The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry backs a proposal for an ombudsman to help small businesses deal with late payments by the state and the private sector. Chamber president Janine Myburgh said the establishment of such an ombud could save many jobs and make it easier to do business. The proposal is made in a private member’s bill — the Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill — which has been introduced into Parliament by DA spokesman on small business development Toby Chance. Nonpayment for services has forced many small and medium businesses to close down as they lack the cash flow to continue operating. Answers to parliamentary questions by the DA indicated that government departments had racked up R7.7bn in unpaid invoices by the end of 2017. "There are also complaints that big companies postpone payments to small firms for as long as possible, knowing that small firms cannot afford to hire lawyers or go to court," Myburgh said. She noted that small businesses generated nearl...

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