National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill on track

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11 May 2021

The small business development department plans to finalise amendments to the National Small Enterprise Act via the Draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill in 2021/22.

The department revealed this during a briefing in parliament on its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan.

The department added that the finalisation of the draft bill forms part of the key priority to create an enabling environment for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) and Co-operatives in which to operate.

The draft bill was published for comment in Government Gazette 43981 in December 2020.

In a briefing in parliament towards the end of last year on its 2019/20 annual report, the department confirmed that proposed amendments to the National Small Business Act were finalised during 2019/20.

The department added that the finalisation of the proposed amendments paves a critical path to the establishment of the Ombud Service.

The finalisation also allowed the Executive Authority to draw up a draft bill for tabling in cabinet.

The department confirmed that a cabinet memorandum has been submitted to the small business development minister on the consolidated proposed amendments contained in the draft bill.

The department also announced that the position paper on Alternate Dispute Resolution has been finalised.

The draft bill aims to amend the National Small Enterprise Act, 1996, so as to:

  • insert certain definitions and to substitute a definition;
  • provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the Office of Small Enterprise Ombud Service;
  • empower the Minister to declare certain practices in relation to small enterprises to be prohibited unfair business practices; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

A new Chapter 3A on dispute resolution mechanism is proposed focused on the Office of the Small Enterprise Ombud Service.

Included is the setting up of the Office; appointment of Ombud and Deputy Ombud; powers and functions of Ombud; receipt of complaints, prescription, jurisdiction and investigation; determinations by Ombud; staff of office; delegation by Ombud, Deputy Ombud and Director; funding of office; accountability; disestablishment and liquidation of Office; rules applicable to Ombud; record-keeping; annual report of Ombud and unfair trading practices.

In the latest briefing, the department added that other steps in the pipeline to create an enabling environment include providing for a simple and enabling framework for application of licensing of business by setting national norms and standards through the amendment of the Businesses Act and implementing the SMMEs and Co-operatives Funding Policy to ensure improved access to affordable finance for SMMEs and Co-operatives.

Other priorities include implementing the Localisation Policy Framework and Implementation Programme for SMMEs and Co-operatives and continuing to implement the Small Enterprise Manufacturing Programme.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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