Ndabeni-Abrahams’s witch-hunt will hurt SMME sector

Please find attached soundbite by Jan de Villiers MP.

The DA was shocked earlier this week when the Department of Small Business Development proudly tweeted the following quote from Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams’s speech at their roadshow in Mpumalanga “[as] government, we have a responsibility to enforce regulatory compliance in the SMME sector and close businesses that are trading illegally.”

With the South African economy still reeling from the unscientific ANC lockdown regulations, and the unemployment rate at a record 46.6%, the last thing SMMEs need to hear is that the Minister of Small Business Development will be leading the witch hunt against business owners who don’t comply with government red tape. This strategy is in stark contrast to remarks by the President, who when speaking at an engagement with SMMEs last year said that it is critical for the government to support SMMEs with new business processes that help them recover.

The ANC government and the Minister of Small Business Development should rather focus on:

  • Immediately lifting the current National State of Disaster. There is no more scientific justification for it, and it only serves to create more business uncertainty. SMMEs want to get back to work without worrying about the next Covid Command Council regulation.
  • Focusing on supporting regulatory compliance by identifying red tape reduction opportunities and removing unnecessary regulatory hurdles for business success.
  • Encouraging small business development via targeted programmes that focus on embracing informal and uncompliant business owners as opportunities, not as threats to our economy.
  • Stopping job destroying, rigid labour legislation, such as the proposed new amendments to the Employment Equity Bill.

The DA urges the Minister and her department to refrain from their planned witch-hunt as it is their responsibility to assist uncompliant SMMEs and help them grow.