05 July 2018 Photo Unsplash
SANAS rates UFS level 4 on BBBEE compliance
Within the space of a year, the University of the Free State has upgraded from Level 6 to Level 4 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status.

The South African National Accreditation System, a government Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) agency recently upgraded the University of the Free State’s (UFS) compliance level to a 4 for the year 2018/19, an exponential rise from the previous financial year’s level 6 rating.
 
BEE ratings depend on factors including management control, skills development, enterprise supplier development, and socioeconomic development. In comparison with the previous year, the UFS scores have increased considerably. Major growth has been witnessed with regard to skills development which escalated from 21 points to 22.77 as well as enterprise and supplier development points which accumulated from 39.32 to 44.91.

Other institutions of higher education that were evaluated are the University of Pretoria, North-West University, University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University, Nelson Mandela University, University of Cape Town, and the University of Johannesburg. In contrast the UFS emerged with the highest BBBEE score.

An 80-90 points scorecard
According to Marlete Paulsen, Deputy-Director: Finance at the UFS, achieving the higher level score has been a work in progress for a long time in which small to medium enterprises were trained to become full scale suppliers. “Our top management is accelerating the development of smaller business. This is not a quick fix but took years in which offices such as the Department of University Estates trained newcomers into the market by awarding them small-scale jobs that have now developed and they are now able to offer high-end jobs.”

Transforming one BBBEE level at a time
Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector: Operations, notes the new level rating as a step in the right direction. “We have recognised that BBBEE is not only a moral issue but an important piece of the economic puzzle that is required to ensure that everyone benefits from business at the UFS, as well as being employed at the UFS.”
 
According to Prof Naidoo, the rating is also a return on investments made over the years. “In understanding that the current composition of the higher-education workforce presents challenges in accelerating the changes we desire, we believe we are slowly making progress in this regard. In terms of the other factors, our investment in various strategies is reflected in the outcome of a level 4 BBEEE rating. The commitment of Council, management, all departments, employees and especially our procurement and finance teams, is commendable.”