ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS
ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS

I have noted with interest the generally positive reaction to the new small business development minister’s budget speech, delivered in parliament in July.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was quick out of the starting blocks with a raft of policy announcements — which is not surprising because she had them ready-made on a plate, generously donated to her by the DA.

These include: a blended finance model for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which the DA first recommended in June 2015; a plan for cutting red tape, detailed in the DA’s Red Tape Impact Assessment Bill tabled in October 2016 and rejected by the ANC in May 2017; establishing an SME ombud to resolve disputes faster and cheaper, provided for in the DA’s Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill tabled in May 2018 and rejected by the ANC in October 2018; raising the red flag over late payment of supplier invoices by the government and the private sector, and implementing the proposals of a DA white paper on late payments published in February 2018; the creation of a one-stop-shop for SME support, and streamlining the services provided by the department’s financial and non-financial agencies, which the DA has advocated since the department was formed in 2014; and the formation of a national venture capital fund first proposed in the DA’s 2014 election manifesto, which will now be used to finance 100,000 youth-owned businesses.

It’s gratifying that our hard work during the fifth parliament is now being recognised, even though the ANC is taking all the credit.

Yet, if they hadn’t played politics originally, SA would be that much further down the road towards creating a supportive SME ecosystem.

Toby Chance
DA small business development spokesperson