Merchants SA becomes first local BPO provider of its size to achieve B-BBEE Level 1

Merchants SA becomes first local BPO provider of its size to achieve B-BBEE Level 1

Merchants is both proud and excited to announce that we have become the first BPO providers in the country of our size to achieve a level one B-BBEE status under the revised Generic Codes of Good Practice, just a year after achieving level 2 status. Our credentials at level one boast over 51% black ownership and 30% black female ownership.

“The journey to B-BBEE level 1 was not without its challenges,” explains Sydwell Shikweni, Transformation Director at Merchants. “The newly revised generic codes in this regard, effective as of December 2019, required further transformation measures in terms of among others skills development and preferential procurement. The effort has however been incredibly rewarding ensuring sustainable transformation and the development of our people, a core part of the business’ value proposition.” 

Over and above our operational excellence, our enhanced B-BBEE status puts us in a stronger position to offer clients added value, by improving their B-BBEE scorecard. In simple and practical terms, this means our clients will spend less with us and claim far more on their scorecard than they would from any other supplier with lower B-BBEE level and ownership credentials.

In terms of our scorecard, Merchants scored 25/25 for Ownership and 6/6 for Board Composition and Executive Directors. The Enterprise Development score, Supplier Development score, and Socio-Economic Development score remained steady at maximum possible of 7, 10 and 5 points respectively, when compared to last year. Meanwhile, Preferential procurement has improved significantly from 24.50 in 2019 to 28.44 in 2020, out of the total 29 points. Merchants also participated in the Youth Employment Services (YES) initiative – which was introduced into the Generic Codes of Good Practice in 2018 – with an intake of 89 candidates.

In practice B-BBEE Level 1 does not only imply compliance with the B-BBEE Act alone, but also a number of legislative requirements such as Employment Equity Act as linked with Management Control, the Skills Development Act, and the Preferential Procurement Policy Act.

“Improving our B-BBEE credentials has been an ongoing goal as part of our commitment to our transformation journey as a business. We have an effective B-BBEE committee, a sub-committee of the board chaired by our Transformation Director, and transformation is a standing agenda item in our Social and Ethics Committee and board meetings. We are grateful to our team who have worked tirelessly and to all stakeholders who shared our vision and supported our determination on this important transformation journey,” says Zain Patel, MD of Merchants SA.

“This achievement is not only positive for our business as well as that of our clients, but is a clear result of our ongoing commitment to a meaningful and sustainable business and is proof of our strategic drive toward transformation within the business,” concludes Shikweni. 

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