The Association of BEE Verification Agencies (ABVA) has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mpahlwa, in terms of verification agencies that have completed the accreditation process conducted by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The announcement of the first accredited agencies ushers in a new dispensation for the measurement of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Compliance.
ABVA, widely held to be the best indicator of credibility in BEE Certification, feels that external accreditation is essential in maintaining market confidence in scorecards produced by the industry. “We are pleased that all accredited verification agencies are members of ABVA, and look forward to seeing more members successfully completing the accreditation process,” Andile Tlhoaele, chairman of ABVA, told SmartProcurement.
Accreditation involves verification agencies voluntarily opening their internal processes to external scrutiny by SANAS and the DTI. An approval in terms of this process means that the agency has complied with all material requirements of the criteria by which they should be accredited, the DTI verification manual, and the Codes of Good Practice.
A certificate from an accredited verification agency assures the user that it has been exactly prepared in terms of the DTI methodologies, and that the process followed is in line with professional standards for delivery of verification services. In time, and through implementation of government procurement practice, the Accredited Agencies Verification Certificate will be the only measure of BEE Compliance. At present, all certificates that are issued by organisations that have applied to SANAS for accreditation, whether they have been accredited or not, are valid.
The accreditation of the first agencies marks the starting point in a continual stream of newly accredited verification agencies. The accreditation process has taken place over 28 months, and as a result there are many other agencies that will be accredited by SANAS in the coming months, all of whom are presently applying the professional standards as dictated by external accreditation. ABVA therefore encourages organisations to utilise any verification agency that has applied for accreditation. All full members of ABVA listed on the ABVA website have applied for accreditation and are thus expected to receive accreditation.
True empowerment can only take place through credible verification. ABVA will therefore continue to support the industry – ensuring that verification standards are upheld, that its members receive accreditation, and that organisations can rely on the assurances given be verification agencies.