In a virtual meeting, the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) briefed the Select Committee on its Annual Performance Plan (APP) for the 2019/20 financial year.
The DSBD took the Committee through a detailed APP for the 2019/20 year, which included all the Departments targets, audit findings, and the challenges it faced to reach its targets. The presentation showed, out of 27 targets, the Department achieved 18 (67%) of its targets, and did not achieve 9 (33%) of its targets.
Key areas of underperformance articulated by the Department were:
- The unqualified audit outcome with material findings on performance information and compliance with legislation.
- The Department was not able to achieve the target of below 10% in respect of vacancy rate and ended the financial year with a vacancy rate of 12.4%
- Co-operatives supported to the value of the R85.7 million (budget: R87.9 million).
- SMMEs and Co-operatives supported through Blended Finance to the value of R80 million (budget: R100 million) was transferred to SEFA for implementation. R20 million was transferred to Covid-19 interventions.
- The SMMEs supported through the BBSDP to the value of R111 million (budget: R206 million).
- No Informal Business Infrastructure partnerships agreements were secured
- Due to disruptions in work arrangements emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic, the approval of the Small Enterprise Development Masterplan Framework and the Funding model guideline were deferred.
The Committee asked the Department to elaborate on issues regarding the variances in the financial report, and the figures for each province in the supplementary presentation. Members of the Committee raised questions about the Audit Committee (AC), saying the AC seemed to be non-existent; asked about the Department’s annual performance and it not reaching its targets; about the Department reaching 67% of its targets, but spending over 90% of its budget; about strategic measures it plans to implement to address its under-performance; about the increase in the audit findings of the Department; and what it is doing to address this issue.
The Committee raised further concerns about what the Department is doing to assist SMMEs; asked about what the Department is doing to help SMMEs to produce its products, and sell to big retailers; about the Department assisting already established SMMEs and not all SMMEs; about what the Department is doing to assist SMMEs who struggle to pay bills, salaries, and SMMEs who owe ESKOM money.
The Committee Members asked the Department for a detailed response on its projects, the progress of the projects, to name the beneficiaries of the projects; asked about red tape; asked about its work with the European Union programme, and how the programme assists the Department.
The Committee adopted the National Gambling Amendment Bill [B27B-2018]
Report of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour on the National Gambling Amendment Bill [B27B - 2018]
The Committee Secretary took Members through the report.
Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape) noted there is an error in the report, referring to clause 4.1. The National Gambling Board was led by an administrator for the past six years. This error must be corrected.
The report was adopted with this amendment.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said the House rejected the report last year so he was confused as to where the report now went.
The Chairperson explained the report was sent to the House at the end of the Fifth Parliament and then lapsed. It was then revived and went back to the provinces for final mandates.
Committee report on Covid-19 response for Tourism Sector
The Committee Secretary took Members through the report.
The report was adopted without amendments.
Consideration of Committee Minutes deferred
Due to time constraints and to allow Members an opportunity to go through the minutes thoroughly, the Committee agreed to defer adoption of the minutes to the next meeting.
Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) Annual Report 2019/20
Ms Rosemary Capa, Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, thanked the Committee for allowing the DSBD to present its 2019/20, Annual Performance Plan (APP). She gave a breakdown of the presentations and said the presentation does not include a political overview, because certain information is required. She said if there are questions regarding political oversight she will address it.
The Chairperson said the Deputy Minister must account regarding why the Department still has an acting Director-General.
Mr Lindokuhle Mkhumane, Acting Director-General (ADG), DSBD, took the Committee through a detailed Annual Performance Plan (APP) report for DSBD for the 2019/20 financial year. Out of 27 targets, the Department achieved 18 (67%) of its targets, and did not achieve 9 (33%) of its targets. Looking at the background of performance per programme:
-Administration: 6/8 targets achieved (75%)
-Sector Policy and Research: 5/5 targets achieved
-Integrated Cooperatives Development: 3/5 targets achieved (60%)
-Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship: 4/9 targets achieved (44%)
-The Department had a 1.8% expenditure variance on annual budget
-The Department managed to process 100% payments to eligible creditors 11 467 invoices to eligible creditors amounting to R65 347 730.48 paid on average of 13 days.
