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National Small Enterprise Bill on Track

May 27, 2021

Department of Small Business Development

The Draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill will be tabled in parliament during the 2021/22 financial year.

The small business development minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, confirmed this in the small business development department’s 2021/22 Budget Vote Speech.

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 minister also announced that the department will “embark on the revision of the Schedule to the National Small Enterprise Act with an aim to ensure alignment and utilisation of the SMME definition”.

The minister declared that the department is focused on “reducing regulatory burdens and creating a conducive policy and legislative environment to support the growth and sustainability of SMMEs and Co-operatives”.

Other developments highlighted include:

• Three districts to be assisted with rolling out the Red-Tape Reduction Programme Pilot Administrative Simplification Programme for SMMEs and Co-operatives;
• Businesses Act 71 of 1991 to be amended to provide for the norms and standards and a simplified uniform business licensing framework – to standardize the business licensing process across all municipalities and contribute to the reduction of red tape;
• Department finalising, in consultation with provinces, the selection of 250 out of the 1000 products that must be designated over a 4-year period for public procurement – linked to Draft Procurement Bill;
• Draft SMME Funding Policy of South Africa to be released for consultation – seeks to make proposals on the coordination of SMME funding across the public and private sector.