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National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill on Track

June 13, 2022

Department of Small Business Development

Public comments received on the Draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill have been considered and incorporated into the draft bill.

The small business development department confirmed this in a briefing in parliament on feedback to the portfolio committee on small business development on observations and recommendations.

The draft bill was published for comment in December 2020.

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.

The department also pointed out that the business case for the setting up of the Office of the Small Business Ombud has been revised.

The department added that the full Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) has been concluded and a certificate issued giving approval to submit the draft bill and the SEIAS report to cabinet for consideration for tabling in parliament.

The department informed the committee that it is working with the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (OCSLA) and the Office of the State Attorney to deal with Section 20(2).

Both offices declared the section as unconstitutional.

The department clarified that it cannot get the legal certificate to proceed with the draft bill to cabinet without the OCSLA certificate.

Other developments include:

  • Creative Industries Masterplan has been handed over to the department of sports, arts and culture for onward handling and finalisation;
  • Draft Licensing of Business Bill gazetted in March 2013 for public comments under review – draft bill needs to be tagged as a section 76 bill as regulation of trade is a concurrent mandate – wants to table in parliament as soon as possible but aware that consensus has to be reached with stakeholders to avoid legal challenges;
  • Review, revision, stakeholder consultations and other related processes on the Draft Business Amendment Bill to be finalised by 31 March 2023 – plans to table draft bill in parliament in 2023/24 financial year; and
  • Draft National Integrated Small Enterprise Development (NISED) Masterplan published in May 2022 for comment – public comments to be considered – Masterplan to be tabled at Nedlac for consideration – Masterplan to then be tabled in cabinet for approval during the second quarter of the current financial year.