-47 versus 30 planned facilitated interactions that delivered meaningful engagements with communities and the public
-Achieving a representation of 55.9% in respect of women in its Senior Management Services (SMS), above the public service standard of 50%.
-The Department has 2.4% persons with disabilities as at 31 March 2020.
Sector Policy and Research
-The work on reducing regulatory burdens and a conducive legislative and policy environment for SMMEs and Co-operatives entailed continuing to assist municipalities to roll out the Red Tape Reduction Programme (RTRP) in 33 municipalities.
-Proposed amendments of the National Small Business Act were finalised, paving a critical path to the establishment of the Ombud Service
-The measurement framework on the National SMMEs Index was developed in February 2020
-The Co-operatives registration process was reviewed
Integrated Cooperatives Development
-Four product markets roll out plans for SMMEs and Cooperatives approved by ADDG in the four provinces
-20 SMMEs and Co-operatives were supported whose product quality has been tested and improved.
Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship
-A total of 3 524 informal businesses against the annual target of 1 000 were supported through the Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP).
-2 535 crafters were also supported through the Craft Customised Sector Programme.
-Through the Enterprise and Incubation Programme, six digital hubs were established in rural and township areas with the focus on developing and intensifying support, and sustaining existing SMMEs and co-operatives
Key areas of underperformance include:
The Department faced challenges in achieving its target and the key areas of underperformance included the following:
-The unqualified audit outcome, with material findings on performance information and compliance with legislation.
-Regarding the vacancy rate, the Department was not able to achieve the target of below 10%, and ended the financial year with a vacancy rate of 12.4%. This was due to a moratorium on filling vacancies pending finalisation of the National Macro Organisation of Government (NMOG) process.
-Co-operatives were supported to the value of R85.7 million (budget: R87.9 million). This was partly due to National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) underperformance.
- SMMEs and co-operatives supported through Blended Finance, to the value of R80 million (budget: R100 million), was transferred to the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) for implementation. R20 million was transferred to Covid-19 interventions.
-The SMMEs supported through the BBSDP to the value of R111 million (budget: R206 million). R100 million was transferred from BBSDP to Blended Finance through virement processes.
-No Informal Business Infrastructure partnerships agreements were secured (six planned). Funds were repurposed for products and markets development.
-Due to disruptions in work arrangements emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic, the approval of the Small Enterprise Development Masterplan Framework and the Funding model guideline were deferred.
-The Department is in the process of developing the Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Reporting Framework and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will address the material findings on performance information and compliance with legislation.
-Vacant funded posts will be filled upon approval of the reviewed structure.
-Going forward, the Blended Finance programme will be implemented by SEFA.
-The Department has developed and introduced new business delivery model and as such the BBSDP is being phased out.
-During the 2020/21 financial year, the Department will prioritise and focus on Products Markets.
-Small Enterprise Development Masterplan Framework is planned to be presented to EXCO during the 2020/21 financial year.
-Unauthorised expenditure: The DSBD did not incur any unauthorised expenditure.
-Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure (R14 000): The Department started the financial year with R6 000 and this amount was recovered from affected officials. The remaining balance is R14 000 due to a Telkom line that was not closed in time when the former DG retired. The matter is under investigation.
-Irregular expenditure: (R217 000)” The Department started off the 2019/20 financial year with a balance of R947 000 and a further R496 000 was incurred during the financial year. Following internal investigations, a request to condone R1.226 million was approved by National Treasury.
(See attached document for detailed APP report)
The Chairperson asked the Department’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to elaborate on the variances the financial report in the presentation refers to.
Mr Shumani Mathobo, Director, DSBD, replied by saying a substantial amount of the Department’s funds at the end of the 2019/20 financial year had to be reprioritised to assist in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The funds contributed to the Covid-19 measures which were implemented by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), together with the Department. This is the external variance, and the internal variances were supplemented by the Department’s projects. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) contributed R17 million, and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) committed to contribute R250 million to the Fund. The Department accumulated over R300 million for the Fund to assist with the response to the pandemic.
The Chairperson said a national state of disaster was declared on 15 March 2020, and the Department had 15 days to re-organise. The Department should elaborate more on this when replying to committee questions.
Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape) said the supplementary presentation gave more details about the figures in each province than the actual presentation. He asked the Department to elaborate more on the supplementary presentation. He asked the CFO of the Department to explain the Audit Committee’s (AC) selection process, and why there was only one member on the AC. He was especially interested in the period, December 2019 until March 2020, because the structures of governance regarding the AC seemed to be non-existent. He wanted to know what the reasons were for not extending the AC’s work.
He raised concerns about the Performance Management System (PMS), because the ADG said the finances were in order, but performance was a problem. The audit findings showed the Department’s management does not implement proper bookkeeping records. This is a concern because the Committee cannot get evidence to see the work done. The failure of proper bookkeeping explains the disparity between the budget spent and the performance targets reached. The information management team of the Department must improve its bookkeeping records. The area of SMMEs, and cooperatives, must be prioritised in the Department. He asked the Department why its audit findings increased, as it aims to reduce its audit findings.
The Chairperson asked the Department about the funds used in each province, and asked about the projects the funds were used for. He asked about the progress on these projects, and the implications the project had for job creation. The Chairperson asked the Department for a detailed report on these issues, within the next seven days.
Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape) raised issues discussed in the previous meeting. For the country to attract investment, the country must establish a solid investment environment and improve production capacity and capabilities. The main focus of the country is to provide public and private funding to SMMEs, but the Department is focusing on SMMEs which are already funded. This does not include all SMMEs. He asked the Department to explain why it is only focusing on an elite few SMMEs, because the majority of small businesses are suffering and not getting support from government. In the previous meeting, the Department was asked about the underperformance of individuals not meeting deadlines. The Department said warnings were given to those individuals. The Department was advised not to give performance bonuses to individuals who do not perform. Mr Londt asked why this is not happening.
Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo) said the Director-General (DG) said the Department spent over 90% of its budget, and only achieved 67% of its targets. She asked what the reasons were for its underperformance. She asked the Department what it is planning to do to assist informal businesses, and if the Department has data on small businesses, so it knows what it can do to assist. She wanted to know what the Department plans to do to assist informal businesses if it cannot sustain itself, especially the businesses in the rural areas which cannot afford to pay ESKOM; which measures the Department put in place to assist small businesses to encourage people to buy local products, and asked if the Department gave small businesses the opportunity to sell products in big retail stores.
Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) asked the Department to give feedback on the beneficiaries of the entrepreneurship programme. She asked the Department to provide the Committee with its action plan to improve the vacancy rate in the 2019/20 financial year. She asked the Department to provide more information about the EDCE programmes, and the progress of these programmes.
Mr Mmoiemang raised concerns about the European Union’s (EU) support for the Department’s work. He raised a number of issues regarding reducing red tape, and said the reason why, in some cases, targets are not reached, is because of the Department’s relationship with the NYDA. He asked if there is engagement with the Department and the NYDA to address the issue.
The Acting DG, Mr Mkhumane, replied to Mr Mmoiemang’s question about the supplementary presentation which indicates the amount for the Cooperatives Incentive Scheme (CIS) in assisting co-operatives in each province. The presentation gives a breakdown of the money spent in the Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP) to assist black business and small businesses in each province. The supplementary presentation also includes the expenditure of the Informal Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP), and indicates how the Department assisted the Informal Micro-Enterprises (IMEs).
The Department will provide a detailed report on each programme, which businesses the Department assisted, the progress of the projects, and the jobs each project created.
He replied to the question regarding the AC work between the months of January and March. The Department did not have an AC because its members’ contracts expired. The Department had an AC from April to December, and the AC assisted with the audit. Therefore, the Department was audited properly. The AG raised concerns about the Department not having an AC at the particular time the audit took place.
Ms Zandile Mavundla, Strategy, DSBD said the Department received the audit findings and recommendations, advising the Department to re-check the framework of performance management, and to hold those in management accountable for poor performances. The Department developed a framework for Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and the Executive Committee (EXCO) approved it in December last year. The Department is currently implementing a plan for evidence about problems to be forwarded to the DG from branches and provinces, to be verified and ready when the Department is audited.
The Department started working closely with its Internal Auditors (IAs) to assess the Department’s work. This was implemented because normally the IA’s assessed the Department’s work after it was already sent to Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and to the Executive Authority.
