Small Business Development Committee

Close-up of young woman serving to a costumer in a food truck.

SBDC disappointed by Departments performance

The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development has expressed its disappointment with the performance of the Department of Small Business Development, saying that it lacked the capacity to implement its mandate.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Ruth Bhengu, said that four years later, the department still has not understood its mandate and has not figured out the best way to execute it, although the committee provided numerous advices.

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“We provided advices on how to coordinate other departments and spheres of government to align their programmes and budgets towards the development of cooperatives and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in order to achieve the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) of creating 90% of the 11 million new jobs by 2030,” said Mr Bhengu.

The committee is of the view that development seems too difficult at the department to the extent that it asked the Director-General (DG) to justify its existence.

At one point, the committee advised the department to sign transversal agreements with other departments and spheres of government in line with the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Act in order to facilitate alignment of budgets and programmes of various departments towards the development of cooperatives and SMMEs.

The committee understands that the same agreements were signed and implemented successfully between the Department of Sport and Recreation and other departments in preparation for hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

“The DG, for the first time yesterday, admitted that officials who were transferred from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) lacked the requisite skills for community development and have a narrow perspective of cooperatives and SMMEs. This is what creates differences between the committee and DSBD, because the committee views development of cooperatives and SMMEs as key to economic transformation as well as reducing dependency of poor families on government handouts,” said Ms Bhengu.

Ms Bhengu explained further, saying that: “The development of cooperatives is not an end product, but a process and concept through which community-owned enterprises will be developed.”

The committee is also concerned that the DSBD took four years to develop the organogram and has not yet filled the deputy director positions with people with the requisite skills and experience in the development of cooperatives and SMMEs.

Ms Bhengu said a failure by the department is tantamount to a sabotage of the pro-poor agenda, thereby depriving SMMEs and cooperatives opportunity to realise their full potential.

She hoped that President Cyril Ramaphosa will engage the committee before reconfiguring government departments. “Drastic changes needed to happen in order for South Africa to create 9.9 million new jobs through SMMEs and cooperatives by 2030,” said Ms Bhengu.