The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2019, and the Annual Performance Plans for 2015/16. It was noted, by way of context, that the mandate around promotion of small businesses and cooperatives had initially been with the Department of Trade and Industry, then moved to the Department of Economic Devleopment, but was now focused in this Department. Primary policy instruments like the National Development Plan (NDP), supplemented with the New Growth Path and Industrial Policy Action Plan, provided a framework but the DSBD had to translate those into action plans with well-defined criteria and results. The Department aimed to achieve an integrated approach to the promotion and development of small businesses and cooperatives through a focus on the economic and legislative drivers that stimulated entrepreneurship, to contribute to radical economic transformation. Its values were derived from the Batho Pele principles, and the strategic objectives included facilitating the development and growth of businesses, contributing to inclusive and shared economic growth and job creation, through public and private sector procurement, facilitating radical economic transformation through increased participation of small businesses and cooperatives in the mainstream economy, and advocating for a conducive regulatory environment that would allow such businesses to access finance, investment, trade and market opportunities. To achieve these, the DSBD would be partnering with all spheres of government and the private sector.
The aims of each of the programmes, and the sub-programmes being run under them, were explained. The short-term priorities were skills, training and capacity building, using local economic development, business development support, technology transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Department would also finalise incentives and access to finance. There was a heavy emphasis on getting small businesses and cooperatives to benefit from the 30% public sector procurement programme as well as private sector opportunities and revitalision of mining towns. In the longer term, the DSBD would develop new policies and intervention, undertake national surveys, and design training programmes to address skills gaps, develop markets and decentralise business development services.
Members welcomed the presentation and commented that the Committee and DSBD seemed to be on the same page in regard to aims and priorities. However, they commented that in some respects the strategy did not quite accord with the aims of job creation, and suggested that there should be a focus on numbers of jobs created, and the impact of these activities. Members asked why nothing had been said about the red-tape reduction programme in the national level, which would be vital to successful development, and the DSBD replied to this in some depth. They wondered whether the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) was being used to fund small business, and what financing models would be used. They asked - and received very detailed answers - on how the participants would be recruited and trained in the academic institutions. They appreciated the Mass Youth Enterprise Programme buit wanted more details on how it would be assessed, and in general how monitoring and evaluation would be carrie3d out. They urged that DSBD partner with South African Bureau of Standards and pay close attention to quality of products produced. They questioned its relationship with other departments, other institutions and programmes, and the relationship between the research unit and external studies conducted. They also commented that it would have to capicitate and work with municipalities, pointing out that much of the LED was not functional, even in provinces.
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister and acknowledged that it was not an easy task to establish a new department inherited from another, including the staff, and also to change the thinking.
The apologies were read out by the Committee Secretary, for Members and the Deputy Minister of Small Business Development.
Structure of Department
Mr. X Mabasa (ANC) asked whether there was any Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD or the Department)
Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development, said that there was not yet such an appointment, and that until the vacancy was filled, the DSBD was still being assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
Mr Mabasa asked whether there was any person in the delegation that was responsible for matters of finance.
The Minister said that the Acting Director General and the rest of the delegation would be able to answer all matters that related to the budget. A meeting had been held with the dti in relation to fast tracking the appointment of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Mr Mabasa stressed that officials to whom the Minister referred should be working closely with the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) so that if there were any issues to note, or challenges, they would be closely monitored through that office.
The Minister said that there was already correspondence from the AGSA, that indicated that each member of the delegation present today would be accountable for the finances, in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding with the dti. That department had been very helpful, had people who had been in the industry for a long time, and issues of accountability and resources of Government had been raised. The DSBD was very conscious of its responsibility, and so was the former Acting Director General, although the responsibility now shifted squarely to the new Director General to ensure that the Department abided by the provisions of the legislation.
The Minister thanked the Portfolio Committee for all the positive engagements so far between the DSBD and the Committee, and stressed that the Department was a firm believer in the oversight role, and felt it important that the Committee ask difficulty and relevant questions to sharpen the capacity of the Department and capability to deliver on its mandate.
