAs were responsible for developing qualifications for their economic sectors, which were then registered and delivered by Skills Development Providers (SDPs). Hundreds of qualifications were developed under this system and a great many learnerships and skills programmes were successfully delivered, benefiting thousands of learners. In 2010, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established. The purpose of the QCTO was to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of a brand-new kind of qualification – occupational qualifications. These new occupational qualifications would be developed to replace all the old qualifications – now referred to as “legacy” qualifications. Undoubtedly, there were shortcomings in legacy qualifications. The qualifications sometimes lacked a focus on practical skills that left graduates ill-prepared for the realities of specific jobs. The absence of mandatory workplace experience further hampered job readiness. Learners who were unable to secure a job after completing one qualification, would often return to enrol in learnerships repeatedly, and never enter the job market. The new occupational learning system offers a compelling alternative, in that qualifications are designed around specific jobs as identified by the Department of Labour through the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO). Practical and workplace experience becomes an integral part of the learning process, resulting in graduates who are ready to enter the workforce immediately. Under the new framework, the QCTO is responsible for the accreditation of SDPs and the approval of workplaces, although the SETAs will continue to assist training providers and provide quality assurance guidance in their respective sectors. SETAs are also tasked with supporting their sectors in the change to the occupational learning framework and with facilitating the development of occupational qualifications for occupations in their sectors. However, these truly commendable intentions have not been matched by effective implementation. Slow policy development and funding limitations have meant that the change is behind schedule. New occupational qualifications are developed by request of industry organising forums or associations and requires their direct and active participation. New qualifications must be in line with the requirements of the QCTO and must be approved by them before being submitted to SAQA for registration. In many industries represented by SETAs, unified employer forums do not exist, and even where they do, some industry organisations, particularly those lacking experience or resources, struggle to take on the responsibility of developing the new qualifications. In some sectors, there are enough qualifications, accredited SDPs and approved workplaces for a smooth transition to occupational learning. In others, there are simply not enough registered qualifications yet. SDPs can also not become accredited, and workplaces cannot be approved before qualifications are developed and registered, as they are accredited and approved for those specific qualifications. Asking the Minister of Higher Education and Training for an extension of the 30 June 2024 deadline is critical to avoid a potential disaster, but this is not a solution in itself. The Citrus Academy is calling for a collaborative approach to urgently address the situation. Industry, SDPs and the government must work together to bridge these implementation gaps. Governing bodies such as the QCTO and SETAs need to set clear timelines and enable the transition through making sufficient resources available. Clear and honest communication of arrangements and plans around the transition is critical. It is time to finally bring everyone on board. Occupational learning is a positive step for the South African economy. We can navigate these hurdles and emerge with an occupational training system that truly equips its workforce for success in the ever-evolving job market. This isn't just about improving our current system – it's about building a future where skills development fuels economic growth and empowers individuals to reach their full potential. ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’

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