Black property association calls for tougher BEE rules

 The newly formed Black Association of Commercial Property Owners (BACPO) has challenged government to tighten economic transformation regulations beyond the promises made in the prevailing amendments of the BEE laws.

BACPO said while it welcomes initiatives to strengthen and broaden broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), but these need to go beyond the box ticking approach.

The association said the recently gazetted Property Sector Charter has demonstrated the contradictions between its various objectives and the revised BBBEE codes of good practice are unlikely to close gaps the DTI sought to eliminate.

“There is still a disappointingly low focus on ownership and ownership is the biggest driver of transformation. In property it is nearly impossible to make decisions about a property unless you are the owner,” says Victor Dlamini, BACPO CEO. “What we have seen in the past five years is a regrettable practice in which companies resist meaningful transformation by either fronting or complying reluctantly”

“In our sector, government’s own failure to meet its own objectives is illustrated by the Department Of Public Work’s dismally low number of leases held by black owned property companies. It is time government made BBBEE compliance a key performance area across all departments,” suggests Dlamini

“Our call to Minister Rob Davies is to ensure that compliance is monitored regularly and that there are significant penalties for companies that flout BBBEE policy. Quite frankly there is no point in revising the BBBEE Codes of Good Practice if companies know that there will be no consequences for non compliance,” adds Dlamini.

“BACPO supports the creation of vibrant, successful small businesses many of whom provide vital services in our sector, from cleaning to security and others. But we must ensure that the revised codes assist emerging entrepreneurs. It is these entrepreneurs that are most likely to create jobs and bring innovation into our economy” Dlamini continues.

“We have noticed within BACPO that government often come up with excellent policies but implementation can be disappointing. As we know it was this reality that forced the DTI to try and tighten the BBBEE as many companies had mastered the art of ‘playing’ the BBBEE codes. This is the gap that needs to be closed urgently,” concludes BACPO chairman Joe Mathebula

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