Saai has sought legal advice after exporters of agricultural products were concerned since October 2021 that the Perishable Product Export Control Board (PPECB) insisted that Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BB-BEE) certificates have to be handed in. Saai also wrote to the PPECB that the board is not in a position to insist on such certificates. The Promotion of Access to Information Act was also used to determine which criteria the board will use to regulate exports.
The PPECB on 17 February 2022 wrote to Saai that the export of agricultural products will not be hampered if the exporter does not hand in a BB-BEE certificate. The board also confirmed that it has no criteria where a BB-BEE score is a consideration. The board confirmed that currently it does not even have a concept criteria where BB-BEE plays a role.
According to Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai, it is shocking that the PPECB wanted to back family farmers into a corner with requirements that has no relevance to the board’s decision-making or functions. “The PPECB should rather focus on its actual duties, such as exercising control over product quality,” says Rossouw.
The export of agricultural products brings in valuable foreign exchange at a time when the South African economy is in dire need of it.
Saai is considering further legal action to obtain certain information which is still entrenched by the PPECB in the hope that it will disclose the body’s actual motives.
There is now certainty that family farmers have no obligation to submit BB-BEE certificates. Saai calls on those who have submitted certificates to demand it back in protest and to insist that the information be removed from the PPECB’s systems.