Further recognizing that the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Amendment Act of 2014 seeks to promote the achievement of the right to equality, increase broad based and effective participation of Black people in the economy and promote equal opportunity and equal access to government services; and the accompanying amended BBBEE Generic Code of Good Practice including necessary score card and the empowerment elements contained therein;
Also considering the Electronic Communications Amendment Act No.1of2014 seeks to promote the empowerment of Black people, with particular reference to women, youth and people with disabilities; and to promote SMMEs in the ICT sector.
In order to address certain inequalities in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector as identified by government in terms of the Codes of Good Practice as being of national strategic importance. Stakeholders made up of the industry associations, NEDLAC Community constituency and the DTPS signed and adopted the ICT Sector Code.
The B-BBEE ICT Sector Council was appointed on 24 September 2015, with a mandate to:
The custodian of the B-BBEE ICT Sector Code;
Advise the organs of state on all matters relating to B-BBEE in the ICT sector;
Monitor and review the implementation of the ICT Sector Code and all related matters;
Develop and foster common standards and code of ethics in the implementation of ICT Sector Code;
Assess, evaluate and commission research on specific areas where such research is not available;
Responsible for the accreditation of the national ICT projects aimed at “bridging the digital divide” in conjunction with the existing bodies such as the USAASA, the Digital Divide Partnership, ICASA, the CSIR, trade unions, NGOs and other organs of civil society;
Provide guidance on sector-specific matters affecting B-BBEE in entities in the sector
Compile reports on the status of B-BBEE within the ICT sector
In appointing the Council, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services made absolutely sure that the Council had representation across all the ICT Sub-Sectors, namely:
→ Information Technology
The membership was extended to Social partners in the form of the following groups:
→ Youth in ICT
→ Labour Unions
→ Persons with Disability
There was also an addition of representatives from government in the form of the Line Department (DTPS) and the Departments of Telecommunications.
The nomination and appointment to serve in a Council or Board structure of government or government institution is an expression of confidence in an individual and in their ability and competencies in a particular area of responsibility. There is therefore an expectation, fairly or unfairly, that persons appointed to these positions are committed to make a difference in society, and sometimes making some sacrifices doing so.
Government recognises that even volunteerism and sacrificial behaviour need to be reinforced and encouraged with support and adequate support. Such support would be in the form of a budget for the work to be done, including specialised work to be carried out by service providers, logistics for meetings and other activities relating to meetings, workshops, conferences, printing and the time that members spend on Council work.
At a strategic level, the Council was required to:
→ Review and amend the 2012 B-BBEE ICT Sector Code and get it approved by the Line Minister and the Minister of Trade and Industry, gazetted and monitored for implementation. This would include consultative workshops with the Sector and the actual writing of the Amended Code, workshopping it among members and the line Departments and thereafter channelling it through relevant approval processes.
→Development of the B-BBEE ICT Sector Monitoring Report. This process involves requesting B-BBEE Verification Reports from Verification Agencies, capturing the information, computing it to get aggregate results on each of the elements and then the report, which explains the results, analyse them and makes conclusions and recommendations.
→ Provincial Roadshows to promote, educate, explain and advocate around the Amended Code. This involves traveling to different provinces, communicating with stakeholders and responding to queries they raise, whether it be about the Amended code or B-BBEE related issues in general (including complaints).
2. At an Administrative level, the Council was expected to set up processes and systems to enable it to carry out its work, specifically the following:
→ Development of the Council’s Constitution
→ Establishment of Sub-Committees
→ Development, adoption and signing of the Non-Disclosure Agreement
→ Development, Agreement, adoption of the Declaration of Interest Framework
→ Establishment of the Council Website to communicate and interact with Stakeholders (Notices, programmes, information, events etc)
Stakeholder Engagement Framework
→ The Council completed the Amended Code after several meetings and workshops which included stakeholder consultations, from the private sector to government.
→ The amended Code was gazetted on 7 November 2016, making the Council one of the 3 Charter Council to amend its Code to align with the Code of Good Practice developed by the DTI.
→ The Council has developed two Sector Monitoring Reports, one an interim report for 2016, and the 2016/17 Sector Monitoring Report. This has been manageable through the relationship created between the Council and verification agencies.
→ The Council has already forwarded two cases of non-compliance with the Code to the B-BBEE Commission.
→ The Council has already provided guidance to the following companies to assist them to comply with the Amended B-BBEE ICT sector Code:
→ Ericsson South Africa
→ Hewlett Packard South Africa
→ Samsung South Africa
→ Amazon Web Services
→ Information Technology Association
→ Pinnacle Holdings
→ MICT SETA
→ Cell C
→ In addition, the Council has been invited to address close to 20 events during which the focus and objectives of the Codes were articulated while guidance was given to assist those implementing the Sector Code.
→ Presentation of the Code to the Portfolio on Telecommunications and Postal Service, including its envisaged impact and how it supports government initiatives such as skills development, enterprise development and SMME support.
→ Survey of the Transformation in Top 100 companies in the Sector
→ Workshop with verification Agencies to engage them on the implementation of the B-BBEE ICT Sector Code to address challenges relating to verifications and interpretation of the Code.
→ Develop guidelines and models for broad-based empowerment of Black owned companies at local, provincial and national level;
→ Develop and implement an interactive portal to communicate the basic methods of applying the B-BBEE scorecard for all the different elements of B-BBEE.
→ Develop baseline indicators, conducting or commissioning research for the purposes of ensuring the effective implementation of the ICT Sector Code.
→ Development of the B-BBEE ICT Sector Monitoring Report for the 2017/18 financial year.
→ Engagements with stakeholders, proactively or on request, to provide guidance on the implementation of the Code.
→ From September 2017, the Council will require support, financial and other resources to run a fully-fledged office, develop guidelines and manuals for its stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of the Code and also highlight benefits for Measured Entities. The Council will embark on strategic engagements with the Sector to develop a funding model backed by Sector and Government support.