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 Alibaba.com, 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
REQUEST FOR URGENT INTERVENTION IN PARLIAMENT’S LATE PAYMENT TO SUPPLIERS
I am writing to you to request an urgent intervention with regards to late payment by Parliament to one of its suppliers.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Interview with The New Economic Rights Alliance about my Ombudsman bill

I  recently conducted an interview with Scott Cundhill of the New Economic Rights Alliance about my bill tabled in Parliament to establish a small enterprises ombud service to resolve disputes involving SMEs.

You can listen to the interview here.

Scott has created a very innovative website which helps small businesses get their invoices paid on time. It's called the Gentle Reminders Club and uses the power of peer pressure and publically displayed ratings of customers' payment records. It's a very neat solution to deal with the problem of late payments at source and business should support it wholeheartedly.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Letter to The Star about late payments of government suppliers

Yesterday's Star newspaper carried my letter to the editor following a front page expose in Monday's paper about government failing to pay its suppliers.

Read the letter below:

Give the small guys a chance
Toby Chance MP

The Star article published on the 9th of July 2018 titled “State’s R7 billion debt headache” refers. It is inconceivable how, in an economy which is struggling to create jobs, government departments are failing to pay suppliers and small businesses on time for services rendered.

Reports that the state is sitting on 93 000 unpaid invoices highlights a government that does not care about the sustainability of small businesses or the jobs of thousands of South Africans who rely on them to feed their families.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Interview with Cape Talk Kieno Kammies on my private member's bill

On Tuesday 5th June Cape Talk morning show host Kieno Kammies interviewed me about my bill to establish a small enterprises Ombud Service.

You can listen to the interview here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Supermarket news covers my private member's bill to establish a small enterprises ombud service

The word is getting out to the retail sector about my ombud service bill. Big retailers are some of the worst offenders when dictating payment terms to small suppliers. Even big suppliers are affected as are their own supply chains which negatively affects their suppliers' cash flow. It's a chain reaction and normally in the supply chain the organisation sitting at the top comes out best - retailers take in cash from customers and regularly pay suppliers in 60 days or more so getting a turn on their money.

Read the article in Supermarket News here.

My ombudsman proposal has many features of the UK Grocery Code Adjudicator - more info can be found about this here.

Notes from the House features my private member's bill on the small enterprises ombud service

Parliamentary correspondent Moira Levy has featured an article on my private member's bill to establish a small enterprises ombud service in her newsletter Notes from the House.

This is how they describe themselves:

Notes from the House is an independent weekly digital newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere.

You can read the article here.

Cape chamber backs plan for a payments ombud for small businesses

Today's Business Day carried a follow-up story to yesterday's coverage of my private member's bill to establish a small enterprises ombud service.

The momentum for this proposal is building up step by step. The Cape Chamber is an influential body and its endorsement will be noticed by its members who will hopefully add their voice to this proposal.

You can read the article here.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Business Day coverage of my proposed Ombud Service

Today's Business Day gives prominent coverage to my private member's bill to establish a small enterprises ombud service.


You can read the article on Business Live here.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Media statement: Department of Small Business Development has no approved organizational structure after 4 years

Date: 31 May 2018
Release: Immediate
 
The DA has received information that confirms that the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) does not have an approved organisational structure, four years after its formation. This has rendered it incapable of fulfilling its core function of small business development in the country.
On 23 of October 2017, the former Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi, sent a cautionary note (see here) to Minister Zulu advising that the DSBD still lacks a finalised organisational structure based on the Department’s strategic plan.

My Small Enterprises Ombud Service private member's bill tabled in Parliament

On Tuesday 29th May my Small Enterprises Ombud Service private member's bill was ATC'd. That's Parliamentary speak for being listed in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of that day. The bill has been sent to the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development for consideration. I expect to present it to the Committee early in the Third Term, in August.

I had hoped to wait until the deadline for comments and submissions on the bill, 11th June, to make final adjustments before tabling it. However, out of the blue Parliament imposed a deadline of 31st May for bills to be tabled if the sponsors wanted them finalised during this, the 5th Parliament which ends just before the next election, expected in May 2019. Fortunately the many submissions I received included nothing fundamentally different from what the bill envisages so we were able to get it through in time.

The bill is available to download from the DA website here.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

First review of my Private Member's Bill to establish a small enterprises ombudsman

Today's edition of Legal Brief, the online legal news hub as it calls itself, is first out of the starter blocks to comment on my private member's bill to establish a Small Enterprises Ombud Service.

It points out that both the Department of Small Business Development and the Portfolio Committee have supported the idea of an ombudsman to resolve disputes, so we now have to see if politics gets in the way of common sense and the bill encounters hurdles when it comes before the Committee.

