The Portfolio Committee met on a virtual platform with the Department of Small Business and Development (DSBD) to discuss the Department's plans for its programmes aligned to 2022 flood relief funds for Kwa-Zulu Natal (NC), Eastern Cape (EC), and North West (NW) Provinces. The Small Enterprise Development Agency also briefed the Committee on the applications from the small business affected by the floods.
The Minister remarked that the economy is not doing well, small businesses are closing, and people are losing jobs; this delays the development of the country. The Department needs assistance; hence, it is exploring legal ways on how best it can follow the system on this. It is also considering engaging with the Portfolio Committee to look at the best ways the Department can be assisted. She assured the Members that the Department would not take long before returning to the Committee because it acknowledges that these red tapes are a hindrance to the success of small businesses.
She reported that the Department committed R50 million when it visited the KwaZulu-Natal province and Eastern Cape for formal businesses. The Department also committed R10m for informal businesses. Looking at the number of applications, it was proven that the funds were insufficient, but that is all the Department could afford to offer. It then turned to National Treasury for help, but the application was rejected. However, the Department has submitted another application for the unforeseeable expenditure; it is currently awaiting feedback. She requested that the Committee support them in this regard. If it is R165m that they are running short of, it means that small businesses would not be able to open again. They have R50m, but the demand is R225m.
The Department added that it had worked closely with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the provincial department of Economic Development to make sure that the interventions they come with are aligned with their interventions so that there are no incidents where people have received money from them and the IDC. They will continue to monitor the programme closely to save the tax year's money.
The Small Enterprises Development Agency reported that the Department, through the entity, responded to the floods in KZN and Eastern Cape, and two schemes were devised. Most notable was that there were 12 applications approved. The total value of applications approved was R43 937 867.67. A total of 106 applications were returned to provinces for procurement.
Members were not pleased with the report presented by the Minister as they questioned their processes with the relief fund for the three provinces. The fact that the report did not include North West province was a huge concern to some Members. Some Members argued that it could not be right to use a 'first-come-first-served' approach in offering assistance to businesses that have fallen victim to the disaster. It cannot be business as usual; government must visit the people in despair and not use the application criteria to assist them. Members asked the Department to provide the Committee with a breakdown of the applications received from informal traders, which were received and approved in May 2022.
The Chairperson praised the Department for its efforts in assisting the people that were affected by the floods in the provinces. However, some Members were not pleased with the shortage of funds, pointing out that the President was caught with dollars under his mattress.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Committee. She explained that the third term is crucial, as it establishes if they will reach their targets or not. She also passed condolences to the family of their colleague, Ms A Motaung, a recently departed Member of Parliament. Many passed in different Provinces, but she mentioned Miss Motaung specifically because she was part of the National Assembly. She extended condolences to the families of all who passed away and to the political parties to which they belonged.
She explained that the meeting is solely to receive a briefing from the Department of Small Business Development on floods that occurred in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape around July 2021. Many lives were lost, and some people are still homeless. Their role as the Portfolio Committee is to do oversight, even though they are not part of the Ad Hoc Committee. They still carry the responsibility to do the oversight.
The Committee considered its programme and received the Department's report. She welcomed the Members and advised that their constructive ideas are welcome to ensure that the Department is firm and has direction. She announced that the meeting was officially opened.
The Committee Secretary presented a proposed draft programme to the Committee for consideration and adoption. He mentioned that, as of 24 August 2022, the Committee expects to get a briefing from the Department of Small Business Development on the programmes aligned to the KZN, Eastern Cape and North West Provinces flood relief programmes. They will also get a briefing from the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on the progress of the finalisation of the DSBD organisational structure.
On 31 August 2022, the Committee planned to have a briefing from the entities. On 07 September 2022, the Committee will be considering the petition; on 14 September 2022, it will receive access to the finance of the entities that will be invited; 21 September 2022 it will be expecting to get a performance report for the first quarter of the financial year 2022/2023. Lastly, on 28 September 2022, they will have stakeholders briefing on access to finance.
The Secretary explained to the Committee why the meeting started in the afternoon: DPSA indicated to the secretariat that the Minister was very keen on attending the meeting and would only be available then.
