The preamble to the Constitution acknowledges the injustices of South Africa’s past and commits to “heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic social justice and fundamental human rights”. It adds that by adopting the Constitution as supreme law, we as South Africans will “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”.

Before the advent of democracy, the apartheid government systematically excluded all non-white South Africans from having meaningful participation in the economy. As a result, our country is one of the most unequal societies in the world, with a minority of individuals controlling a majority of the assets.

In an effort to create the inclusivity and equality envisioned by the Constitution, the government created a national empowerment strategy that focused on uplifting the historically disadvantaged: Black people, women, youth, disabled people and rural communities. B-BBEE was put in place within this framework to create a more representative distribution of wealth and opportunity.

Born out of those basic rights necessitated by the Constitution, the system was not only a moral initiative that redressed the wrongs of the past, but also a pragmatic growth strategy that brought the black majority into the mainstream economy.

To ensure the effective broadening of the country’s economic base, various laws, policies and codes of practice were created. This resulted in the B-BBEE environment being regulated by the Constitution, Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Act (B-BBEE Act), Employment Equity Act, Skills Development Act, Preferential Procurement Policy Framework and the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.

Add to this the interaction these pieces of legislation have with the Companies Act, Income Tax Act and others, and there’s little surprise that many companies find B-BBEE difficult to understand and apply. This was where Israel Noko, CEO of NPI Governance Consulting, saw an opening to effect meaningful change in the business environment. By decoding the complex legislation, Noko has been able to provide

Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) promises to move South Africa towards a more inclusive and prosperous society, says CEO of NPI Governance Consulting, Israel Noko, whose company is helping organisations make B-BBEE decisions that make business sense while ensuring we stay the course to transformation.

NPI Governance Consulting clients with solutions that help them take advantage of the opportunities presented by B-BBEE with as little difficulty as possible.

“Whilst B-BBEE implementation has had many challenges, there are small pockets of success. This became an opportunity to learn from these successes and to change the narrative around B-BBEE. We look at it from the basis of what they are already doing. A lot of companies are imlementing B-BBEE, so it’s more about documenting what they have. We’re very passionate about the opportunities we can create for the youth, thus, we try to shift that passion to our clients. Once they start to grow, they’re not just doing it for the B-BBEE points, but also for the long-term.”

Ensuring that companies are able to institute B-BBEE in a way that furthers the objectives of the B-BBEE Act – instead of paying mere lip service to its provisions – has been a major focus for Noko and his organisation.

“Companies tend to be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to transformation. What we’ve seen in the past few years is that companies tend to implement B-BBEE as a last-minute scheme rather than a strategic programme that has been planned in a way that makes business sense.

“We are committed to making sure that our growth solutions deliver excellent results for our clients. We want to ensure that they are always improving and enhancing their B-BBEE programmes, and making sure that the impact they have is meaningful. We also want to make sure that we’re getting a lot of value out of government compliance and ensuring that our clients are competitive.”

Noko adds that, to ensure B-BBEE creates a more fertile ecosystem for fair and empowered business, organisations must often go through a paradigm shift – which takes time.

“Often when companies are trying to institute transformation, they’re doing it with the mind-set of making change happen in four weeks. This approach will lead to a disasterous effect for all stakeholders. It’s about engaging with all the stakeholders in a meaningful way; taking them on board and giving them an opportunity to have a say in what transformation can do for the organisation.”

Looking at the NPI Governance Consulting operation, it’s clear that Noko practices what he preaches. Eighty-seven per cent of the organisation’s employees are black, while 75% are women and 85% fall into the ‘youth’ category (18–35). The company also champions youth development with a successful internship programme that enables individuals to enter the consulting industry, contextualise their academic knowledge and ultimately build a career.

“We’ve achieved 100% absorption in terms of our internship programme. That in itself has improved staff morale in the organisation and, in turn, has also enabled us to build retention in the organisation.”

With a mission to pioneer equitable growth in Africa, NPI Governance Consulting is committed to delivering excellence to its clientele. In helping companies drive economic transformation with B-BBEE decisions that make business sense, Noko and his team are ensuring that wealth will be generated in South Africa for the

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