UCT Tops B-BBEE Compliance List of South African Universities
Five years after the University of Cape Town (UCT) was declared non-B-BBEE compliant, the university has climbed the ranks to become the top B-BBEE compliant university in South Africa.
The recent assessment placed UCT at a score of 82.19, taking it from a Tier 7 score in 2018 to a Tier 4 score in 2021 – a far cry from the non-compliant score of 2015/16. Evaluated alongside 10 other universities, UCT was scored on management control (13.68), skills development (11.23), business and supplier development (52.28) and development socio-economic (5.00), becoming one of three South African universities to achieve Tier 4 status. Other universities that are at Tier 4 alongside UCT are Free State and Western Cloak.
UCT Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng said the recent B-BBEE status demonstrated the university’s commitment to the transformation agenda, a key part of the Vision 2030 strategy.
“Topping the nation’s B-BBEE rankings shows how important UCT’s transformation is to us.”
“I am absolutely delighted that we have reached this point. This has not been easy. Dismantling inequalities and redressing past injustices – a commitment of our employment equity policy – can never be an easy task, but it has to be done. Topping the country’s B-BBEE rankings shows how important UCT’s transformation is to us.
“As a leading university in Africa and one of the best in the world, excellence is important to us and we pursue it with passion; however, it is important that we also lead in an exemplary manner so that the students we produce can be encouraged to go out into the world and be advocates for social change in the industries they will one day lead,” said Professor Phakeng.
UCT’s B-BBEE assessment was conducted by Thamani Advisory, which reviewed the university’s B-BBEE verification certificate and preferential sourcing policy, checking documents against the map B-BBEE Generic Scorecard as defined by the Modified Codes of Practice for Specialist Businesses. ; and comparing with dozens of other universities.
Research and collaboration opportunities
Phakeng said the ranking will also open up new opportunities for UCT’s collaboration with industry, particularly in research, human resources and skills development.
“As a research-intensive university, a B-BBEE Level 4 status means that UCT improves its chances of successfully winning private sector and government research projects. This will help us stay at the top in terms of ground-breaking research projects that not only benefit South Africans and the continent, but also the global community,” she said.
Key investments, improved administrative processes
UCT performed well in all elements, particularly in preferential procurement, business and supplier development, and socio-economic development. UCT Finance Chief Executive Vincent Motholo said key initiatives over the past six years that have resulted in Tier 4 B-BBEE status include:
- changes to the Board, senior management and the implementation of the employment equity action plan
- an investment in Inyosi’s Business and Supplier Development Fund in December 2017, which is a third-party facilitator that helps UCT identify potential business development beneficiaries and assists in the management of a business development program suppliers
- improved administration of skills development initiatives with a learning program management system to ensure that all staff and student training initiatives are properly and accurately recorded.
“A B-BBEE dashboard is a measurement tool, a barometer of an entity’s commitment to social responsibility. The initiatives we implement across all elements of the B-BBEE Scorecard ensure that we create an inclusive society where all of our stakeholders – staff, students, suppliers, business development beneficiaries and suppliers – have the opportunity to grow and develop to create the South Africa we all want. UCT Level 4 shows that we are on track to do our part in this journey,” Motholo said.
The business impact of the latest ranking, Motholo said, has been significant in this difficult economic climate as it will have a direct positive impact on the budget, leading to job creation, training opportunities for staff and students and may -be more opportunities for new suppliers.
To achieve Tier 4 status, a phased approach has been adopted, namely a maintenance phase from 2021 to 2022, with key focus areas identified as priorities during the first phase noted as follows:
- maintain and implement sourcing policies and strategies to ensure inclusive sourcing with respect to Black designated group suppliers
- development of designated black vendors through the division of labor model, which includes the vendor development program, aimed at the development of black built environment professionals
- develop and implement training and development opportunities for designated black staff and students.
Looking to the future
After reviewing these elements, Thamai Advisory noted that further investment in skills development could improve UCT’s scorecard for the next round of assessments. To achieve this, the university was advised to pay particular attention to creating opportunities for increased black representation at all levels, as well as the appointment of black people living with disabilities.
To further improve its B-BBEE status, UCT is working to improve its current supplier database and include suppliers identified in a Thamani Advisory report.
“This will impact our preferential sourcing scorecard, which is 50% of our point total. Additionally, we will explore opportunities for skill development and learning,” Motholo said.