Members went through its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report for the Department of Small Business Development once again to ensure that all the proposed changes have been made. The DA complained that their previous comments and input were not reflected in the document and the Committee decided to go through the Report once again to put their mind at ease. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Ruth Bhengu (ANC), in her absence submitted some observations that should be added onto the Report. Members welcomed the suggested observations without any objections. On completion of the consideration of the Report, Members moved for the adoption of the Report except for the DA members who reserved their right to vote for the adoption of the Report.
The Committee also briefly discussed the invite it had received from the Small Business Development Institute for a national colloquium on small businesses. The House Chair indicated that it can only be the Chairperson who attends the colloquium due to the fact that there are party caucuses, plenary and Committee meetings taking place on the colloquium dates. The Committee needs to be available to carry out its business and adhere to its schedule. The DA rejected this and argued that that the House Chair is out of order because the caucuses are party arrangements that have nothing to do with the House Chair and that this matter could be referred to the Party Chief Whips. The Acting Chairperson indicated that he would consult with the House Chair and report back to Members.
Election of Acting Chairperson
Mr King Kunene, Committee Secretary, welcomed Members. He indicated that the Chairperson was absent and the Committee needed to elect an acting chairperson.
Mr X Mabasa (ANC) was unanimously elected to chair the meeting.
The Secretary submitted that the Committee has been invited by the Small Business Development Institute (SBDI) for a national colloquium on small businesses. An application was submitted to the House Chair for travelling arrangements and for the Committee to be excused. The House Chair indicated that it can only be the Chairperson who attends the colloquium due to the fact that there are party caucuses, plenary and Committee meetings taking place on the colloquium dates. The Committee needs to be available to carry out its business and adhere to its schedule.
Mr H Kruger (DA) highlighted that the House Chair is out of order because the caucuses are party arrangements that have nothing to do with the House Chair, therefore, he can not mention that as a substantive reason for Members to not attend the colloquium. Secondly, his party gave him permission to not attend the House meeting on Thursday afternoon in order to go to the colloquium, and that is no business of the House Chair, and on Friday there is no Committee arrangements made as yet. Therefore, the House Chair is certainly out of order for dictating what Members should or should not do.
Mr T Chance (DA) also agreed with Mr Kruger that the House Chair is overstepping the mark for dictating whether the Members should or should not attend the colloquium. It is obvious then that travel arrangements have not been approved by Parliament for members to attend the colloquium but individual members can make their own travel arrangements to attend the event, in consultation with their Chief Whips and caucus.
The Secretary noted that he may have been misunderstood, because what he meant was that only the Chairperson can attend the colloquium and make use of the Committee’s funds. So if a member wishes to attend the colloquium, they can do so in their own capacity and expenses. So the issue is not to stop members from attending the colloquium but utilising the Committee’s funds to attend the colloquium.
The Chairperson concurred with Mr Chance and Mr Kruger, and stated that he will consult with the House Chair and report back to the Members.
Mr Chance than suggested that they get an answer from the House Chair by the end of business day with some clarity on this matter, otherwise it will be taken up to the Party Chief Whips.
The Members closed the matter until further notice.
Small Business Development Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.
Mr Chance highlighted that there is a possibility that the DA might reserve its rights not to adopt the Report. This is because the changes that were proposed on Wednesday are not highlighted in the document. Most of the changes that were proposed came from him and Mr Kruger, and the Committee consensus may not have been reached, and the changes were not effected in the document. On that basis alone, the DA might reserve its right not to adopt the Report.
He pointed to some of the changes that he proposed that were not changed in the document, and said that this can not be acceptable, and that the Committee can not be sure that the changes that have been proposed have been actually made, and now the Members have to rely on the interpretation of what is being said, which is not acceptable. Previously the consideration of the BRRR would be up on the projector for members to see as the changes are being effected.
Members spent quite some time discussing the omission of the changes that were made in the previous meeting. It appears that there was a slight miscommunication or misunderstanding from the secretarial side regarding the proposed changes, because the secretarial team (Content Advisers) were not aware that this was the manner in which the Committee preferred the changes to be made in the Report. Therefore, the Chairperson suggested that the Committee peruse the Report once again to make sure that all the proposed changes have been made. Members were displeased due to time constraints but eventually agreed to do so.
The Content Advisor stated that the Chairperson, Ms Ruth Bhengu, in her absence had submitted some observations under the Responses by the Department with the previously proposed recommendations that should be included in the Report. The comments (observations) were as follows:
Under the Responses from the Department of Small Business Development
The observation of the PC should show the lack of capacity (an understanding of cooperatives is narrow; broader perspective at international level is to use cooperative to develop the community) disaster should the same officials be used who are responsible for 88% failure rate (resistant to change and learning new ways of developing cooperatives);
The approach of the DSBD does not take into consideration IGRA and IDP at local government where service delivery or coordination takes place;
The approach is not focusing on building relationships with the local government sphere where IDP takes place to inform budget allocation and collaboration by various departments, e.g 12 funded cooperative where not introduced to local government where they exist and as a results they lack support from those municipalities and other government departments;
The DSBD is using an inward looking approach that does not recognise the value of engaging broader stakeholders at community level that would get through to them through local government in order to develop a felt need based approach;
The PC sees resistant from Sefa to change also not prepared to learn from other departments like DHS that have a Rural Housing Loan which uses the Grumming Bank and Mondragon Model;
The Marketing Unit should appear before the PC to brief on how do they use the information to influence the supplier development unit in order to provide adequate support that is aligned to value chain development; and
Members received the Chairperson’s observations and agreed to them without amendments. The Chairperson then called for the adoption of the Report, and members moved for the adoption except for the DA members who reserved their right not to vote in favour of the Report.
The meeting was adjourned.
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