The Minister noted that the former Acting Director, Ms Phumla Ncapayi, had requested that she be allowed to step down. She had not been forced to resign but had done so of her own accord, despite being asked to change her mind, to return to where her real passion lay, with trade and industry matters. Mr Mkhumane was now the Acting Director-General, which was fortunate for the DSBD as he had been working in the area of small business, for the next two months, while the Department completed the short listing and filling of the new post. She stressed that the DSBD did not want to have people in acting positions for too long, as it needed to create stability with permanent posts. One of the challenges had been that DSBD had been working on a structure that it thought appropriate to the mandate, but the Department of Public Service and Administration had altered that and the numbers of posts, because of financial constraints, although it was continuing to engage on that point.
The Minister also thanked the Portfolio Committee for supporting the Department at the workshops to ensure that the strategic plan to be presented now was correct, and the Department undertook that it would not present so late in the next financial year and would meet the Parliamentary schedule. It had wanted to ensure that what it presented was substantially credible, and the contribution of the Committee was highly appreciated. As a new department, DSBD had received a very good support not only from the Committee, but also the Executive and the Ministers in Cabinet, who had supported in creating and implementing policies.
Department of Small Business Development Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019
Mr Lindokuhle Mkhumane, Acting Director-General, DSBD, summarised the outline of the presentation. He put this in context, saying that the mandate and considerations around small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives (coops) in South Africa was previously handled by the Department of Trade and Industry, from 1994 to 2009, and then the Department of Economic Development from 2009 to 2014. This, however, had resulted in a fragmented approach and misalignment in relation to ANC resolutions and Government decisions on economic transformation, and lack of specialised and focused support with limited resources. In turn, this had been marked by a low survivalist rate and high failure rate; and poor performance of small businesses, relative to peers and similar structures in other developing countries. In order to achieve sectoral cohesion for advancing the objectives of SMMEs and coops, and to hold better engagements with common stakeholder interests - such as BEE, NAFCOC and cooperatives movements and business structures, it had been decided to establish a designated department, the DSBD, to advance SMME and coops development for job creation ( focusing on youth, women and people with disabilities).
He described the primary policy instruments. The National Development Plan (NDP) provided the framework for achieving radical economic transformation. It set a vision for the economy that is inclusive, equitable and fast growing. To achieve that end, it pointed to the need to grow employment, support productivity and efficiency gains, and move toward greater equality. In order to reach these aims it proposed that there should be:
- more affordable and efficient infrastructure provision linked to higher levels of public investment
- substantial improvements in basic and post-secondary education
- responsive and efficient regulations
- appropriate sector strategies.
The key operational plans for implementing the NDP and Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) (the Government strategic plan for the 2014-2019 electoral term), included the New Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). The challenge was to ensure that these strategic plans were translated into action plans with well-defined annual iterations. Through IPAP, plans would focus on productive sectors including mining, agriculture and manufacturing. The MTSF must reflect the commitments in the manifesto, including the commitment to implement the NDP. It set out identified targets and provided for coherence amongst national, provincial and local government.
Mr Mkhumane said that the overarching theme was "Radical socio-economic transformation and service delivery"
The mandate of the Department was to lead an integrated approach to the promotion and development of small businesses and cooperatives through a focus on the economic and legislative drivers that stimulated entrepreneurship, to contribute to radical economic transformation that would, in turn, lead to increased employment, and reduction of poverty and inequality. The vision was to achieve a radically transformed economy through effective development and increased participation of SMMEs and cooperatives in the mainstream economy. The mission was to create a conducive environment for the development and growth of small businesses and cooperatives through the provision of enhanced financial and non-financial support services, competitiveness, market access, promotion of entrepreneurship, advancing localisation and leveraging on public and private procurement. Finally, he said the values of the Department were derived from the Batho Pele principles, that the Department must show a customer focus; integrity; honesty; efficiency; accessibility; commitment; and promotion of human dignity.