Working closely with the IA’s assists the Department to make amendments to its findings, and to assess evidence thoroughly before sending it to the DTME and EA. The Department worked closely with its Information and Communications Technology Unit (ICTU), and implemented an online reporting system for the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The system has not yet been fully implemented however the management team reporting on the online system is registered. This system will strengthen the evidence of APP targets, and will help to hold management not reaching targets, to account.
Replying to Ms Mathevula’s question on the budget and targets, she said previously, there were three elements achieved, not achieved, and partially achieved. In the APP report of 2019/20, partially achieved targets were regarded as not achieved.
Mr Mkhumane replied to Mr Mmoiemang’s question about the EU programme. He said the EU decided on the recruitment process, and decided who should be recruited. The EU programme has three Key Results Areas (KRA).
KRA1 refers to the competitiveness of SMMEs, the SMMEs ability to meet the procurement requirements of large, multi-national, cooperatives, local government, and state owned enterprises (SOEs). It also ensures this ability is improved. The KRA1 interventions include improving the district ecosystem, co-ordination, and shared information system with the District Development Modal (DDM). This will assist the Department to gather a lot of information in the ecosystem. The government cannot do everything on its own. It needs the private sector’s assistance.
The Department ensures all officials in the DDM have the necessary skills to do their jobs. The e-commerce sector assisted the Department with its Covid-19 responses, and promoted entrepreneurship among young people. The Department engages with SEDA, and said SEDA cannot do it alone as an entity of government. The DSBD encouraged SEDA to be a facilitator of the ecosystem. This is because, when it comes to incubators of the system, a number of entities came up with great ideas, and called itself incubators of the ecosystem. The issue of incubator standards was propagated by the EU programme. The EU programme assists the Department with its standards and policy, so SEDA becomes a coordinator of this space. The EU programme established one standard across the ecosystem, rather than everyone establishing its own standard.
KRA2 aims to assist SMMEs in the agriculture, reform, and rural development sector.
Regarding the question on the NYDA, he said there are two projects the Department is working with the NYDA on. The Department assisted 1 000 young people. The underperformance in this project was due to the NYDA failing to produce receipts on the project’s expenditure. The second project it is working on is the Braai Cafe, and together with the NYDA, the Department is busy amending the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This is critical because the Department cannot lose NYDA’s support because of its reach with young people.
Replying to Mr Londt’s question on supporting SMMEs, he said it is a critical issue. Led by the Ministry, the DSBD engaged with the private sector a lot, both with individuals and key businesses. In the retail space it encourages retailers to be supplied by SMMEs and cooperatives, and asks retailers to open its value chains. The retailers provided the Department with a list of products which can be produced and distributed locally, rather than importing the products. The Department engages with other institutions on a monthly basis because it has a role to play. The institutions are important because it has a data-base and a network. The DSBD engages with the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) to address the issue on the National Credit Guarantee Scheme (NCGS). R200 billion was put aside for the NCGS, however, there were complaints saying little of the budget was dispatched to SMMEs. The DSBD was proactive, and in August 2020 it sent a proposal to National Treasury (NT). In the proposal, the Department said Khula Credit Guarantee Scheme (KCGS), which is a subsidiary of SEFA and is regulated by the Reserve Bank and the Department, asked the Reserve Bank to give SEFA the opportunity to administer the scheme. The Reserve Bank is strict when it comes to SMMEs underperforming, which is unfortunate. For this reason the Department asked NT to set aside more money from the NCGS, because the Department will assist the banks to spend the money and help the SMMEs who are underperforming.
Mr Mkhumane replied to Mr Londt’s question on the underperformance of individuals. He said it is a matter addressed on a regular basis. The DSBD knows it has an annual review at the end of the financial year and a mid-year review in government. The Department implements consequence management on individuals who do not perform, and there are interventions which include coaching because the DSBD cannot just fire an employee. The Department implements measures to improve the performance of officials, such as training, and in some cases the individual will not receive a salary increase if the individual is not performing.
He replied to Mr Londt’s question on the performance bonuses, and said it is not being addressed considering the state the fiscus is in, and government bonuses cannot be discussed when so many people lost jobs.
