A Tangled Web The Perceived Influence of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Legislation on Corporate Social Investment in South Africa

This paper examines the perceived role of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation and it’s Codes of Good Practice on the nature, scope, extent and reach of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) in South Africa. Key findings, include: Though the B-BBEE codes are not mandatory, they have become a part of the commercial landscape and a necessary consideration for larger corporates doing business in South Africa. B-BBEE, though not intended as a CSI driver, has become a key de-facto driver of CSI and is now intractably weaved into the foundations of CSI planning and implementation. The study primarily explores the influence of the B-BBEE codes (i.e. the generic codes), but also touches on the “Industry Charters” which are sector-based charters that have been contextualized and modified for different industries. It must be noted that this is not a formal evaluation of the impact of B-BBEE on corporate giving; such a study would require a long-term, in-depth, longitudinal and wide-ranging analysis. The focus of the study is on the behaviour of large corporations, and not on the business sector in general.