Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. Picture: GCIS
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. Picture: GCIS

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has an unenviable task ahead of him. He has said “If you cannot effect deep structural economic reforms, then game over!” Focusing purely on job creation, I encourage Mboweni to have a look at one small tweak that could create a million jobs or more.

He has clearly stated that he believes the uncoupling of small business from the bargaining councils would make financial sense. Daily I receive calls from small businesses telling me they cannot afford their current staff, let alone employ others, if they have to adhere to all the terms and conditions of the various bargaining councils.

Since January 15, I have logged calls from about 70 small businesses asking me if there is any way in which they can opt out of the bargaining council system.

At least half of these have said that if they can’t do it legally they are going to restructure their businesses to do it illegally. The other half spoke of retrenchments or the closure of their businesses.

Some have said they would rather source goods from abroad or outsource to other businesses that are illegally bypassing the bargaining council system. The few businesses that are battling on are probably not going to survive 2020.

I know Mboweni will face the wrath of the trade union movement, but I strongly believe he should support small business and the unemployed rather than the defanged union federation Cosatu.

Michael Bagraim, MP
DA deputy shadow employment and labour minister

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