Customers are putting more pressure on companies to comply with broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), the seventh annual KPMGBlack Economic Empowerment (BEE) Survey has shown.

About 42 per cent of companies surveyed indicated that a BBBEE-contributor status of level four is what is expected of them by their customers. A further 51 per cent responded that their clients required them to have contributor levels of at least three or higher.

Bonolo Sinobolo, the senior manager of KPMG’s BEE advisory services, said that while the expectation on compliance was mainly driven by customers, competitors and legislation were the additional drivers influencing businesses to aim for higher contributor levels.

The department of trade and industry has indicated that it intends gazetting the revised codes of good practice in June 2013.

“The intention of revising the codes was to enhance the implementation of BBBEE in a meaningful and sustainable manner. Principles and guidelines contained in the revised codes were intended to facilitate and accelerate the implementation of B-BBEE,” Ms Sinobolo said.

However, over 90 per cent of companies participating in the survey indicated that the implementation of revised BBBEE codes would have a negative impact on their current rating level.

“I think what we are seeing is a negative perception – ‘the revised codes will not achieve those objectives’ – but then we need to look back first to say in the first five years what did BEE achieve?” commented Sinobolo.

“If one considers that 75 per cent of respondents indicated that BEE in its current format is not achieving, or is only partially achieving its objectives, the revision of the codes seems to be well timed,” she added.

If the revised codes were gazetted in June, it would mean the changes would have to be implemented within 12 months from then.

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