SOUTH Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission has accused a Nigerian-born naturalised South African man Olufunsho Adebayo Ademoye of benefiting from government tenders after falsely claiming his company, Vicky Adey Consulting CC, was 100 per cent black-owned.
The commission launched an investigation into the consulting firm in May 2020 after Ademoye featured on Arise Tv’s ‘Morning Show’ in 2019. He stated that he benefitted from the B-BBEE programme designed for Africans and people of colour.
Ademoye explained during the show that after the apartheid, South Africa introduced the B-BBEE for Blacks, which ordinary South Africans believed was exclusive to them, and urged the government to do more to educate its citizens to avoid xenophobic attacks on those perceived to be ‘foreigners.’
“The BEE was meant for Africans, Indians, Chinese and coloured. I think the South African government still needs to educate their people that, don’t forget, those foreigners who have been here after 1994 who are now permanent residents are also part of the BEE. They need to do that to their people so that they would stop attacking foreigners because we are all Africans,” he said.
However, the Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Commission, Moipone Kgaboesele, said Ademoye’s comments were misleading.
According to her, Section 1 of the B-BBEE Act limits benefits to Black people, including Africans, ‘coloured’ people, and Indians who were South African citizens by birth or descent or naturalisation before April 27, 1994.
She said the Commission found that Ademoye naturalised as a South African citizen in August 2009. Therefore, he could not claim benefits under the B-BBEE Act, even though his South African wife Phumudzo Muthelo owned a 60 per cent stake in Vicky Adey Consulting CC, while he owned the remaining 40 per cent.
Ademoye and Muthelo claimed they were unaware of the requirements of the B-BBEE Act. They had, however, agreed to immediately withdraw from the panel of contractors and service providers of any organ of state or public entity, which were awarded based on false and misrepresented information.
The company had secured opportunities on the panel of contractors and service providers in the Gauteng provincial department of education, Coega Development Corporation and Independent Development Trust.
The commission said ignorance of the law was not an excuse and would not absolve Ademoye and Muthelo from liability, warning private and public sectors, including foreign nationals, as beneficiaries of any B-BBEE element.
It also recommended that Vicky Adey Consulting CC, Ademoye and Muthelo issue a written public apology and place it on social media.
In addition, the Commission directed the company and its shareholders to pay R50,000 to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
The B-BBEE is an integration programme launched by the South African government to reconcile South Africans and address the inequalities of apartheid by compensating black South African for the land taken away from them.