New small enterprise bill – is it answering the wrong questions?

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Martin van Staden | Legal Fellow | Sakeliga | mail me | 


There are two customary rules in South African law-making that are adhered to almost to a T: The law must make matters worse, or the law must miss the point. Rarely, if ever, does legislation that comes out of the South African Parliament or the provincial legislatures make things better for citizens and consumers. The new National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill, 2020, is no exception.

Basis

The bill’s premises are fundamentally wrong, meaning the so-called solutions it introduces will have no positive effect on the lot of South Africa’s small businesses.

Curiously enough, the bill’s predecessors in the original National Small Business Act, 1996, and the National Small Business Amendment Act, 2003, to a large extent correctly identified at least (a substantial) part of the problem: Legislation, regulations, and policies stifle the growth and prosperity of small enterprises. Not only does the new bill no longer recognise this problem, but it amends the law to remove any previous recognition of it!

Ombud service

The bill establishes an ombud service in the place of the existing Advisory Body, which itself replaced the Small Business Council in 2003.

Whereas the Advisory Body could ‘advise the Minister on the impact of current and new legislation on small business’ and ‘constraints affecting the viability of the small business community’, and the Council before it could ‘advise the national, provincial, and local spheres of government on social and economic policy that promotes the development of small business’, the new ombud service is a completely different animal.

No longer will there be


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Read the full article by Martin van Staden, Legal Fellow, Sakeligaas well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the February/March 2021 edition of BusinessBrief.


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