06 August 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Pixabay
Antonie Beukes says although the university is involved in a number of projects that add to its BBBEE rating, considerable attention is given to initiatives to better the lives of some of its suppliers.

For the past two years, the University of the Free State (UFS) has had one of the best Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) ratings among universities in South Africa. The university recently received confirmation that its Level-4 rating has been approved for another year. 

According to Antonie Beukes, Assistant Director in the UFS Department of Finance, this rating enables the university to compete with the advantage of a 100% procurement level regarding tenders. “It will also help with our third-stream income, and more importantly, this level assures everyone that we are on the right track regarding BBBEE,” says Beukes. 

Opportunity to better the lives of others

The university had to work hard to maintain their Level-4 BBBEE status. Beukes says one of the initiatives they focused on was the development of suppliers and enterprises that are not associated with the UFS. 

“Many people think of BBBEE initiatives as a project where money is paid, and that is where the buck stops. Although this may get you some points, it is important for the university to better the lives of others.”

“We mostly focus on Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs) and Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs), because they are the small, start-up companies that need help to be sustainable. Even though assistance can take various forms, such as spending time with suppliers and offering services at a lower cost or free of charge, the university gives considerable attention to providing training to these service providers,” says Beukes.

Always strive for a better rating

The UFS Department of Finance strives to achieve a better rating each year. “The aim for next year will obviously be to be rated as a Level 3 but maintaining the Level 4 will be a big achievement.”

Beukes, however, points out that one needs to be realistic and must keep track of what is going on in the economy, as well as the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He continues: “Strict new rules regarding BBBEE scoring also came into play last year and we see that most businesses are rating lower scores (higher levels), which directly impact the UFS.”

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.