He replied to Ms Mathevula’s question on the annual targets achieved, and said informal business is a very important sector for the Department. The Department designed specific instruments to assist businesses such as saloons, motor repairers, spaza shops, and fruit and vegetable stalls. These businesses are the future, and as a country the Department will go far if the DSBD helps improve informal businesses in the townships and rural areas.
He replied to the question about SMMEs and data, and said the Department established an SMME database and it encourages all SMMEs to register on the database. This database indicates in which sectors the SMMEs are, and the website of the database is www.smmea.gov.za
There are 200 000 SMMEs registered on the database, but information from companies and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) indicates there are 1.5 million SMMEs registered. The Department still has a long way to go in getting all the SMMEs registered on its database.
He replied to Ms Mathevula’s question, saying there is an agreement in place that for wholesalers to get help from the DSBS, it has to buy products from SMMEs.
He replied to the question about small businesses products being sold in big malls, and said this is tricky because it depends on if the small business is ready to supply and operate. There were cases where SMMEs struggle to pay rent to the malls. The DSBD encourages the sector to have product markets whereby SMMEs have its own infrastructure and do not rely on malls. SEDA implemented product brackets where SMMEs set up in a mall space to sell products to customers walking past.
He replied to the question on what the Department is doing to assist SMMEs which owe ESKOM – during the lockdown period, the DSBD provided SMMEs with Debt Relief Facility. The Department assisted SMMEs who could not afford to pay its electricity bills and salaries. After the hard lockdown the Department started the Business Viability Scheme (BVS). The BVS assist SMMEs to improve its way of working regarding technology and productivity improvements, so SMMEs can pay its bills. If SMMEs cannot pay bills, its success will be compromised. The Department’s schemes assist the SMMEs to survive on its own in the future.
He replied to the question about the red tape, and said DSBD needs to provide a detailed report to the Committee. The report will indicate the post red tape interventions programme, and what the outcomes are. The Department will provide the Report as soon as it gets the information required from the beneficiaries of the red tape interventions.
He replied to Ms Moshodi’s question on the vacancy rate, and said the Department will provide its action plan to the Committee to tackle the vacancy rate issue.
The Chairperson asked the CFO to respond to the issues regarding the NYDA and the former Director- General (DG).
Mr Mathobo replied saying it has been two years since the DG retired. The CFO is waiting for the ADG’s guidance.
Mr Mathobo replied to the Chairperson’s question about the NYDA. He said the DSBD, in its agreement with the NYDA, advanced an amount of R16.8 million to the NYDA. An amount of money advanced to an agency or entity does not reflect as expenditure in the financial records because supporting documents need to account for the expenditure. R1.8 million was for the BC and the R15 million was to assist the 1000 entrepreneur project. At the end of the 2019/20 financial year, the NYDA was only able to provide the Department with invoices accumulating to R9 million. Only this amount could be recorded in the Department’s books. Due to the hard lockdown, the roll out of the projects was delayed. The balance the Department advanced to the NYDA will not reflect as expenditure until the NYDA submits the documents required. This is proof it helped entities which applied. The Department will take the list and invoices, conduct its own audit, and record the expenditures in its financial records.
Regarding the issue with the NYDA, the Chairperson asked what its current status is, as of 16 February 2021.
Mr Mathobo replied that in December, a further R3.5 million was expensed. Due to insufficient funds, the Department could not cover the remaining balance. The Department sent a letter of commitment which indicated the NYDA will receive the remaining amount by the end of February 2020, because the NYDA submitted all the required invoices.
The BC budget of R1.8 million will not reflect on the books yet, because the NYDA only provided invoices of R345 000. The 1000 Entrepreneur Project budget of R15 million will reflect on the books by the end of the month, because the NYDA only has an outstanding balance of invoices accumulating to R2.1 million.
He replied to the Chairperson’s question on the issue of the retired DG, saying Telkom did not notify the Department about the situation. The Department pays invoices as it comes and after the DG left, the Department continued paying for the phone. The Department was supposed to notify Telkom to temporarily suspend or terminate the phone. This did not happen and Telkom kept incurring costs on the phone, and only notified the Department after a year about the phone still incurring admin fees, even though it is not in use. When fruitless and wasteful expenditure occurs, the Department launches an investigation to find those responsible. The DG has a support team that is responsible for administrative activities, and the Department launched an investigation to find out who is responsible so the individual can be held accountable and the money can be recovered. The Department wants this matter to be finalised before the end of the financial year.
