Date: 01 March 2021

Impact of SONA on the Department of Small Business Development, SMMEs

In a virtual meeting (24 February 2021), the Portfolio Committee met to discuss the pronouncements the President had made during the State of the Nation Address, specifically focusing on the small, medium and micro enterprises’ (SMME’s) perspective. The Committee also adopted the amendments to its first quarter programme. The presentation by the Committee researcher dealt with the four priority areas pronounced by the President in the SONA, which had a significant impact on the development of SMMEs and cooperatives. These priorities were:

  • Infrastructure rollout throughout the country
  • Increase in local production
  • An employment stimulus to create jobs and support livelihoods; and
  • Rapid expansion of South Africa’s energy generation capacity.

These priorities were analysed in the presentation and various recommendations were highlighted which the Committee could use to develop its strategic plan. The issue of extortion of small businesses, especially in the townships, was discussed and it was felt that this should be raised as a matter of national security. Members felt that the Department of Small Business Development was more visible in the urban areas than in the rural areas and townships, and because of this it needed to do road shows in order to assist the people on the ground and in so doing achieve its goals.

It was noted that the unemployment rate in South Africa was higher than the global average, and the DSBD needed to do more to ensure there were more employment opportunities. The under-spending on the relief packages was a major concern, and Members felt that the DSBD, the banks and National Treasury needed to be held accountable and should be approached to explain why the money was not spent and how they intended to correct the situation.

Although the Committee had an oversight role, it was felt that it should also come up with recommendations other than those mentioned in the presentation. It should then develop mechanisms to track these recommendations and ensure that they were being implemented.

Note: The complete text of the meeting summary can be accessed here