He outlined that the strategic objectives of the Department were therefore:
- to facilitate the development and growth of small businesses and co-operatives
- to contribute to inclusive and shared economic growth and job creation through public and private sector procurement
- to facilitate radical economic transformation through increased participation of small businesses and cooperatives in the mainstream economy
- to advocate for a conducive regulatory environment for small businesses and co-operatives to enable access to finance, investment, trade and market access in an equitable and sustainable manner
- to facilitate partnerships with all spheres of Government as well as the private sector to ensure mutual cooperation that will benefit small businesses and co-operatives.
Programme 1: Administration was to provide strategic leadership to the Department and its entities to ensure the successful implementation of the Department’s mandate through sustainable and integrated resource solutions and services that were customer-driven. The Sub-Programmes were: The Ministry, which provided leadership and policy direction to the DSBD; the Office of the Director-General (ODG), which provided overall management of the DSBD’s resources, Cluster Oversight and Strategic Planning, which underscored the Department's strategic and technical participation in the operations of the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster, the Department’s strategic planning documents as well as reports. Corporate Services handled human resource management, information and communication technology, legal services and auxiliary services management. Financial Management handled the financial resource allocation and management, and Communications and Marketing facilitated greater awareness of the Department’s role and increased the uptake of its products and services.
Programme 2: Co-operatives development must create an enabling environment that would facilitate the establishment, growth and development of co-operatives, through the development and review of policy and legislation and provision of enhanced financial and non-financial support services, utilising improved institutional arrangements. The Sub-Programmes were: Primary Cooperatives Development, directed at start-ups, to include instruments such as the Cooperatives Development Association, CIS and and Secondary Marketing Cooperatives; whilst the Incubation Support Programme was aimed at nurturing cooperatives into sustainable enterprises. The Cooperatives Supplier Development Programme was aimed at enabling the potential supplier to improve performance and/or capabilities to meet the buyer’s supply needs. The Intergovernmental relations and market development programme promoted working together with other spheres of Government for the sustainable development of SMMEs and cooperatives, through ensuring access to markets. The objective of the Research, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation sub-programme was to gather reliable information for policy formulation on SMME and cooperatives support, and to further provide for an analysis of quantifiable information on SMMEs and cooperatives in South Africa.
Programme 3: Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship aimed to create an enabling environment for the development and growth of sustainable small businesses, so that they contributed to the creation of employment and economic growth. The Sub-Programmes were described. Enterprise Development: facilitated the establishment of new and productive enterprises as well as the sustainability and growth of existing enterprises. Entrepreneurship and Franchising would identify potential entrepreneurs and provide them with the necessary business skills as well as identifying SMMEs and Co-operatives that had the potential to franchise. The programme for incentives, grants and soft loans would provide incentive programmes that promoted broader participation in the mainstream economy by small businesses and co-operatives (see attached presentation for further details.) The Regional Industrial Special Projects aimed to promote spatially balanced economic development and productivity improvements, by developing policies, strategies and programmes that focussed on small businesses and co-operatives in underdeveloped regions (with a focus on decentralisation, co-location and Local Economic Development (LED) strategies). The programme for Gender, Youth and People with disabilities aimed to increase the establishment of and sustainability of existing women-owned SMMEs and cooperatives, to increase the number and sustainability of SMMEs and cooperatives run by people with disabilities, and the mainstreaming of youth enterprises. The National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy aimed to create a conducive business environment for informal businesses, and to provide adequate skills and infrastructure to support informal businesses.
Mr Mzoxolo Maki, Acting Deputy Director-General, DSBD said that the short term priorities of the Department were to focus on skills, training and capacity building (through LED, business development support, technology transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship) of SMMEs and cooperatives. It was to finalise incentives and access to finance. It was also focusing on public sector procurement (also known as the "set-asides programme") and would be pursuing private sector procurement opportunities (through the Supplier Development Programme, and revitalisation of mining towns). It also intended to develop new policies, review existing policies and roll out key interventions.