Mr H Kruger (DA) reminded Members that the previous report mentioned that the Ad Hoc Committee must be formed so that it can monitor the rate-up unit in the President's office. He proposed that it be discussed as soon as possible on the programme because nothing is happening yet on that note. The longer it takes to get the unit off the ground, the more the small businesses suffer. He proposed that, on Wednesday, 07 September 2022, they add the office of the Presidency so that it can be discussed for the Ad Hoc Committee to be formed.
Mr M Hendricks (Al Jama-Ah) indicated that he wrote to the Committee about the Business Act that needs to be amended. The Department of Small Businesses Development (DSBD) seems very slow to implement the President's request. The Department is too slow in making such amendments. He suggested that the Portfolio Committee must take responsibility and make such amendments. He asked that they make a provision on the programme to discuss this proposal.
Mr F Jacobs (ANC) commented on the issue of access to finance for small businesses. He requested a slot to get National Treasury and the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) to come in and brief the Committee on small businesses access to finance, opening of business accounts, etc. There is an agreement to expedite the legislative framework, but he suggested that rather they work with the Department and Ministry as the Committee is to drive legislative reform for small businesses as opposed to the Minister. He requested a slot in the programme for the legislative task. Many municipalities defied the President's orders regarding lapsed licenses and business registrations, e.g., the City of Cape Town. The Minister addressed the national implementation plan, and Cabinet approved it. He suggested that all of that could be part of the discussions on the programme.
Mr Kruger reiterated the need to solve the Ad Hoc Committee matter. He proposed that, in the next Committee meeting, the content advisor should bring along the proposal of the process to start the Ad Hoc Committee. Lastly, he said that if the agenda needs to be adopted today, it will not be possible because Members need to see the changes before adopting the new programme for the term.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee is bound to adopt the programme before moving on. The staff will review what was proposed by Members, as the programme can be updated now and then. She agreed with Mr Kruger that the content advisors may go to their unit and seniors for consultation so that they can brief the Committee. It is the responsibility of the staff to relook into it so that when the Committee invites other stakeholders, they can account for it.
The programme was duly adopted with amendments and additions.
Briefing by the Department of Small Business Development
The Minister, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, greeted the Committee and everyone present. She also thanked the Committee for granting them the opportunity to present the progress on the work they were mandated to do during the floods. She introduced the delegates from the Department who were accompanying her. She said that she came to present the work that has been done up to this point, the work that is still not done and the reasons thereof.
She said that Members made comments on several issues. However, what caught her attention, were the delays by the Department in addressing the red tape in small businesses, especially the legislative amendments. The Department has already started implementing as much as it is a process. They are also cautious about the timelines, considering the processes that need to be followed in adhering to the legalities of the framework. They appreciate that the Portfolio Committee is also looking for ways to help them assist the country in overcoming these challenges as quickly as possible. It takes 18-24 months minimum to pass legislation, but there is no time. The economy is not doing well, small businesses are closing, and people are losing jobs; this delays the development of the country. They need assistance; hence, they are exploring legal ways on how best they can follow the system on this. They are also considering engaging with the Portfolio Committee to look at the best ways to assist the Department. She assured the Members that the Department would not take long before returning to the Committee because it acknowledges that these red tapes are a hindrance to the success of small businesses. They have also considered establishing ombud offices, for example. Once all this has been achieved, they will come again before the Committee to present.
The Department committed R50 million when they visited the KZN province and Eastern Cape for formal businesses. They also committed R10m for informal businesses. Looking at the number of applications, it was proven that the funds were not sufficient, but that is all they could afford to offer. They turned to National Treasury for help but their application was rejected. However, the Department has submitted again for the unforeseeable expenditure, for which they are awaiting feedback. She requested that the Committee support them in this regard. If it is R165m that they are running short of, it means that small businesses would not be able to open again. They have R50m, but the demand is R225m.
Mr Lindokuhle Mkhumane, Director-General (DG), DSBD, indicated that the Minister already touched on the key issues of the intervention that SEDA is implementing. They worked closely with other departments, given the lessons learned from the previous interventions in ensuring that there is no double-dipping or unethical practice on issues they face. They have worked closely with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Provincial Department of Economic Development to ensure that the interventions they come with are aligned so that there are no incidents where people have received money from them and the IDC. They will continue to monitor the programme closely to save the tax year's money.
Briefing by SEDA
Mr Nkosinathi Mbatha, CEO, Small Enterprises Development Agency (SEDA), reported that, since it is their first time reporting on this matter, he would prefer to provide the background of the presentation first. The Minister and the DG covered a lot, but he would elaborate. The Department, through SEDA, responded to the floods in KZN and Eastern Cape and two schemes were devised.
