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My journey to getting a BEE Certificate

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Succesful-Businesswoman-3.jpgYear before last I decided that it was time for me to get myself BBE compliant, despite the fact that in terms of the law I am ‘exempt’ as my annual turnover is less than R5 million per annum.  It was one of those “practice what you preach” type moments for me. 

I found a small business owner who was able to issue the certificate, on receipt of a letter from my Accountant verifying the fact that my turnover was indeed lower than the minimum requirement and the whole thing cost me R500.00, which I found to be quite reasonable at the time.

Towards the end of last year, just when my certificate was about to expire, I won a contract.  One of their requirements was that I have a BEE certificate, despite the fact that they were in possession of my annual financial reports which clearly evidenced that my annual turnover was below the R5 million requirement, so I contacted the company who had previously issued my certificate. 

I am sure that you can just imagine my horror when I was advised that the cost had gone up to R1500.00.  Needless to say I did not use them to issue my new certificate and neither will I be sending them any new business in the future!

After doing some research and asking questions on the Business Master forum http://www.businessmasters.co.za), I was pointed in the direction of the DTI.  The web address to go to is http://bee.thedti.gov.za/08.htm.

The site is very easy to navigate and the response is really quick.  Within 24 hours I received an e-mail confirming that I was indeed exempt.  Trouble was though, that this was not sufficient for my new clients.  So R285.00 and another 24 hours  later, I was registered on the DTI site and since this is the equivalent to having a certificate – all was well in my business world. Remember though that the certificate needs to be re-issued on an annual basis.

I am still somewhat at a loss however, to understand the reasoning behind the fact that despite the fact that the company concerned had a copy of my year-end financial statements, (for 3 years mind you) that evidenced that I was below the required minimum and that the law states that I am a ‘preferred supplier’ because I am ‘exempt’, I still had to provide a certificate to certify that I am exempt and therefore a preferred supplier.  It’s kind of stating the obvious, but making me pay for it!

Still, there you have it!  Instead of paying exorbitant prices to unscrupulous money grabbing individuals, the DTI have an affordable solution to the requirement.

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist, and owner of Viljoen Consukting. She can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

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