The long term priorities included the national survey (drawing on periodically updated and reliable statistics), and the design of training programmes to address skills gaps including sector specific interventions. DSBD also would be developing key domestic and international markets and decentralising business development services to include economic profiling and market access. Finally, it would continuously develop and review the regulatory environment.
Mr Maki described the envisaged impact of the DSBD's activities. The incentive programmes were aimed at creating new businesses, which would increase the potential for new jobs. Public and private sector procurement was geared towards improving market access (including growth and development) for black small enterprises and co-operatives. This might, for instance, start with the fixing of potholes in roads. The work on increased culture of entrepreneurship was aimed at increasing the number of new innovative and sustainable business ventures that would contribute to job creation, and creating a simplified policy and regulatory environment for SMMEs' and cooperatives’ development, so as to eradicate poverty, inequality and unemployment. Through the Export Development Programme, companies should improve their ability to export and reduce the costs and risks involved in penetrating foreign markets. The provision of technical and business development services to the targeted groups (youth, women and people with disabilities) would result in upgraded skills, improved quality of products, and access to local and international markets, enhanced and sustainable enterprises, all to increase employment. Enhanced support to informal businesses, rural and township enterprises would increase their competitiveness, resulting in sustainable enterprises and retention of existing jobs.
Mr H Kruger (DA) thanked the Department for a very informative presentation. However, he felt that there was a mismatch in that the strategy did not actually align with job creation. The Key Performance Indicators seemed to be focused on business owners and not on employees. He suggested that the DSBD needed to refine and align its strategy to the number of jobs it intended to create. He did not see that the numbers of small businesses and co-operatives that it had said it would be able to start and support would be able to provide the figure of 12 000 jobs this year.
Mr Kruger asked why there was nothing said about the red-tape reduction programme in the presentation, for this was a very important part of small business development. He noted the references in the presentation to local and provincial government, but wondered where the national government fitted in, in terms of the red tape reduction, and whether there was a specific strategy on that.
Mr Kruger asked why the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) was not used to fund small businesses, and commented that little was said about funding in the presentation. He wondered why it should not be included, and its model used.
Mr S Mncwabe (ANC) thanked the Minister and her team for a very motivating presentation. Although the Department was new, the presentation indicated that it was on the right path to achieving what the Portfolio Committee wanted. He asked why the budget of Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) was allocated differently, and wondered if it should not be shifted to other projects. He also wanted to know how the individual participants that were to be trained in the academic institutions would be recruited.
Mr Mncwabe appreciated the Mass Youth Enterprise Programme, which had been initiated by the Department, and which he believed would go a long way in assisting the unemployed youth. He asked how that programme was going to be assessed from a practical point of view.
Mr T Ramokhoase (ANC) also welcomed the presentation from the Department because it presented what Members had been discussing, and it appeared that the collective viewpoints had been takenon board to produce a good presentation. Members and the Department could speak with the same understanding, and the engagements should be profitable to all of them; this presentation had clearly minimised any points of concern as it had identified issues that the Members had wanted to see covered. If the Department was able to pursue these plans, it would be fulfilling its mandate.
Mr Ramokhoase asked whether was there any relationship between the research unit and the external studies that had been conducted by the Department, as the research should be able to reflect on the previous experiences, and evaluate the impact in particular, in order to get through the new path. He emphasised that it was often more important to look at impact than pure numbers. He further asked if the research had been guided by the manifestos, the NDP and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to ensure that it was not only scientifically accurate but also guided by what the institution should be achieving.
Mr Ramokhoase noted that the experience with the large numbers of cooperatives highlighted in the presentation had been haphazard, with many failing. The Department had to come up with a clear implementation plan on how it was going to deal with the cooperatives, because the majority of them were not following the requirements and standards for building cooperatives. That needed to be corrected so that cooperatives were created and acted in terms of the Department’s mandate and understanding. He noted that a model had been adopted and agreed upon as a working document to take forward.
