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Thursday, 25 October 2018
Media statement: ANC's rejection of Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill threatens jobs
Date: 25 October 2018
The ANC's decision to declare the DA's Private Member's Bill for the establishment of an ombud service for small enterprises "undesirable", proves that effectively and efficiently resolving disputes that cripple small businesses in South Africa is not a priority for the governing party.
The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development yesterday rejected the Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill based on unfounded promises by the Department of Small Business Development that they would be attending to it themselves.
This decision was made despite the Parliamentary Legislation Office indicating to the Committee that by doing so, the Department would be compelled to create, by means of legislation, an entity like that of the proposed Ombud Service. Parliament's legislative programme makes it impossible for the Department to accomplish this in the current 5th Parliament.
ANC members of the committee claimed the Bill would duplicate what the Department was already working on. This is despite the DA having a working and introduced version of the Bill before the Committee, whereas all the Department could show were empty promises and undertakings.
The government is notorious for the late and non-payment of SMEs, with about R27 billion in outstanding invoices. In many cases, this has resulted in the closure of emerging businesses and the loss of jobs.
This is concerning given the ever-rising unemployment of nearly 10 million people as well as the fact that the SME sector accounts for half of South Africa's Gross Domestic Product and 60% of employment in the country.
Recognising the need to support SMEs and save jobs, the DA's Bill sought to address the problem of delayed payments and bullying by big business through the establishment of an Ombud Service to create a level playing field between small businesses, big businesses and government.
As their vote yesterday was cast in line with their so-called party manifesto, one can only conclude that small enterprises and the problems that they face simply do not matter to the governing party. With this approach, it is no wonder that the country is facing an unemployment rate more than 27%.
The DA will continue to champion the cause of small enterprises and job creation. We will continue to do so despite the neglect they face from government and Parliament.