You can read the review here.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Complaint lodged with the Public Service Commission about poor management of the Department of Small Business Development

Yesterday I wrote to Dr Dovhani Mamphiswana, Director General of the Public Service Commission, to lodge a complaint about the generally poor state of the Department of Small Business Development.

This has long been coming, but the final straw was when our Portfolio Committee received a letter from a whistleblower in the Department earlier this month. I referred to it in my budget debate speech last week.

You can read my letter as well as the letter from the whistleblower below.

Opinion piece in The Sowetan on how to solve the late payments scourge

Tuesday's edition of The Sowetan published my opinion piece on how we can help small businesses deal with the scourge of late payments. The three proposals are: support the Prompt Payment Code; introduce Supply Chain Finance as the norm for procurement by government and big business; and establish a Small Enterprises Ombudsman to resolve disputes quickly and cheaply.

You can read it here, or the full unedited text below or click on the link here.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Opinion piece in The Star on land grabbing in Protea Glen, Soweto

Last Wednesday's May 16th edition of The Star newspaper published my opinion piece on the recent spate of land grabbing in Protea Glen which is in my Soweto constituency.

I visited the area and saw that the police and local homeowners had managed to deter the invaders from taking possession of the land. There were remnants of burned tyres and other objects used to block the roads which had been placed their by residents trying to protect their properties.

The issues are complex and more nuanced than many commentators like to think. This was a case of landless members of the Naledi community invading private land adjacent to a bonded house development. where homeowners took offence at the prospect of an informal, unserviced settlement taking root and reducing the value of their hard-earned property.

You can read the article below.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Budget speech delivered in Parliament today: DA has solutions to grow the SME sector in South Africa


Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister, Honourable Members, distinguished guests in the gallery, good afternoon.

The Portfolio Committee’s report on the Department of Small Business Development’s budget and annual performance plan is a cutting indictment of four wasted years.

Just last week the Committee received an anonymous letter from a whistle-blower within the Department, extracts of which read as follows: “even now as I speak there is no structure with an approval signature of the Minister of DPSA, the Department has incurred a huge over-expenditure on goods and services, there is a desperate lack of capacity in CIS, Co-operative Unit and BBSDP, with only five officials expected to serve nine provinces as well as DG having announced that CIS, EIP, BBSDP and IMEDP will be migrated to agencies without proper, open and honest discussions with staff on this matter.”

For our purposes the meaning of the acronyms is immaterial. Suffice it to say they refer to core Department programmes which it now wants to hive off to its agencies without proper discussion or consideration. As well as chaotic and dictatorial management by the DG.

Minister Zulu, as the Executive Authority, must take responsibility for this disaster in the making.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Media statement - DA proposes establishment of an SME Ombudsman to save jobs

Date: 11 May 2018
Release: Immediate
 
Today, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development, Toby Chance MP and the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Provincial Treasury and e-Government, Adrianna Randall MPL, presented a Private Members Bill(PMB), to be presented in Parliament, that will see the establishment of a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ombud service to mediate disputes and resolve late payment issues between SMEs and government in order to save jobs.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Media advisory: DA to present plan to prevent job losses in the SME sector

Date: 09 May 2018
Release: Immediate
 
On Friday, 11 May 2018, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, will be joined by the DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development, Toby Chance MP and the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Provincial Treasury and e-Government, Adrianna Randall MPL, to present our plan that will help solve the problem of late payments to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by government departments and the private sector.
While SMEs generate half of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 60% of employment, the sector’s viability is threatened by the problem of late payments.
Payments made after 30 days affect the cash flow of SMEs undermining their ability to survive as going concerns. This often leads to job losses and closure of some SMEs, further worsening the rate of entrepreneurial activity in South Africa.
In a country with almost 10 million jobless people we should be focusing on SMME’s as the drivers of creating jobs. Despite this national government is notorious for late and non-payments to SMME’s who do business with the state. Government departments have as much as R7 billion in outstanding invoices to date.
The event will take place as follows:
Date: Friday, 11 May 2018
Time: 10:00
Location: Denel Vehicle Syatems, 12 Barnsley Street, Benoni

 
Media Enquiries
 
 
 
Democratic Alliance
 
Portia Adams
Spokesperson to the DA Leader
082 319 6666
 
Lulama Mankabane
Communications Officer
078 955 6834
 
Enocent Nemuramba
National Press Officer
071 095 1806
 


Friday, 4 May 2018

Letter in Business Day - more businesses of all sizes

Today's Business Day published my letter, written in response to a leading article in the 30th April edition of the newspaper.

