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Business: Competition Comm Not to Set Complaint Against DTI & ABVA


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ABVA (the Association of BEE Verification Agencies) welcomes the statement from the Competition Commission in regards to a complaint issued earlier this year against ABVA and the dti. The Competition Commission has decided not to refer the complaint lodged by Mr. Ivan van der Merwe on behalf of BEE Consultants to the Competition Tribunal.

This ruling is a victory not just for ABVA and the dti, but also for credible verification and the verification industry as a whole. This is the 2nd time that ABVA has had a complaint against it rejected, further supporting ABVA’s vision of true empowerment through credible verification.

The Competition Commission rejected the complainant’s assertions that ABVA and the dti are involved in a “concerted practice to unlawfully exclude business entities from exercising their legal right to present their BEE rating status by way of non-verified BEE certificates and / or scorecards (self-assessment). The complaint specifically alleged that ABVA abused its position as the recognized industry body by requiring business to pay for the services of accredited verification agencies.

ABVA is pleased with the response of the Commission which, in part, states that the current dti regulations and ABVA’s position are valid and have not been amended to the detriment of any BEE consultants. This policy states that businesses can “present their BEE status either through the use of verification agencies (VA’s) or by way of self-assessment, as long as the presentation is supported by suitable evidence or documentation”

This policy is line with the long term ABVA position which, as explained by ABVA Chairperson Andile Thloaele, specifies that “verification involves a process whereby a company’s BEE status is assessed, verified and validated for compliance with the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and a score is duly awarded and presented in the form of a Verification Certificate. This includes a Verification Agency conducting BEE procurement spend on a company as part of the verification process.”

The notice from the Complaints Commission also specifically points out a statement from ABVA on its web-site in regards to self-assessments that also supports this accepted policy:

The Codes of Good Practice does not require Enterprises to undergo verification.

An Enterprise is entitled to self-assessment. However, when it chooses to do so,

any representation it makes about its B-BBEE score needs to be accompanied

by suitable evidence.

A critical element in the statement from the Competition Commission is the support and legitimacy it further provides to the process initiated by the dti and SANAS in phasing out certificates issued by non-accredited agencies. This process, being initiated in a phased-in approach is absolutely necessary in order to, as the Competition Commission states “harmonise accreditation and verification practices.”

The Competition Commission statement goes on to point out that any BEE consultants are welcome to enter into the accreditation process with SANAS. ABVA welcomes the accreditation of as many verification agencies as possible and also welcomes all agencies who have begun the process with SANAS as well as to become ABVA members.

This clear and concise statement from the Competition Commission stands in clear support of the dti, SANAS and ABVA’s policies that favour a well regulated, consistent and managed approach to BEE verification. Only through this kind of consistent and regulated approach will BEE verification have meaning for business and for true transformation of the South African business environment.

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