- 120 applications approved
- Total value of applications approved: R43 937 867,67
- 106 applications returned to provinces for procurement
- Total Jobs supported in approved businesses: 1 306
Reasons for declined applications as follows:
- Items being claimed for could not be verified as existed prior the floods
- Items found in working order – no need to repair or replace
- Fictitious and Inflated amounts on items claimed for
- Items not covered by the scheme, e.g., damage to buildings,
- Items found to be covered by insurance
- Applicants did not meet the qualifying criteria (e.g., they were non-SA citizens, not tax compliant, etc.)
- Both the beneficiaries and suppliers are required to be Tax Compliant. A total of 179 applications were assessed (site visits conducted), 26 Applications declined and 12 applications withdrawn. Another 142 applications were uploaded for National Office approval
KZN: 45 purchase orders have been issued amounting to R12 973 840.38
KZN: 33 payments completed amounting to R 11 040 942.42
EC: four purchase orders have been issued amounting to R1 852 125.50
[See presentation document for more details]
Input of Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)
Mr Siyabonga Msimang, Chief Director: Macro Organisation of the State, DPSA), said the Minister of Public Service and Administration has signed off on the DSBD structure. The deliberation with the Department has therefore paid off.
The Chairperson congratulated the Department and the Minister for their achievement. She also applauded the Minister and the team for the work done in the provinces affected by flood disasters. The Committee is behind them, knowing how difficult it is to assist people with limited resources.
Mr Hendricks acknowledged the work done so far in the provinces affected by the floods and the looting incidents. However, he also complained that the progress is slow due to limited funds. The Department is not monitoring what the many parliamentary constituency officers from different political parties are doing.
The idea was to extend the footprint of SEDA. He was pleased to mention that, at Mpame Village, the Department has delivered a fishing vessel to help the people affected by the floods. Groutville is a town where Chief Albert Luthuli was buried and is a heritage site. They managed to convince the Department to assist with a corporative that would manufacture peanut butter, as they are growing peanuts along the river that caused problems in that town.
On legislative matters, the Democratic Alliance report suggested a Committee Bill which can take up to two years. He commented that a period of two years is too long, and they cannot let the people suffer for that long. Oppression by municipalities must be stopped, especially in Cape Town, which does not allow roadside trading and does not assist informal traders with trading plans – which is unconstitutional. They have written to the Committee that they will take legal advice and are ready to draft a private Member's Bill. He also suggested the Department must join in. the Committee's support is needed to fast-track the plan of a private Member's Bill. In conclusion, he suggested more must be done to assist the victims affected by the floods and looting.
Mr D Mthenjane (EFF) was not convinced with the report presented because he also has a report that speaks of the same floods in KZN and the Eastern Cape. However, there is a lot of contradiction in what was now presented to the Committee. That being the case, he doubted that the report was accurate. What will help the Committee is to request the Department to furnish it with a database of all the businesses whose applications were already approved. This will help Members when they are in their constituencies, as they will be able to do a visual check for themselves to validate the report. He said they have history with government and the Department, whose funds were misused for personal gain, amongst other things. He also mentioned how disturbing it was to sit and listen to the Department mentioning that they have been to KZN and Eastern Cape and never mentioned North West or any of the provinces that were also deeply affected. The Department's excuse was that it received limited funds. North West could have benefited from the funds, too. He also complained that government could not be claiming to be bankrupt when the President of the country is "sleeping on dollars under his mattress at home". The President could be using the money to support these people because he does not have any use for it.
Mr J De Villiers (DA) said that the two key important things to the Committee Members are mainly that help and funding should reach participants. The money should be spent on people that need it and are affected. Looking back at previous programmes, the Department had more stringent rules and regulations on qualification criteria of the grants. An applicant had to prove what was affected, broken and needed to be replaced. Payments were paid directly to the suppliers, who would be responsible for the work. It would be beneficial for the team to put a monitoring tool to make sure that the money goes to the right suppliers. He asked how the Department is protected against the inflation of prices by the suppliers. This would ensure that the relief funds do not go to suppliers who have inflated their prices. How is this programme protected in ensuring that none of the directors or shareholders of the businesses and suppliers that applied are government employees, i.e., SEDA, Small Business Finance Agency (SEFA) or local municipality employees? The money should go to small business owners, not government employees.