Business Day is generally upbeat about the state of the nation four and a half months after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected President of the ANC. But what caught my eye was its comment that South Africa needs more businesses. Small and medium enterprises contribute roughly 60% of the GDP of successful economies. In South Africa it is only around 40%, meaning 60% comes from large enterprises. The only way around this is for us to start more businesses that survive and grow.

If we are to reduce unemployment there is no other way of achieving it than having more businesses employing more people. How do we do this? My letter provides some essential first steps.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Statement in Parliament on the continuing impasse between Sefa and the Gauteng Industrial Parks


                   NATIONAL ASSEMBLY                  MEMBER STATEMENT       ____________________________________

Internal Ref Number:
028
-
2018
Date:
24.04.2018
Member:                              Mr Toby Chance
Statement:   GAPIPA / OWIPA

Honourable Speaker

The tenants of the Gauteng Industrial parks, representing several hundred small businesses, are getting a raw deal from their landlord, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.

More than thirty years after they were established, tenants’ rights are being denied, by an ANC government which has demonstrated a callous and discriminatory attitude towards these businesses.

The tenants presented their plight to the Small Business Development Portfolio Committee in Parliament in 2015. Since then, negotiations with SEFA over the transfer of ownership of the parks have reached a stalemate.

They last met in February 2017 and in May 2017 SEFA unilaterally stopped payments to a supplier of cleaning services to the parks, resulting in their conditions deteriorating to the point of becoming a health hazard.

Minister Zulu, in a written response to questions I posed to her in August last year, dodged the crucial questions of what her department and SEFA are doing to provide technical and business support to the tenants to facilitate the transfer of ownership.

Continued delays in resolving the Gauteng industrial parks impasse places the sustainability of the businesses in danger. This is yet another example of the ANC government’s promises on job creation by small business being hollow and meaningless.

END

Minister Zulu was in the House when I read this statement yesterday and put up her hand to be included in the 6 ministers the House Chair selected to respond to member statements but sadly she was number 7 on the list so no answer was forthcoming. This does not leave her off the hook, though, and I will pursue this matter through other channels.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Small businesses continue to get bad service from government departments - a case study

This week I received an impassioned email from the owner of a small business who had applied for funding from Sefa but got nothing but the proverbial run around. Our correspondence and his submission to the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, copied below, describe his frustrations at the failure of the Department, its agencies and other government departments to do their job.

I have kept the identity of the individual he is complaining about at Sefa confidential as it would not be fair on her to reveal her name until Sefa has investigated the complaint.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Media statement: DA calls on Public Protector to investigate Minister Lindiwe Zulu's luxury cars purchase

Date: 22 March 2018
Release: Immediate
 
The DA will lodge a complaint with the Public Protector to investigate the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, for wilfully misleading Parliament on the purchase of cars by the Department for herself and her then deputy Nomathemba November.
In an oral reply to a question I posed to her on the 29th of November 2017, Minister Zulu seemingly omitted that the Department was in the process of buying new cars for her and her Deputy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Motion in Parliament on the launch of Project Naledi


Today I moved this motion in the House:


NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
   MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE


Internal Ref Number:
017
-
2018
Date:
13.03.2018
Subject:
Project Naledi

I hereby move, on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, that this House;

1.      Notes that On Saturday 17th February, Project Naledi was successfully launched at the Soweto Equestrian Centre in Moroka, Soweto;

2.      Further notes that Project Naledi is a partnership between international law firm Pinsent Masons, the Soweto Equestrian Centre, Soweto Cricket Club and Sir Ramabitsa Education Programme and

3.      Takes cognisance of the fact that the project has already enrolled over 200 youngsters onto the programme, who are receiving extra lessons in maths, accounting, English and science to better equip them for the world of work;

4.      Congratulates the local community members who initiated this programme, based on a firm commitment to improve the life chances of their young people;

5.      Acknowledges the important role Pinsent Masons is playing by providing funds, resources and networking opportunities;

6.      Further acknowledges that this epitomises the sort of partnership President Ramaphosa called for in his state of the nation address; and

7.      Encourages the establishment of other similar partnerships in communities throughout South Africa, to build trust, collaboration and work towards the betterment of the lives of millions of South Africans who deserve better than they have experienced under 24 years of ANC government.  

Toby Chance MP



Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Acknowledgement of receipt from The Presidency of my letter on late payments

Dear Mr Christians

We write to acknowledge with thanks, receipt of letter from Shadow Minister of Small Business Development, Toby Chance addressed to the President of the Republic of South  Africa, His Excellency, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.

Kindly be advised that the matter will be brought to the President’s attention.

