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
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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.