The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes there are better ways to boost small business


The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes there are better ways to boost small business than by creating yet another Ministry, but we do welcome the new Government's recognition of the importance of small business in the growth of the economy and the creation of jobs.

"We already have too many Ministers and a whole new department with both a Minister and a Deputy Minister seems excessive," said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber. "There was a danger of more regulations and increased administrative burden which small businesses were ill equipped to deal with."

"However, the decision has been made and we believe the first task of the new ministry, which was announced by President Zuma at the weekend, should be to review all existing legislation that impacts on small business and to free up the sector as far as possible. This should involve getting rid of red tape at National, Provincial and municipal levels."

Secondly, the Chamber would like to see encouragement for large corporations and businesses to make more use of contractors from the small business world. This could and should be a developmental process as the big companies had the technical expertise to advise and help small businesses produce better products.

Ms Myburgh said the Chamber would also like to see more assistance from government bodies such as the Bureau of Standards. "At present getting SABS help and approval for products can be very expensive and we would like to see the new Ministry sponsoring this kind of assistance. Training schemes to upgrade the skills of workers in the small business sector would also be of great practical help."

The Chamber would like to see the new Ministry ensure a level playing field for small businesses which competed with large businesses for orders. One example was in labour legislation where wages were negotiated between the big unions and the major industries and the results of those negotiations were then applied to small business. "This can be unfair as small businesses work on a different scale, are generally less mechanised and have different cost structures and they are also more labour intensive.

"Generally, we would like to see opportunities being opened up for small business rather than special regulations which could simply add to the administrative burden which is already excessive," Ms Myburgh said.

"The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry pledges its support to assist where it can to help small business thrive in the economy. In this regards the Chamber's 210 year history, legacy and experience in business may be of some value, and we pledge to make this depth of expertise available to improve the economic fortunes of our country", concludes Janine Myburgh.

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Issue 72