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Business Tips – BEE Certificates

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The year before last I decided that it was time for me to get myself BEE 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 www.businessmasters.co.za), I was pointed in the direction of the DTI.  The web address to go to is 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.

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