Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill (Private Member's Bill)Call for comments opened 10 May 2018 Share this page:
Submissions are now closed (since 11 June 2018)
In accordance with section 73(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, notice is given that Mr Toby Chance, MP intends to introduce the Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill, 2018 in Parliament during the second/third quarter of 2018. An explanatory summary of the Bill is hereby published in accordance with Rule 276(1) (c) of the Rules of the National Assembly (9th Edition).
Small, medium, and micro enterprises and co-operatives (SMMEs) comprise a large portion of the South African economy. These smaller companies, ranging from street hawkers to small factories, are the heartbeat of our economy and can be considered as the most accessible sector for entrepreneurs and those seeking to establish their product, brand or business. It is estimated that SMMEs generate up to half of gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 60% of employment in SA. 90% of all new jobs are expected to be created by SMMEs by 2030, according to the National Development Plan. With more than 9.3 million people unemployed, supporting these SMMEs is critical.
Every effort must be made to ensure that SMMEs are given the backing and financial support they require in order to thrive and prosper. One of the key components in this regard is ensuring that SMMEs are paid swiftly and timeously. Without cash flow, SMMEs will struggle and eventually collapse. Furthermore, the current environment in which SMMEs operate is not conducive to the speedy resolution of disputes. SMMEs may not have the necessary financial and human resources infrastructure to sustain the protracted resolution of a dispute.
It is to this end that it is proposed that an Ombud Service be established that will have jurisdiction over those matters pertaining to agreements to which SMMEs are a party. Such an Ombud Service will provide an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to SMMEs, thus freeing these enterprises from delays and extensive costs occasioned by formal legal processes. Furthermore, this service will allow the Minister responsible for SMMEs to provide targeted interventions to assist SMMEs through the Ombud Service.
The draft Bill will provides :
- The establishment of the Small Enterprises Ombud Service (Ombud Service) as a juristic person;
- The functions, mandate, staff and funding of the Ombud Service;
- The establishment of a Board to the Ombud Service, the appointment of its members, its functions and internal operations.
- Application processes for the settling of disputes where one party is an SMME, which disputes include matters pertaining to the interpretation of service agreements and late- or non-payment of amounts owed and payable;
- The process to resolve disputes and matters related thereto;
- The orders that an adjudicator will be entitled to make upon due consideration of a matter and the right to appeal an adjudicator’s order to the High Court on a question of law; and,
- Public access to information concerning orders having been granted against a person in terms of this Bill.
The Bill will be available on the website of the Democratic Alliance (https://www.da.org.za/ ) once it has been certified by the Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser or a parliamentary legal advisor designated by him or her as required by Rule 279(4) of the Rules of the National Assembly (9th Edition). It may also, after introduction, be obtained from:
Comments can be emailed to the Speaker of the National Assembly at firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to Mr Alex Tarr at email@example.com or Mr Louw Nel at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Monday, 11 June 2018.
Enquiries can be directed to Mr Alex Tarr on tel (021) 403 8641 or Mr Louw Nel on tel (021) 403 3567