Ms B Mathulelwa (EFF) expressed her disappointment with the report presented by the Department. She argued that it could not be right to use a 'first-come-first-served' approach in a disaster situation. It cannot be business as usual; government must visit the people in despair and not use the application criteria to assist them. The Department was never bothered to do oversight visits after the disaster. She claimed that the Department is non-existent. She complained that they mentioned helping people in other provinces but not Matatiele. None of the people affected there were considered. President Ramaphosa has monies hidden under his mattress during this difficult time of flood disasters. The Department claims that there is no money to assist people.
She also seconded Mr Mthenjane that the Committee must be provided with a detailed report. If the Department is failing to do oversight, the people who received funding must be invited to Parliament to confirm the monies received.
Mr B Luthuli (IFP) commented on the issue of double-dipping and said that the Department should ensure that it does not happen. They should be careful not to be manipulated by the system, where one company would provide different services. This will cause government to pay one company more money.
Mr F Jacobs (ANC) praised the Minister and her staff for the work done under difficult circumstances. He said that the response by government was commendable. However, he also reiterated that the Department must consider providing the Committee with the breakdown of the applications from the informal traders, which were received and approved in May 2022.
He further requested if SEDA could update the Committee on progress to date, regarding July/August applications from the informal traders. What assistance did SEDA give to informal traders in the North West? If only 32 applications were declined, what happened to the other 100 applications that were completed? Are they still being processed, or were they approved but not funded? In SEDA's own assessment, how great have its business support initiatives been since the floods?
Government reportedly provided R50m in relief funds to informal traders. It was reported that only 37% of this amount was approved. So, out of that amount, how much has been disbursed to businesses to date? What is the current value of underspending, and what are the plans for unspent funds?
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams acknowledged the Members' inputs and questions of clarity regarding the topic of discussion. She said that the crisis and the challenges they faced are that these processes are not theirs as the Department, but their processes of Parliament, defined within the law. The Department cannot be found in breach of those.
Looking at other measures that Parliament has introduced in legislative amendments or developments: they are exploring them to determine which legislative framework is best to use. As the Department went around the country, visiting rural areas to meet both formal and informal businesses, they discovered that people suffer from unemployment. She said they found themselves in this crisis as government and Parliament because they had not followed up or implemented what was in the development plan. Perhaps these stringent processes should be reviewed by Parliament if time still permits since it takes 24 months to pass the legislation.
What is the impact of the delays, as they have stipulated all the processes? Now that they are in the digital era, they need to figure out how best to utilise those to ensure that, by the time the Bill is developed, it is still relevant. It takes too long to pass the Bill. By the time they try to address the challenge, there is already another new challenge but the first challenge is still not addressed. She said she is speaking as a Member of Parliament that there might be a need for change, which can be proposed by the Committee, seeing the impact of the delays in the process outlined in developing legislation. The Department is exploring options of coming to the Committee to propose this Bill be a Committee Bill.
She reported that the Department would not have time to do oversight; that is the responsibility of Parliament, not government. However, they work with the constituency offices in all that they do as government. They are an extension of Parliament, which is the public's representation. The work that they do responds to what the public needs. Hence, everywhere the Department went, they had to notify the Portfolio Committee, inviting Members to join them and extend a hand to the constituency offices around. They will not find time to go and monitor what the constituency offices are doing. However, they welcome any collaboration from Members if they have programmes. The Department wants to partner with the Members in the duties clearly tabulated in the presentation, which they will perform in that area.
The Minister mentioned the challenge of lack of funding, making it more difficult to shift and do things outside the framework. The Department does not want to breach the frameworks that both government and Parliament have approved.
She replied to the Members and said that she is unfortunately not apologetic about the Department's work and processes. If Members claim that there is a report that contradicts what the Department is reporting, they should substantiate that claim with facts. If any of the Members feel that the Department came to mislead Parliament, which is an offence on its own, they must provide that report and lay charges. What is being presented is what the Department has received, communicated, done, or planned. They will investigate, providing Parliament with the number of applications received, approved, disbursed and not disbursed. They will, however, have to write to the public first and notify them about the processes. They will ensure that this information is in capable hands and not misused for any reason other than what it will be presented for, as per their request.