Mr Ramokhoase asked also how the DSBD was going to implement the strategy that will include the partnerships with the NGOs, the private sector and the whole model which he believed was ripe for implementation.
He asked when the DSBD was going to come up with the monitoring and evaluation framework, which would assist in giving early warnings and pinpointing what had to be evaluated. However, another key aspect was consequences and he wondered if it would be able to enforce whatever action should be taken. He would like to see that coming out clearly, to deal with the ills.
He asked whether, in training a person, the DSBD would link that training to the field of study, the environment and so on.
Mr Ramokhoase asked how strong DSBD was in terms of assisting and capacitating municipalities around LED concepts, which he commented was not functioning, even in provinces.
Mr Ramokhoase advised that, in terms of baselines, the Department should look to completely fulfilling and providing evidence on four of every ten targets, in order to mobilise more funding from National Treasury.
Mr X Mabasa (ANC) also welcomed the presentation. He suggested that, throughout all stages, the DSBD should be walking side by side with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to ensure quality. Whenever small business and cooperatives produced anything, quality must be a prime consideration, and although he accepted that this was not something that could be easily included in the report, DSBD must work hard to ensure quality on the goods that were produced.
Mr Mabasa noted that the current plans spoke more of the outputs and less of the outcomes, and he suggested that the Department needed to take up the challenge of changing this focus and measuring outcomes, not an easy task. He also urged the Department to ensure that it did not under-spend, and have to return money to National Treasury, for this caused endless difficulties in future years. He suggested that it was better to try to ensure full spending, even if this meant that it ran short for a month or two.
Mr Mabasa said that when the Department spoke about research, monitoring and evaluation, it had given the impression that it was not receiving sufficient funding for that. If so, then this was serious, for this Department needed even more muscle for performing those tasks, for research was even more critical for SMMEs and cooperatives than for BEE and medium size companies. If, for instance, a cooperative was to plant beans, thorough research must be done to find out which beans were suitable for that area; the farmers could not plant and wait to see if the crop succeeded.
Mr Mabasa cautioned that the other two spheres of government could pose threats in the execution of tasks. There would naturally be hidden competition. He asked how the DSBS would ensure that all partners were walking together, although it must not be seen as "big brother" but make others feel they were benefiting from the empowerment. Municipalities - and rural chiefs in rural areas - had to assist the DSBD on land issues. There were many buildings not being used in the rural areas, which the DSBD could surely use, and partnerships in municipalities should help it to deliver on the mandate.
Mr Mabasa asked that when the DSBD was speaking of creating employment, it should also be talking of avoiding retrenchments and dismissals - pointing out that even Telkom was speaking of retrenching many workers. He asked the Minister whether, at Cabinet level, there were consultations around retrenchment in various departments, and discussions on how to take across workers from one area to another in government, to ensure that government retained their skills and experience.
Mr Mabasa commented on the budget, and said that the DSBD was clearly one that needed "warm bodies" as it needed human beings to traverse South Africa and empower others, by supporting emerging farmers, cooperatives, small industries, such as those that were making uniforms, because those businesses were not equipped to use advanced technology. This made the need for sound communication and exchange even stronger, as the DSBD must communicate and exchange information at a level appropriate to their level of development. It was not clear whether the DSBD had enough funding to pay salaries, or it it needed to ask that more personnel be employed.
