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Verushca Pillay

Verushca Pillay is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Corporate M&A Practice Group in Johannesburg. She has extensive experience in advising, drafting and negotiating transaction agreements in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and general corporate and commercial matters. Verushca also has experience in all aspects of broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) which is a government policy to increase the participation of disadvantaged South Africans in the local economy. Compliance with BEE is vital for the vast majority of businesses operating in the region. Her advice on BEE legislation includes the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes of Good Practice, Sector Codes, and the Mining Charter. Verushca works across a number of sectors including education, gaming and renewable energy.

The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and its regulations govern the effective participation of black people in the South African economy. They aim to redress the historic economic inequalities as a result of apartheid, which excluded a large portion of the South African population, being black people, from the primary economy. The impact of apartheid was particularly damaging to the ability of black women to meaningfully participate in the economy.

In June 2023, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) proposed amendments to the JSE Listings Requirements including a new section which contains the listing requirements of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Segment of the JSE. Among other things, these requirements include that trading in BEE securities must be restricted to a BEE-compliant person pursuant to the use of either a BEE contract or a BEE verification agent. The JSE has invited comments on the proposed amendments by 17 July 2023.

Our newly updated broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) guide provides a detailed overview of the regulation of B-BBEE in South Africa. The principal objectives of B-BBEE are to promote economic transformation and enable meaningful participation of black people in the South African economy through increased participation in ownership and management structures, increasing the involvement of communities and employees in economic activities and skills training.

South Africa’s newly enacted Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEA Act) includes changes to the legislation governing workplace transformation, as well stricter compliance measures for designated employers. Once in force, the EEA Act will oblige designated employers to prepare employment equity plans. It will be essential for such employers to align their plans to achieve the targets for the employment of black people under the broad-based black economic empowerment codes of good practice with their employment equity plans.