PROPERTY SECTOR CODE OFFICIALLY GAZETTED
The Property Sector Charter Council is pleased to announce the recent gazetting of the Property Sector Charter as a Sector Code on Black Economic Empowerment in terms of Section 9(1) of the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (Act 53 of 2003).
The draft Property Sector Charter was issued for public comment in terms of Section 9(5) of the BBBEE Act in mid October 2010. The public and interested parties had 60 days in which they were invited to comment on the draft Sector Charter. The various comments were all given due consideration and the final version of the Sector Code was then compiled, culminating in its gazetting this month.
The Property Sector Code applies to all businesses and organisations involved in commercial and residential property. Commercial property includes office, industrial, retail and leisure property as well as land zoned for commercial development. Residential property includes houses, community schemes and land zoned for residential development.
The requirements that organisations are expected to meet in terms of the Code are effective immediately and there is no transition period. Instead of applying the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti’s) general Codes of Good Practice, sector participants must, as from date of gazetting, comply with the Property Sector Code in terms of Section 9(1) of the BBBEE Act. However, for organisations which had a BEE certificate issued before the gazetting of the Sector Code, that certificate will be valid for a period of twelve (12) months from its date of issue.
While it has taken some time for the process to be finalised, the CEO of the Property Sector Charter Council, Portia Tau-Sekati, points out that throughout the process the Council committed itself (and by extension, its representative members) to a process that was consultative, inclusive, representative, participative and stakeholder driven. “To date we have abided by that commitment,” she says. “The targets reflected in the Sector Code are those that were agreed upon by the parties involved. We adopted a multi-stakeholder approach that has worked favourably for the sector code. This model has created a healthy environment for everyone to be able to raise their views (either for or against) in a constructive way since the beginning,” she explains.
It is important for industry participants to be aware of the requirement that they need to meet in terms of the newly gazetted Code. However, Tau-Sekati points out that the Property Sector Code is ONLY a guiding document for how transformation and empowerment could be achieved in the property sector. “The true delivery and effects remains in the implementation of the Sector Code,” she notes.
The Property Sector Charter Council is strongly focussed on driving awareness and understanding of the Property Sector Code and what it means for the sector. “We want to assist wherever possible and we are going to spend the rest of the year engaging members, doing road shows and speaking at conferences to try and ensure people understand what is required of them, and to get their buy-in,” she comments. “We want to fosteracceptance of, and commitment to, the importance of transformation as a critical long term imperative for all South Africans economic sectors including the property sector.”
Part of the Property Sector Charter Council’s gazetted function is to monitor and evaluate the progress of transformation of sector or lack thereof on an annual basis. The mechanisms to facilitate this are being put in place at present. The research on the property industry which will enable this monitoring to take place accurately is making steady progress. From a governance and organisation point of view, the Council has a solid governance structure in place and has a good balance of both trade and social partners in the composition of its Board. The Council’s line ministry (being the Ministry of Public Works) has played and continues to play an active role and has shown good support. And whilst reporting will be done through various official structures including the members, ultimately the report will be officially pronounced by the Minister of public works.
It has been a long but rewarding road to the final gazetting, although for the Property Sector Charter Council and its member organisations, this is also the beginning of a whole new phase of implementation and monitoring. Tau-Sekati believes that the Sector Codes as they have been gazetted represent the interests of all the parties involved as fairly as possible, and she thanks all those who contributed to the process for their time, effort and financial and moral support.
Issued on behalf of the Property Sector Charter Council
CEO: Portia Tau-Sekati
Tel: 011 880 9918
Also see the release from the Department of Trade & Industry
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