Mr Jeffrey Ndumo, Chief Director, DSBD, answered the question on the Mass Youth Enterprise Programme, and admitted that the level of entrepreneurship amongst the youth in South Africa was very low, because traditionally the country had been training people to get jobs, not to become entrepreneurs or start businesses. The DSBD had deliberately designed this programme to enhance the level of entrepreneurship amongst young people, and focus them in that particular direction. The aim here was to live in an environment which was dubbed "the head-holding environment" - in which they were learning. Young people would be recruited and trained to do venture creation, and they would receive certificates. Venture creation entailed a number of skills, how they managed their affairs, how to develop a business plan, how to do a feasibility study, over a twelve-month period. The DSBD was looking to achieve a number of outcomes. Firstly, it wanted the young people to be confident enough to get into business. They would be awarded certificates, as a part of the venture creation qualification. Secondly, they would be, during the programme, developing a feasibility study in the area of the business they were choosing, either a cooperative or SMME enterprise. They would then develop a business plan, and the deal would be looked after by the service providers. Still within that learning environment, they would then get funding. These trained young people would then have created businesses that would take up some of the opportunities that existed within Government, particularly the issue of 30% of government procurement to be set aside for small business, which the DSBD would be directly targeting. In addition, the new businesses should be able to take up private sector opportunities that had been set up in terms of an accord with the Department. There were opportunities that would come for them to be suppliers to big business. By the end of the 12 months of the programme, the entrepreneurs would be emerging with businesses that could be run and fully funded in the "head-holding" environment until they got their final certificates. Mr Ndumo noted that after this twelve-month period, the participants could either get an incubator, or, if they were confident enough to do so, could stand on their own.
DSBD had targeted 1 000 in the first year, wanted to increase this and was going to roll it out further, partnering also with the Centre of Excellence, and SEDA, as well as private sector enterprises that would be targeted to assist in terms of the supply chain.
Mr Ndumo added that the DSBD was also wanting to develop a cooperative development model, which i would present to the Committee in due course, in order to develop cooperatives, and the Department would flesh out, in that presentation, exactly how it would implement and roll out, and who the partners were. Particular issues being addressed included an analysis of where the market was. With most cooperatives, the major challenge was access to markets. Secondly, mechanisms of support would be created. The DSBD was amending the incentives scheme to tighten it, and would ensure that only those co-operatives that were going to be sustainable and successful would use resources of Government, instead of wasting funding on those that were not succeeding and not sustainable. Going back to the market, he noted that the biggest market was state procurement, and so the DSBD would be entering into transversal agreements, articulated at all the spheres of government, and would be working with all levels on a project-by-project basis.
The DSBD wanted to ensure that if a project was located at a particular municipality, that municipality would assist in ensuring that the project was monitored. There were also core arrangements around funding and support. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) would provide strong support on training that was required to leverage the Sector Education and Training Authority money, as well as money available from other training academies for a number of projects. If a project needed technical training, that training would be designed and offered. Similarly, if there was a need for managerial training it would be provided, working in partnership with the DHET.
Procurement would be sourced from several deparments, such as DHET, the Departments of Basic Education and Correctional Services, who would be part of the model, to ensure that the cooperatives had stronger market access, training and funding - all elements to be brought together in the projects. The entire value chain, from primary producing agricultural commodities, right up to consumer cooperatives would be considered, and the products would seek to fill any gaps in those value chains.
Mr Ndumo noted that there was a specific unit dealing with LED and that the Department would definitely be working with local government and municipalities.
The Minister said that implementation and business plans would be created in every area specifying how things were to be done. That meant that the Department had a huge responsibility in breaking down and analysing business plans. For instance, in relation to the model, the contribution made by this Portfolio Committee was taken into full consideration, for questions around where the cooperatives were, what was happening, why they were failing and other points raised by Membes were critical. The dti and Portfolio Commitee on Trade and Industry, having such a wide portfolio, had not been able to focus on these points specifically. She added that all questions asked would be answered fully by the Department, but she asked that there was still a need to scrutinise the business plans per unit.
Mr Mzwanele Memani, Acting Chief Director, DSBD, answered the question on the red-tape reduction. When the DSBD had spoken of "institutionalising" the work, it meant that it was going to implement through all spheres of government. It had begun with the provinces, and he said that it would take a lot to measure and understand all the difficulties of red tape at the provincial level. National government was not being left out; whatever was implemented would be done across all spheres. When starting with this programme, the DSBD realised it had to look at the support agencies themselves, which were complaining that their own turnaround times were not satisfactory because of the immense amount of paper work. Another critical point in the presentation was the Department's belief that it needed to put together a task team that comprised of expertise and people from various departments and various spheres of Government who would be able to isolate other matters or have knowledge on additional issues, and work with them on driving the process of unlocking the problems around red tape.