She explained that the first flood outbreak was in KZN, followed by Eastern Cape. The commitments of the funds were made when they were still in KZN, looking into their affordability. It was still unforeseen that Eastern Cape and North West would experience the same thing. It would be irresponsible of the Department when they have already received applications for funding. They are not able to continue inviting more applicants; they would be creating an expectation. Hence, they are referring people to SEDA offices in their local areas. Informal businesses are referred to LED offices. These processes have to take time to avoid double-dipping. The Department ensures that those attended to are not the same people attended to by the National Empowerment Fund (NEF). In total, with small businesses, they have committed R100m, of which R50m came from the Department and another R50m from the NEF.
She claimed that they continued to check where there was damage in the affected areas. They may not see the Minister physically visiting the North West. However, their officials visited the North West.
The Minister agreed that it is important they ensure prices are not inflated. The Ministry made it clear in the beginning that such behaviours would have serious consequences. She did not elaborate much on it, as it was more of an administrative question. She also agreed that it is important to check ownership because one person can register five companies under their name and apply in different SEDA offices. There is a need for an integrated system that lists all small businesses and cooperatives linked to the departments where the work has been done.
She was not pleased with Members blaming the Department for not going to the people. She said that is the area the Members should give them credit on. They have been on the ground, and that is how they visited the areas in question. They did not go to Matatiele because, when they reached out to the mayor there intending to help, they were told that no small businesses were affected. For this reason, there was no need for the Department to go to Matatiele. This was until they realised that farmers were also classified under small businesses.
The principle of 'first-come-first-served' cannot be controlled, but that does not mean that those who applied late will not be attended to. The process used is the same for everyone. Every application is reviewed and processed as it comes.
She noted that Members had claimed that they had been requesting reports from the Department but they have not been forthcoming. She requested that they specify which reports those are. According to the Department's records, it has provided everything that the Portfolio Committee requested.
She disagreed with Members who said the Department is not helpful to the community. She insisted they are very helpful and reach out to people. They might not be reaching everyone due to oversight, but there are good stories told by their beneficiaries who appreciate their good service.
The Minister spoke firmly on the President's matter that involved money under his mattress, raised by Members. She said that President Cyril Ramophosa stated publicly that there was no basis for criminal conduct that was raised against him. The President had further committed himself that he stood ready to cooperate with law enforcement and any other investigation on this matter. She said the allegations against the President are very serious, which is why they have called for them to be thoroughly investigated without fear or favour. Everyone must allow the due legal process to take its course without any interference. Members should respect the Constitution of this country and abide by it, as it was adopted in the country, and all the Members of Parliament are presiding over it. They are all given an opportunity to campaign and express their commitments and promises to the people of South Africa. They may be calling for the Department to close, but the governing party's manifesto stipulates that they are committed to changing the plight of the people. One of the instruments they use is ensuring that they support small businesses so they can create jobs. This commitment they have made to South Africans has driven scores of people to keep voting for the party. If any person has a problem with that, they must wait until their time arrives and they can restructure government in a manner that suits them.
She was interrupted by Ms Mathulelwa, who reprimanded her and said she was out of order to speak like that.
The Chairperson intervened and called Ms Mathulelwa to order. She asked her to allow the Minister to finish talking without any interruptions. She added that if there is anything Ms Mathulelwa would like to say, she will be given a chance afterwards.
The Minister said that as a government official, she does not carry a brief to beg individuals for funds to do government work. Members who feel that this is unconstitutional may feel free to lay charges. However, it is unconstitutional that a Portfolio Committee, established by Parliament – which provides oversight and has a responsibility to reduce any possibility of corruption tendencies – to reach out to individuals for funding to carry out government mandates.
She agreed that they need to put measures in place to prevent double dipping. On the same note, the R50m provided was insufficient, but that is all they could afford, considering that it was money from the budget allocated for other responsibilities. The Department had to make provision for this incident, as it was an emergency. They have mentioned previously that they reached out to National Treasury for help but their application was declined. However, they have resubmitted again and still waiting for the outcome.
They have a valid reason and commitment to intervene genuinely in SMMEs' growth and development. They decided to separate the Department of Small Business Development from the Department of Trade Industry and Competition after observing that less attention was given to small businesses. They have stipulated in the National Development Plan that, by 2030, South Africa must create 11 million jobs, and nine million must come from small businesses. President Ramophosa had said that there is a need for National Treasury to allocate big monies for this portfolio. She said the Department just had its structure approved. They are working on the implementation plan and working with other stakeholders to present a case, knowing that if they get an increase to support small businesses, it will be money that will be spent on small businesses and not go back to National Treasury unspent. This requires them to collaborate and ensure they build capability to spend these funds. This means the SMMEs and cooperatives must be market-ready and supported in business development. They should be careful not to dish out money and have nothing to show for it after some years.
