UFS IN JOINT VENTURE WITH EMPOWERDEX

November 19, 2006

The University of the Free State (UFS) today became the first tertiary institution in the country to sign a joint venture agreement with Empowerdex, South Africa’s foremost black economic empowerment (BEE) ratings agency, to train BEE practitioners that will implement BEE across all sectors of the economy...

The agreement was signed by Mr Vuyo Jack, Executive Chairman of Empowerdex and Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Mr Jack and Mr Chia-Chao Wu, Managing Director of Empowerdex, will be appointed as visiting professors in the UFS School of Management as part of the joint venture.

“The joint venture entails the establishment of a transformation office within the Centre for Business Dynamics at the UFS which will administer training programmes and conduct contract research on BEE as well as the establishment of a verification agency within the UFS School of Management,” said Mr Danie Jacobs, Head of the Centre for Business Dynamics at the UFS.

“The verification agency within the UFS School of Management will be able to verify the BEE compliance of businesses in the Free State and Northern Cape,” said Mr Jacobs.

According to Mr Jacobs, the venture originates from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) directive to draft codes of good practice for businesses as stated in the Broad Based Black Empowerment Act 53 of 2003. The final codes will be announced shortly and will act as a standard framework for the measurement of broad based BEE across all sectors of the economy.

The codes comprise seven elements on which basis points are allocated to a business to determine its level of compliance to BEE.

“The UFS is the only tertiary institution in the country which offers a formal certificate whereby BEE practitioners can be trained in order to ensure that they are competent to measure BEE,” said Mr Jacobs.

“Being able to utilise the UFS’ experience and expertise in the field of transformation is of great benefit to us and it will assist us in driving BEE in the country,” said Mr Jack.

According to Mr Jack, the UFS is centrally situated, which will make it easy for BEE practitioners to access the appropriate training course to suit their needs. “The venture will have an impact not only on this region, but on the whole country as the extensive networks of both Empowerdex and the UFS will contribute to us reaching and training BEE practitioners,” said Mr Jack.

The training programmes that will be offered by the transformation office within the UFS Centre for Business Dynamics are the Management Development Programme for BEE and Transformation, the Executive Credit Bearing Short Learning Programme and an online Non-Credit Bearing Short Learning Programme for BEE Specialists.

“The expertise and knowledge that Empowerdex brings to the joint venture is invaluable. Empowerdex pioneered the empowerment methodology and has been actively involved in the drafting of broad based BEE legislation, regulations and transformation charters,” said Mr Jacobs.