Monday, 29 September 2014

Letter to Minister Jeff Radebe re the turf war hampering Small Business Development department

Below is the text of the letter I sent to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe requesting him to intervene in the turf war between the Departments of Small Business Development, Trade & Industry and Economic Development.

The Honourable Jeff Radebe MP
Minister in the Presidency
Union Buildings
Private Bag X1000

29th September 2014

Dear Minister Radebe 

Problems facing the establishment of the Department of Small Business Development

On Thursday and Friday last week the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development held a strategic workshop where the Ministry and Department presented their vision and plans and the committee members interrogated them. 

Of concern to me is that there appears to be a turf war developing between this department and the Departments of Trade & Industry and Economic Development over where certain functions should sit. The Acting Director General, Ms Pumla Ncapayi, reported to the Committee that the DED is intent on retaining control of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, while the DTI is of the same view with regard to the Incubator Support Programme. 

I am sure you will agree with me that these two functions – finance and incubation for small businesses – sit squarely within the remit of Small Business Development. Now that the President has created this department it would be odd to say the least if it were not fully capacitated to do its job. 

There is multi-party agreement that small businesses will create the majority of the 11 million jobs we need by 2030, as outlined in the National Development Plan. Minister Zulu cannot be expected to play her part in facilitating this process of job creation if she is shackled from the start. 

I am therefore appealing to you to intervene and find a settlement between the three ministries so they can get on with the important work ahead without delay. The Portfolio Committee is unanimous on this matter and I am sure the Chairperson, the Honourable Ruth Bhengu MP, will be taking it up through appropriate ANC structures as well. 

I look forward to your response. 

Yours sincerely 

Toby Chance MP
Shadow Minister for Small Business Development

The Honourable Lindiwe Zulu, MP
The Honourable Ruth Bhengu, MP

Business Day picks up on the problems facing the Department of Small Business Development

Today's Business Day has a page 2 article quoting me extensively on the problems facing the Department of Small Business Development.

The full text of my statement can be read below.

Department of Small Business Development being slowly strangled at birth

 MPs at Friday’s session of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development’s strategy workshop in Kempton Park listened in shock as Minister Lindiwe Zulu described her new-born department’s struggles to draw breath and establish its independence. 

It appears the Departments of Trade & Industry and Economic Development are doing all they can to strangle their younger sibling at birth with potentially tragic consequences for small and medium enterprises, which are expected to create 90% of the 11 million jobs the NDP says we need by 2030.

SiMODiSA Start Up Conference - 10-10-14 in Cape Town

The organisers of the SiMODiSA conference on start ups and entrepreneurship have sent out a mailer advertising it - click here for details.

It will be an excellent place to learn, network and do business. I am going to be there, for sure.

A tale of two festivals

This weekend the annual Soweto Festival Expo once again provided an opportunity for small businesses from Soweto and Gauteng to sell their wares, network, and contribute to job creation and economic growth in South Africa. The three day event also showcased hundreds of musicians and performing artists, all contributing to the creative economy of Gauteng. 

This same weekend the City of Tshwane was due to host the Tribe One Festival, purportedly at a cost of R65 million. It was cancelled at the last minute, amidst accusations and counter accusations by the City and the event organisers.  

Friday, 26 September 2014

Department of Small Business Development: quo vadis?

The task ahead

”If countries fail at creating jobs, their societies will fall apart. Countries, and more specifically cities, will experience suffering, instability, chaos, and eventually revolution. This is the new world that leaders will confront. 

What would fix the world – what would suddenly create worldwide peace, global wellbeing, and the next extraordinary advances in human development, I would say the immediate appearance of 1.8 billion jobs – formal jobs. Nothing would change the current state of humankind more.”

– Jim Clifton in The Coming Jobs War.

This message should act as a stern warning to the ANC-SACP-COSATU alliance and Jacob Zuma’s government. Unless they design and implement measures friendly for creating jobs, the National Democratic Revolution so many of them are wedded to will end up being very undemocratic and threaten South Africa’s future as a nation. Instead, we will become a failed state.  

How to create jobs, therefore, is the most pressing problem the country faces today. This is highly contested political as well as economic territory.  

Monday, 22 September 2014

Visting small businesses in Soweto with Mmusi Maimane

Today I visited the Emdeni Industrial Park in Soweto with DA Parliamentary Leader, Mmusi Maimane. This was the first leg in the DA Small Business Tour which my deputy, Henro Kruger (who also came along today) and I will embark on over the coming few months. Its purpose is to meet small business owners all over the country and learn more about the conditions they are working under, the challenges they face and what government and big business are doing to support them.

You can  read the statement Mmusi's office issued today here

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The murky waters of Soweto politics

On Wednesday I got a call from Cecil Molopo, Chairman of the DA branch in Ward 53, Johannesburg. This is one of the 10 wards that make up my constituency, Soweto West. It's enormous, nearly the size of the whole of Soweto, extending from Doornkop Extension 1 westwards to the borders of Randfontein. Most of the ward is veld, hence its size, and is home to several gold mines. Cecil sounded very distressed and wanted to meet me as soon as possible. So we arranged to meet on Friday morning.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Letter to Business Day - Minister needs to break from past

My letter to Business Day is the lead letter in today's edition.

Dear Sir

Leon Louw (Preference for small business not productive) makes suggestions for how the Department of Small Business Development can avoid being “potentially superfluous”. The DA broadly agrees with his suggestions. 

Minister Zulu has a choice: she can restrict her mandate to the narrow bounds of what is possible to achieve in her department, or she can go beyond that and become the government’s first business-friendly minister and advocate among her cabinet colleagues for the liberalisation of the economy. While the first is not easy, the second is nigh impossible unless she has the support of the President and Deputy President, and an unflagging commitment to the overall strategy embedded in the National Development Plan.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Nedbank Small Businesss Friday a worthwhile initiative

I support the spirit and intentions behind Small Business Friday, which was yesterday. Initiated by Nedbank in association with the National Small Business Chamber, Small Business Friday encourages people to buy from local small businesses every day but especially on Fridays. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Russian retirement? - letter to Business Day

Published today - read the newspaper version here or below

Russian retirement?

Sir - Has President Jacob Zuma gone to Russia to negotiate the terms of his exile in preparation for his soon-to-be-announced recall as president?

Perhaps he is inspecting some comfy dachas and looking at a time-share option with President Vladimir Putin. I think we should be told.

Toby Chance
Via e-mail