By: Tebogo Mokwena
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development expressed disappointment at the report presented by the Red Tape Reduction Task Force Team on Wednesday. According to Committee members, the report lacked concrete solutions and called for the Task Force Team to make haste in seeking solutions. In response, the Task Force Team head Sipho Nkosi pointed out that they did not have inadequate resources to fully perform their task.
The Red Tape Reduction task force team appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Small Business to give a report of its activities and findings since being established in the Presidency’s office by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month. However, members decried the apparent lack of solutions or recommendations in their presentation. They also criticized aspects of the presentation and called for more information.
According to Nkosi, the task force team identified almost 100 potential problems relating to red tape. They then whittled the list to 12 focus areas and focused on 3 areas for the 2022 year. Nkosi’s presentation also revealed that a few of the top priorities have been delayed due to a lack of resources. These include a focus on the 30-day payment processes for SMMEs, state procurement, and construction permit automation.
It was also revealed that the team is currently engaging in priority points such as township land use zoning and restrictions on street trading, the application process for self-embedded generation and the registration of Early Childhood Development. The Task Team will be tackling the reorganization of income tax to simplify tax for SMMEs and VAT exemption for SMMEs. “Other areas of interest that have recently arisen include informal trading permits and licences and early childhood development, and these are currently under consideration,” Nkosi said.
Nkosi said that the three priority interventions the task team chose to focus on this year were tourism travel permits, mining and prospecting rights licence system and work permit and visa administration. “(Tourism travel permits) is a long-standing issue for an important industry, impacting established and emerging operators alike,” Nkosi noted. “The Department of Transport has made progress in reducing the licencing backlog but the existing process remains cumbersome with the additional requirements that are not contained in the regulations.”
Committee member Babalwa Mathulelwa strongly criticized the presentation for not having any solution or recommendation. “It is very disappointing to receive a directionless report with no permanent solution,” she said. “The minister (in the presidency) and his team must (also) account for the lack of a stable structure in the task force team.” Member Faiez Jacobs welcomed the presentation but said that red tape reduction must work to unlock bureaucracy for the poor and struggling SMMEs. “We hope that you can encourage one or two solutions, and provide more detail in your progress reports,” he said.