Kind regards

Mr Robert Ngobeni-Hlongwane
Administration & Correspondence
Private Office of the President
West Wing, Room 65 Union Buildings
The Presidency
Tel: 012 300 5219
Cell: 082 375 1099
Fax: 086 683 5219
Website: www.thepresidency.gov.za


Letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa on late payments to suppliers to government


NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
PO Box 15 Cape Town 8000 Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 (21) 403-3595/8911, Fax: 086 730 5690
Cell: +27 (0)83 251 5613
e-mail: toby@tobychance.com

Toby Chance MP

Shadow Minister OF SMall Business Development
Member of Parliament for Soweto west
                                                                                                                                                                           5 March 2018


President Cyril Ramaphosa
Union Buildings
Pretoria
Republic of South Africa

Dear President Ramaphosa

PAYMENT PLAN URGENTLY REQUIRED TO PAY BUSINESS SUPPLIERS TO GOVERNMENT

I would like to congratulate you on your election as President of South Africa and
wish you well in the carrying out of your duties.
As you are aware and expressed in your reply to the state of the nation debate, small business development is critical for economic growth and job creation in our country.
Cash flow makes or breaks a small business. If one does not have the cash to pay expenses and salaries, then one’s business can’t survive. Simply put: no cash equals no business. This is a reality even if a small business has all the customers it wants and talented employees who do their jobs well.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Media statement: Ramaphosa must commit to Payment Plan to pay business suppliers

Ramaphosa must commit to Payment Plan to pay business suppliers

by Toby Chance MP - DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development

One of the tests for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office will be to ensure that more than 100 000 unpaid invoices, worth over R7.7 billion, much of it to small businesses, is paid out as a matter of urgency.
The DA will write to both Minister Lindiwe Zulu and President Ramaphosa asking that they commit to a Small Business Suppliers Payment Plan to clear the arrears currently due to hardworking men and women in the small business sector.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Panel discussion on Classic Business - the Ramaphosa effect on SMEs

Yesterday evening I participated in a panel discussion on Classic FM's business programme, Classic Business.

The other panelists were Joe Schwenke, founder of what is now Business Partners, and Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist at The Efficient Group.

An interesting discussion, which you can download by clicking here.

The main point I tried to get across was that Cyril Ramaphosa is not the silver bullet the economy needs as he has to first make the hard choices on labour reform, BEE, tackling the unions and favouring the National Development Plan as opposed to the National Democratic Revolution before he can claim our support.

After the panel discussion I went home and sat up to listen to President Zuma resign as President of the Republic. What a relief. Today we vote on the election of a new president.

Assuming it is Ramaphosa, we will find him a tougher customer to oppose than Zuma but we must never lose sight of the fact that Ramaphosa is a child of the ANC too, and he has been complicit in all the misdeeds of the previous 5 years of Zuma rule.

Does he have the courage to strike out in a new direction? His choice of cabinet will be the first indicator or yes, no or maybe.

Monday, 22 January 2018

DA lays intimidation charge against ANC candidate in Ward 14 by-election

Case number Ref NR 326/1/2018 Contact 011 986 9272

DA activist Thenjiwe Mbete yesterday laid a charge of intimidation against ANC ward councillor candidate Makapane Mokwena at the Protea Glen police station.

This follows an incident yesterday morning at the Voting Station where Ms Mbete is volunteering during the registration day for the forthcoming by-election in Ward 14 of the City of Johannesburg.

At approximately 8:15 I arrived at the voting station in Protea North to greet DA activists. As I drove onto the premises I was confronted by a man who began shouting at me. When I asked him what the matter was he continued to shout and accused me of trying to run him over. I apologised and said I had not seen him and certainly did not try to run him over. After greeting DA activists I then drove off to another voting station. I was later told that the man is the ANC ward candidate. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Video of my father's memorial service

My nephew Michael Chance made a video of my father's memorial service, which you can see here.

Though it does not include all the readings and hymns it captures the essence of the service, including the wonderful motets by the scratch Chance choir.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Memorial service for my father

Yesterday we said goodbye to my father for the last time. He died early in the morning of Christmas Eve in the Criccieth nursing home, Bryn Awelon, where he spent the last two weeks of his life.


His coffin was brought to St Catherine's church on Thursday evening where the vicar, Kim Williams, conducted a brief ceremony for close family members. On Friday morning the hearse led the cortege to Bangor crematorium where Kim led another ceremony, and at 2:30 around 80 family and friends gathered at St Catherine's for a wonderful service of remembrance. We assembled a scratch choir and sang Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus and Tallis' If ye love me, with our cousin Michael Chance singing a short solo piece in his inimical counter-tenor.

My sister Helena and I delivered the eulogies, which I reproduce below. We held the wake at the Lion Hotel and a dinner for 40 family and out of town friends at Dylan's restaurant. A splendid send off for my dearly beloved father.