Monday, 10 September 2018

The DA's plan to get SA growing helps small businesses play their part

The DA’s plan to get SA growing
by Mmusi Maimane - Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Date: 10 September 2018
Release: immediate
Note to Editors: the following statement was delivered by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference in Johannesburg today. Maimane was joined by DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
This week, Statistics South Africa confirmed that we are in recession. This news came as a surprise only to foreign ForEx and bond investors, and it would seem, to our government.
This is no surprise at all to anyone living in South Africa. The truth is that South Africans have known this for months - they have felt it in their own homes as the struggle to make ends meet gets more difficult, they have heard it as the word spreads about more job losses every day, and they've seen it in the streets and in the shops and in their pockets.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Letter to Hon Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Women in the Presidency, re late payment of supplier

This morning I wrote to the Minister of Women in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini MP, drawing attention to her department's late payment of invoices from a supplier, Duma Travel. This is the same company who came to me for help some weeks ago when trying to get their outstanding payments due from Parliament for travel services rendered. I wrote to the Speaker  and the Chief Financial Officer of Parliament demanding their attention to the matter and I am pleased to say some outstanding payments were made soon after that. But they still owe Duma Travel money.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Jack Ma of Alibaba was in Joburg last week - some useful takeaways

Last week I listened to one of the world's great entrepreneurs tell the story of how he created a business empire worth $500 billion in a matter of 19 years. Jack Ma, founder of, was in Joburg as the keynote speaker at the Netrepreneurs conference, all about how African tech entrepreneurs can grow and compete on the world stage. 

Ventureburn magazine has an excellent summary of his speech with the six takeaways - highly recommended reading you can find here.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Section 25 of the constitution and expropriation without compensation

On Saturday I attended the hearings on amending Section 25 of the constitution at Heartfelt Hall in Tshwane where a long line of people offered their opinions on the topic. I later learned from Glynnis Breytenbach that many of the EFF submissions came from the same people who had appeared at other hearings. While the highest quantity of submissions were for amending the constitution the best and most cogent arguments came from those opposed. I was joined by my colleagues Patrick Atkinson, Sej Motou and Anchen Dreyer, and earlier in the day Darren Bergman, Glynnis and Ghaleb Cachalia.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Opinion piece - Evidence points to marginalised small business sector

Three recently released reports paint a dismal picture of the contribution small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are making to the economy. They are a wake-up call for policy-makers who assume that SMEs are the main jobs drivers and will create 90% of new jobs by 2030.

Compared to its peers, South Africa has a smaller number of firms in proportion to the size of the economy and a much higher proportion of jobs coming from large firms and government. With smaller firms closing down and shedding jobs, and larger firms getting bigger though not necessarily hiring more people, it is inevitable our unemployment rate will increase further.

The reports focus on the formal SME sector and extract data from Treasury, SARS, commercial banks and other providers of finance as well as firms seeking finance. They each claim, in their respective focus areas, to be the most comprehensive studies yet done.

They home in on changes in tax receipts over time, access to finance and the quantum of firms and their contribution to employment to gauge whether the sector is making its expected contribution to the economy and participants are succeeding or struggling.

Letter to Business Day on why business should prioritise late payments

Yesterday's editorial in Business Day asked the question, is lip service paid to the SME sector? The answer is a resounding YES, for all sorts of reasons the editorial refers to. You can read it here.

This prompted me to write to the Editor to highlight one of the biggest burdens small businesses have to bear - late payments by customers.  You can read my letter here or below.

At the SBI Indaba last week Chairman of BLSA and the CEO Initiative Jabu Mabuza said late payments is an issue big business has to deal with. My question to him and new BUSA chair, Sipho Pityana is: when and how? If they don't give a clear direction on this issue soon I will be requesting the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development to summon them to account in Parliament in our next term beginning in August.

Dealing effectively with late payments is the flip side of introducing a small business ombudsman, contained in a bill I tabled in Parliament in May. We have to deal with the source of the problem - putting our payments house in order - but also have a back-stop mechanism that deters offenders from repeatedly abusing their suppliers in the first place.

Letter to the Speaker of Parliament about late payment of suppliers

On Friday I wrote to the Speaker of Parliament drawing her attention to the late payment of Duma Travel, which services MPs and Parliamentary staff travel needs. This follows an email I sent to Parliament's Chief Financial Officer last week after I received a tip off that Duma was owed hundreds of thousands of rands. It seems it could have had some effect - since then Parliament has paid around R700 000 to Duma, though over R800 000 is still outstanding.

You can read my letter below.

27 July 2018
Hon B Mbete MP                                            
Speaker of the National Assembly
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Dear Madam Speaker
I am writing to you to request an urgent intervention with regards to late payment by Parliament to one of its suppliers.