Some SMMEs fed up with the political parties running their areas have warned them that they will exercise their democratic right and vote for their rivals. Vutivi News spoke to SMMEs about expectations and they listed several issues that need attention after the November local government elections.
These range from being less restrictive when it comes to regulations, to improve the speed with which loan applications are processed. 043 Sweet Garlic Sauce founder, Siphelele Zekani, whose business is based in the Eastern Cape, said that government institutions took way too long to process applications. “For example, one can apply to the Small Enterprise Development Agency for blended funding in November this year and only receive feedback the following November after aggressively harassing them for feedback during that period,” he said.
“They do not offer a valid reason why, but I think that if political parties want our vote then they must ensure that their service delivery improves,” Zekani said that while the government did help SMMEs, there was much room for improvement. “I was assisted by the government for my products to get SABS tested and approved, and this is an expensive procedure,” he said.
“However, they have to make it easier for us as entrepreneurs to trust that they have SMMEs’ best interests at heart.” Lungelo Mgaga, who is the co-founder of Lifeway Impatho Brands, which owns Loxion Fruits Beverages, said that state regulations made it tedious for SMMEs to get loans or access government funding. “When you apply for a loan or for funding, their requirements always include a five-year bank statement, even though in the case of most SMMEs they are not older than five years,” he said.
“Government also makes it difficult to comply because the costs of compliance are too high. “You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the government expects to you have enough money to last long enough to give them five years’ financial records, while on the other hand, you have to consider how much compliance measures cost,” he said. Mgaga called on the government to reduce red tape to make it easier to do business.
“If these political parties want us to vote for them, they have to make life easy for us and destroy the red tape, because this will prevent many SMMEs from providing jobs and making meaningful contributions to the economy,” he also said.