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Present a detailed list of your shareholders to prevent claims of B-BBEE fronting!

by , 28 March 2013
Last year, Carte Blanche reported that Gold Fields' 2010 Black Economic Empowerment Transaction deal with Invictus Consortium, was designed to give black South Africans a stake in the South Deep mine near Johannesburg. Instead, it was alleged to benefit the likes of Kenny Kunene, Gayton McKenzie and president Zuma's lawyer, Jerome Brauns. Now, Gold Fields is starting an independent investigation to review its own internal controls. Here's how to make sure your own B-BBEE credentials stand up to investigation.

Last year, Carte Blanche alleged that McKenzie and Brauns used their political influence to place politically-connected individuals in the Gold Fields' black economic empowerment consortium, Invictus, to influence the awarding of the license. 
 
But Gold Fields says the South Deep licence was awarded before the participants in the BEE consortium were even finalised.
 
Brush aside claims of dishonest B-BBEE dealings by making information public!
 
Now, the individual shareholders have been published, says Moneyweb.
 
There are 72 shareholders in total.
 
And Gold Fields has started an independent investigation into its Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions to review its internal controls.
 
This is a great idea, as it may well show that everything's above board, confirms Moneyweb.
 
If you're worried the public will accuse your company of similar actions, you can do a quick review of your own BEE credentials.
 
List your shareholders to follow Gold Fields' example by making your business ownership clear
 
Ownership is a crucial aspect of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
 
So much so that if your percentage of black shareholders is above 50%, you automatically qualify for a Level 3 BBBEE certificate, says FSP Business.
 
Now, proposed changes to the B-BBEE codes of good practice have procurement experts estimating that companies without black ownership will drop at least four status levels, says Smart Procurement.
 
This has led to a flurry of concern that fronting will rise as businesses look to prove they have at least 50% black shareholders. 
 
Fronting is tokenism or the superficial inclusion of historically disadvantaged individual in your ownership, says the Cape Gateway website.
 
The easiest way to avoid this is to present an up-to-date list of all your shareholders, including their positions and percentage stake in the company.
 
That way it'll be clear that you aren't fronting on the ownership level of B-BBEE.
 
Whether you have just one owner with controlling interests  or 72 shareholders like Gold Fields, you'll need to make sure that you aren't accused of 'fronting' on the ownership aspect of B-BBEE.
 

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