Major names in BEE investigation

August 23, 2017

 

The investigation into MTN is aimed at its Zakhele and Zakhele Futhi BBBEE schemes.

The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Commission is investigating a number of companies and entities for allegedly violating the BBBEE Act.

Major names among those under investigation include Netcare, Nokia, MTN, Eskom and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

Also to be investigated are six verification agencies.

The suspected violations relate to BBBEE ownership structures and noncompliance with the codes of good practice for the verification process.

The investigation into MTN is aimed at determining whether its Zakhele and Zakhele Futhi BBBEE schemes meet the requirements for black ownership in terms of the codes of good practice and comply with the act.

Nokia Solutions and Networks SA is to be investigated to determine whether the BBBEE ownership transaction involving its employee trust and Sekunjalo Investment resulting in 26% black ownership and the subsequent change in black ownership, which resulted in 31.28% black ownership by Sekunjalo, complied with the act.

'If found to have violated the BBBEE Act, the entities may be referred for prosecution' and fined up to 10% of the entity’s annual turnover

Regarding Netcare, the aim of the commission’s investigation will be to determine whether the BBBEE ownership initiative facilitated through Health Partners for Life, comprising four trusts, meets the ownership requirements and complies with the BBBEE Act. The commission also aims to determine whether Eskom complied with the act in the issuing and awarding of the tender for the Duvha Power Station to a Chinese company, which is alleged not to be BBBEE compliant.

The Sassa investigation is aimed at determining whether the agency complies with the act in issuing and awarding tenders, and whether there is any truth to allegations that Cash Paymaster Services, which won the Sassa contract for the payment of social grants, is engaging in a fronting practice.

"The BBBEE Commission is allowed to initiate an investigation on its own initiative and this often happens as a result of a tip-off," spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry Sidwell Medupe said on Monday.

"If found to have violated the BBBEE Act, the entities may be referred for prosecution" and fined up to 10% of the entity’s annual turnover. Individuals involved could be fined or imprisoned for up to 10 years.

"Entities can also be excluded from doing business with [the] government for up to 10 years, and the contracts they have with any state-owned entity or government department can be cancelled," he said.

The commission might also approach a court "to restrain any breach or for any appropriate remedial relief, which may include setting aside the transaction or initiative".

The commission’s findings would be published as required.

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