She thanked the Chairperson for their intervention in support of the Department in administration. They are happy with their structure which has been approved, waiting to be advertised. The DG and his team are working on a plan to put things in place.
Mr Mbatha (SEDA CFO) reported that 120 applications had been approved to date, amounting to R44 million. Out of 120 applications, up to 106, at the time of the report, had been sent back to the provinces to begin the procurement process. About 26 applications were declined, and 12 were withdrawn. However, it does not mean the rest were not processed. They communicated with some of the applicants to resubmit so they do not decline people due to lack of required documents. Some of the declines were caused by price inflations. The Department did site visits to verify the equipment prices and ensure that things were done properly. Once one is caught in action with such, they are not allowed to resubmit their application. It would be declined immediately because they are not to be trusted with government money.
They have gone to the Ad Hoc Committee [on floods] with R33.5m of approvals. However, at the time of the report, they had R44m, which shows progress since the Ad Hoc Committee meeting. An amount of R10m was added, and between Friday and the day of the meeting, more funds could be added as well. This shows that there will be no under-spending; the R50m will be used up. The only problem will be some applications that will not be catered for due to lack of funds. SEDA is still hoping for more funds from National Treasury to continue distributing funds as prescribed. The two incidents, of COVID-19 and looting, have emphasised the need for the support of small businesses. He complained about the SEDA budget being reduced over the years and not increasing. Their capability to assist small businesses has also been reduced due to limited budget. They are calling for an increase in their budget to assist in developing small businesses.
They only opened for formal businesses in April and closed in May 2022. The informal business was only opened in July, closing in a week to start adjudication. They committed to starting adjudication by next week and disbursing funds for approved applications. SEDA works closely with the municipality, and the process has been lengthy to ensure that all stakeholders are represented. The municipality works closely with the informal traders to ensure that all small businesses in their database are assisted. During their committee meeting, they will give a further report in September on how much they have spent.
Mr Mthenjane noted that the Minister reported that the Department declined other applications because they did not meet their criteria. For example, buildings are not included in the funding, so the DSBD does not assist with buildings and structural issues. If, indeed, the Department claims to be helping people and to have their best interest at heart, what measures were taken with the insurance companies, knowing that insurance companies are a pain during the process of claiming? Seeing that this was a natural disaster that happened and was witnessed by everyone, what did the Department do to consult on behalf of the people, and push the insurance companies to speed up the process? Why did the Department not request the insurance to give the people temporary shelter while waiting for their insurance monies?
He commented that the Minister seemed to have appointed herself as the President's spokesperson. He advised her that, in future appearances before the Portfolio Committee, she must not act as the President's spokesperson but rather speak on behalf of the Department. She cannot tell the Members that no one knows what happened and thorough investigations are done. How do they investigate someone who was caught in action? The President was caught with United States dollars. How do they investigate such an obvious fact? He pleaded with the Chairperson to advise the Minister that, the next time she appears before the Committee, she must stick solely to the issues of the Department. She must not become the spokesperson of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
She responded that the Department’s mandate does not allow them to get involved with insurance companies. However, where small businesses are victimised, the Department gets involved. It works with the provincial and local spheres to assist small businesses affected by the floods. She made it clear that this is what they can account for, but not insurance.
She also asked the Chairperson to allow her to clarify and apologise to the Members if they believed that when she explained the implications of what was said on the platform meant she was appointing herself as the President's spokesperson.
She responded on the work they are doing as the Department. In their own articulation, the Members said that they do not understand why the Department does not have funds to support small businesses, and they cited that the Department approaches the President to assist with funds. She explained their role as the Department and values they must carry out in the process. They cannot go to individuals and borrow or ask for money to do government's work. These are the most important things. As public representatives, they need to clarify and be exemplary in both articulation and expression. She said that she understands politics and has decided to separate the two, notwithstanding the implications of such. She commented humorously that she would not make a bad spokesperson.
The Minister requested the Chairperson to release the Department before moving to the next item.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister and the team for the work they have done. She encouraged them to continue until they achieved desired results.
Minutes of the previous meeting were considered and adopted by the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for attending the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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