Small Business Development Department Budget Vote 2021/22: speech by Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

We are tabling this Budget for debate exactly 5 days before we mark the 2nd year since the appointment of the National Executive by the State President, His Excellency Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa on 30th of May 2019. I will therefore take this opportunity to report back on the progress we are making to achieve the programme we adopted in 2019, albeit it had to be adjusted and enhanced to respond to material conditions. On several occasions, we have come to this House to report on how we intervened to assist SMMEs at the height of the Covid-19 hard lockdown, the House has received a report from the Auditor-General on the performance of our Department on Covid-19 relief measure and we had the pleasure of hosting the State President when he publicly interacted virtually with the beneficiaries of our Covid-19 Relief Interventions.

This Budget allocates R868 million of the transfers and subsidies to the Small Enterprise Development Agency. Of this, R666 million is allocated for the strengthening and expansion of SEDA’s presence across the country with a goal of maintaining a SEDA office in each district of our country. The enterprise development work of SEDA is the frontline of our services to SMMEs including cooperatives. Through the SEDA network of branches, the Department assists SMMEs and cooperatives to:

Comply with regulatory requirements thus reducing the cost thereof, and labour market that is more responsive to economic opportunity that requires amongst others the review of regulations and standards for small and medium enterprises.

In addition, since we took the decision that access to support must not be determined by the ability to complete application forms, SEDA has been assisting entrepreneurs to complete various applications including business registrations with CIPC, SARS and UIF. Since 2019, a total of 70 512 entrepreneurs have visited SEDA offices for some form of support. SEDA offices also serve as a One-Stop-Information Centre on business information.

The work of the Department and its Agencies is structured and coordinated under the SMME Support Plan Towards the Attainment of Vision 2030 that was adopted in 2019. This Plan consists of 10 programmes, namely:

* SMME-focused Localisation Programme which is enabled through the Small Enterprise Manufacturing Support Programme
* Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme
* Incubation and Digital Hubs Roll-Out
* Start-Up Nation
* Young Entrepreneurs Support
* SheTradesZA
* SMME Business Infrastructure Support
* Cooperatives Support
* SMME Scale-Up (Expansion)
* Informal Businesses Support.

To continue implementing the SMME Support Plan, R157 million of the transfers and subsidies to SEDA is allocated to the SEDA Technology Programme. Through the Technology Programme SEDA is responsible for four programmes of the SMME Support Plan, which are:

* Incubation and Digital Hubs
* Start-Up Nation,
* Product Standard Conformity, and
* Technology Transfer.

Note: An extract from the budget vote speech, delivered on 25 May 2021.