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Five years after the University of Cape Town (UCT) was ruled out as B-BBEE non-compliant, the university has moved up the ranks to become the top B-BBEE compliant university in South Africa.

The recent evaluation placed UCT at a score of 82.19, moving it from a level 7 score in 2018 to a level 4 score in 2021 – a far cry from the 2015/16 non-compliant scoring. Assessed alongside 10 other universities, UCT was scored on management control (13.68), skills development (11.23), enterprise and supplier development (52.28), and socio-economic development (5.00), becoming one of the three South African universities to attain the level 4 status. Other universities that are on level 4 alongside UCT are the universities of the Free State and the Western Cape.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the recent B-BBEE status was testament to the university’s commitment to the transformation agenda, a key element of the Vision 2030 strategy.

“Leading in the country’s B-BBEE rankings shows just how important transforming UCT is to us.”

“I am absolutely delighted that we’ve reached this point. It hasn’t been easy. Dismantling inequality and redressing injustices of the past – an undertaking on our Employment Equity Policy – can never be an easy task, but it has to be done. Leading in the country’s B-BBEE rankings shows just how important transforming UCT is to us.

“As a top-ranking 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 way so that the students we produce can be emboldened to go out into the world and be advocates of social change in industries they will lead one day,” Professor Phakeng said.

UCT’s B-BBEE assessment was conducted by Thamani Advisory firm, which looked into the university’s B-BBEE verification certificate and its Preferential Procurement Policy, checking the documents against the generic B-BBEE scorecard as defined by the Amended Codes for Good Practice for Specialised Enterprises; and comparing with scores of other universities.

Opportunities for research and collaboration

Phakeng said the ranking will also open new opportunities for UCT’s collaboration with industry, particularly in research, human resources and skills development.

“As a research-intense university, a level 4 B-BBEE status means that UCT improves its chances of successfully being awarded research projects from the private sector and government. This will help keep us at the top in terms of groundbreaking research projects that are not only beneficial to South Africans and the continent but to the global community as well,” she said.

Key investments, improved administration processes

UCT performed well in all elements, especially in Preferential Procurement, Enterprise and Supplier Development, and Socio-Economic Development. UCT Finance Executive Director Vincent Motholo said key initiatives over the last six years that culminated in a level 4 B-BBEE status included:

  • changes to Council, executive management and the implementation of the Employment Equity policy plan
  • an investment into the Inyosi Enterprise and Supplier Development Funds in December 2017, which is a third-party facilitator that assists UCT to identify potential enterprise development beneficiaries and assists in the management of a supplier development programme
  • improved administration of skills development initiatives with a learning programme management system to ensure that all training initiatives of staff and students are correctly and accurately recorded.

“A B-BBEE scorecard is a measurement tool, a barometer showing an entity’s commitment towards social responsibility. The initiatives that we implement across all the elements of the B-BBEE scorecard ensures that we are creating a society that is inclusive where all our stakeholders – staff, students, vendors, enterprise and supplier development beneficiaries – have the opportunity to grow and develop themselves to create the South Africa we all want. UCT’s level 4 shows that we are on track to do our part in this journey,” said Motholo.

The commercial impact of the latest ranking, Motholo said, was significant in this tough economic climate as it will have a direct positive impact on the budget, leading to job creation, training opportunities for staff and students and possibly more opportunities for new vendors.

To achieve the level 4 status, a phased approach was adopted, namely, a maintenance phase from 2021 to 2022, with key focus areas identified as priorities during the first phase noted as:

  • maintaining and implementing procurement policies as well as strategies to ensure inclusive procurement with regards to black designated group suppliers
  • development of black designated suppliers through the Work Allocation Model, which includes the supplier development programme, aimed at the development of black built environment professionals
  • developing and implementing training and development opportunities for black designated staff and students.

Forward looking

Having looked into these elements, Thamai Advisory noted that further investments in skills development may improve UCT’s scorecard for the next round of assessments. To achieve this, the university was advised to have a focused attention on creating opportunities for increased black representation across the board, as well as the appointment of black people living with disabilities.

To further improve its B-BBEE status, UCT is working on improving its current vendor database and bringing on board vendors identified on a report by Thamani Advisory.

“This will have an impact on our preferential procurement scorecard, which accounts for 50% of our total points. Additionally, we will explore opportunities within skill development and learnerships,” Motholo said.

 

MARCH 2022 | STORY STAFF WRITER. PHOTO LERATO MADUNA. VIDEO RUAIRI ABRAHAMS.