He replied to the question on the increased audit findings, and said the number of findings increased from six to 33. There are more audit findings, but what is important to note is how much of those audit findings were repeated. The Auditor-General (AG) audits different aspects of the process floor, and when the AG finds loopholes or controls which are inadequate and ineffective, it is raised as findings. There were ten repeat audit findings out of the 26 findings, and the other 16 findings were satisfied regarding how the Department addressed it. Out of the ten repeat findings the AG placed emphasis on the performance information of Programme Four. He referred to the presentation slide on audit outcomes and said there are no findings which indicate the Department used its budget incorrectly. There is no finding which says the Department purchased something which there is no proof of, or the Department paid the wrong service provider. The challenge the Department faces is with the process floor. The Department is committed to address the controls found inadequate, and the employees responsible will be held accountable. The DSBD adjusted its performance agreements in December 2020 to address all the audit findings and to ensure the Department does not have repeat findings.
The Department has challenges with the incentive area and the Department decided to discontinue the Informal Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP), and Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP). The reason these programmes were discontinued is because of non-compliance, not adhering to guidelines, and because this area exposes the Department to fraud and corruption. The budget of these programmes was redesigned to assist with interventions for SMMEs and cooperatives.
The Chairperson said the DG of the Department is waiting on guidance from NT, and asked the DG to elaborate on the matter not condoned by NT.
Mr Mkhumane said the Director of the Legal Services Unit disputed her written warning and did not want to sign the warning. The Department imposed the written warning on the Director, and it is now on her record. The Department sent its response to NT, the issue was dealt with, and consequence management took place.
Deputy Minister Capa replied to the issues raised by Members on the vacancy rate, and said having the head of administration in the form of the DG is crucial for the survival of the DSBD. The recruitment process began in June 2020, and in July data verification took place. The process was delayed due to the lockdown and the closure of the Department. All interviews were conducted and the Department is awaiting the approval from the Ministry of DSBD, and Public Service Commission (PSC). The DSBD is working closely with South African Revenue Services (SARS) and other entities to register SMMEs.
She replied to the issues raised about job creation, and said the Covid-19 pandemic caused the Department to suffer because SMMEs could not claim for resilience. SMMEs did not have the required documents it needed to comply to submit a claim.
She replied to the questions about the red tape, saying if the she gets notified by an individual about not getting paid, she would ask from which Department the individual is phoning from, and get the dates from which the individual did not get paid. The DSBD has a MOU with all provinces at Premier level, to which all stakeholders involved will comply to. The AG said there is an app through which officials can lodge complaints about not being paid, and many letters were written to the Director-General (DG) commending the Department on its efficiency. The DSBD was offended when the OR Tambo district municipality closed for Christmas after a long strike, which caused SMMEs and cooperatives not to be paid. The DSBD wrote to the municipality a letter saying from the Christmas holiday, the Department paid the municipality.
She replied to Ms Mathevula’s question, saying the DSBD is currently assisting SMMEs to sell its products in malls and to wholesalers. The Minister has a list of products retailers must purchase from SMMEs. The issue of product quality arose, and the DSBD assisted with batch numbers of the products, and everything it required to verify the shelf-life of the products which would be sold. There was progress with exporting products to countries such as China. The DSBD encourages localising, whereby businesses are encouraged to buy or to produce products locally. The DSBD and SEDA are responsible to assist businesses to improve its product quality, as many SMMEs did not get any grants to improve production quality and to sustain its duration contract.
She replied to the issues raised on the database for SMMEs, saying part of the DSBD’s mandate is to establish a national database for SMMEs. The database acts as a register which informs the Department about the SMMEs, and it assists the Department with its District Development Model (DDM). It also helps the Department to categorise the SMME.
She thanked the Committee for the questions, and granting the Department the opportunity to come before the Committee. She said she hopes the relationship between the DSBD and the Committee will be strengthened.
The Chairperson asked the ADG of the Department to submit the three written reports to the Committee Secretary, so the reports can be circulated to Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
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