Mr Memani said that in order to build experience, research was very important. The DSBD could not develop strategies and programmes in a vacuum, and thus needed to have intelligence that would feed into the development of the strategy. When the DSBD was first structured, the research component had been very strong, but that had actually unfortunately not been agreed upon as proposed. However, the Department would need to try to build a central catchment area or a database to capture all the information, in order to build intelligence, manned by staff with good analytical skills to feed into strategies and programmes.
Mr Memani agreed that in order to assure quality the DSBD would have to engage with SABS. It already had a programme, working with SEDA, providing a service to enterprises to produce goods of good quality. However, he conceded the need to take the strategy beyond that. If it was targeting the 30% government procurement, that would demand products of high quality working with SABS. Programmes would also be needed tailor-made for small businesses within SABS. Cost was a factor on which more engagement was needed.
Mr Memani spoke to the issue of outcomes or outputs. He said that outcomes were a necessary consideration downstream in the implementation of every programme and the DSBD would have to build a very strong Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) programme that would be able to produce those outcomes and the impact needed on any programme being implemented.
The Minister added that the importance of research, monitoring and evaluation was emphasised by the existence of the National Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Office of the President. DSBD wanted to avoid only dealing with this after any reports but wanted to take a proactive stance and connect the systems; all Ministers must respond to that national department, and any monitoring must be connected to the entire national plan. The Minister said that there had been a little misunderstanding when the DSBD first made a submission that suggested that it wanted to run its own in-house monitoring. However, National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration had recognised that this was a new department with new facets, and it sometimes became difficult to put into into precise pigeonholes or blocks. It was not intending to do things in the same old way, but was breaking new ground, and being creative, and would have to do this even if the budget was limited.
The Minister commented on the suggestion of partnering with other spheres of government. The Committee, having visited the provinces, would have seen that said that programmes were implemented in a disjointed way, and that resources would often "get lost" in the provinces. It might be interesting for Members to access, in their study groups, a report that she had given input to, that indicated how much by way of resources had been pumped in to people, yet they were still not export-ready and displayed numerous weaknesses. It might be interesting for the Committee to see that government as a whole did realise the weaknesses but also said that in order to come up with scientific research, outside sources must be consulted. It would be made public very soon. Sometimes, dealing with all spheres was "a nightmare". From the outset, the Department had written to premiers to introduce the new Department, set out the mandates and objectives, and asked to be connected to Premier and MECs, but few had responded. The Department was hopeful that, through the MinMEC process, it could work on the elements of coordination, particularly in the economic cluster, for this was a priority. This was thus not something for the task team alone, although it was developing further mechanisms to push for coordination and continue to engage, to bring everyone on board.
The Chairperson said that the Committee and the Department had found each other in this meeting, and it would be easier for them to move forward. She could not promise that all would be smooth sailing, but she was pleased that they were past the initial learning stages. She commended the Minister and the team for having arrived at a common perspective, and said that the presentation clearly demonstrated that all were at the same level of understanding on the mandate, and the challenges to be addressed. Now they needed to work on how to move forward and how to identify and address the obstacles.
Commenting again on preformance indicators, she noted that the DSBD seemed to share the perspective of the Committee, that it would be important to measure impacts. She understood the Acting Director General's point that the Department was obliged to use a template for reporting that determined the way in which the performance indicators were set out. She added that the DSBD should also be able to tap into budgets of other departments, to introduce projects that would benefit small businesses and co-operatives.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department of Small Business Development on its Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2015/16 - part 2
- Department of Small Business Development on its Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2015/16 - part 3
- Department of Small Business Development on its Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2015/16 - part 1
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