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Comment Sought on National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill

December 15, 2020

Department of Small Business Development

The Draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill has been published for comment.

The small business development department published the draft bill in Government Gazette 43981.

In a recent briefing in parliament on its 2019/20 annual report, the department confirmed that proposed amendments to the National Small Business Act were finalised during 2019/20.

The department added that the finalization of the proposed amendments paves a critical path to the establishment of the Ombud Service.

The finalization also allowed the Executive Authority to draw up a draft bill for tabling in cabinet.

The department confirmed that a cabinet memorandum has been submitted to the small business development minister on the consolidated proposed amendments contained in the draft bill.

The department also announced that the position paper on Alternate Dispute Resolution has been finalised.

The draft bill aims to amend the National Small Enterprise Act, 1996, so as to:

• insert certain definitions and to substitute a definition;
• provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the Office of Small Enterprise Ombud Service;
• empower the Minister to declare certain practices in relation to small enterprises to be prohibited unfair business practices; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

A new Chapter 3A on dispute resolution mechanism is proposed focused on the Office of the Small Enterprise Ombud Service.

Included is the setting up of the Office; appointment of Ombud and Deputy Ombud; powers and functions of Ombud; receipt of complaints, prescription, jurisdiction and investigation; determinations by Ombud; staff of office; delegation by Ombud, Deputy Ombud and Director; funding of office; accountability; disestablishment and liquidation of Office; rules applicable to Ombud; record-keeping; annual report of Ombud and unfair trading practices.

Comment is invited within 60 days of the date of publication.