The Small Business Development Department’ 2014/15 Annual Report reveals that Lindiwe Zulu’s newly formed ministry has failed dismally in fulfilling its mandate by missing every single one of its performance targets for the year.
Amid a crippling national unemployment crisis, the department was set up to support the small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) sector in creating new jobs and to “lead an integrated approach to the promotion and development of Small Businesses and Co-operatives through a focus on the economic and legislative drivers that stimulate entrepreneurship to contribute to radical economic transformation”.
The Department set a measly four Output targets for its first year of existence, of which it could not achieve one. Ha ha, we laugh, but not those who are looking for job. To them, this is a tragedy.
Toby Chance, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Small Business Development says while this is truly shocking and is “indicative of the ANC government’s failure to address South Africa’s jobs crisis, it comes as no surprise as this department is still hamstrung by its ‘caretaker, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)”.
He says the Annual Report was, in fact, extracted from the DTI’s Annual Report, as the Department was only proclaimed in July 2014 so its functions fell within those of the DTI for the 2014/15 financial year.
Small business’s comparative irrelevance to the DTI is plain for all to see, by the fact that its report of over 200 pages contains only 1 (page 78) devoted to the Department of Small Business Development.
Meanwhile, South Africa continues to slip in the Global Enterpreneurship Monitor’s rankings of total entrepreneurial activity compared to our sub-Saharan neighbours. Until this trend is reversed, through an unrelenting focus on mentorship and training, reducing the cost of doing business, unblocking obstacles to accessing finance and markets, instilling an entrepreneurial culture in our youth, South Africa’s economic performance will continue to disappoint and growth will stick below 2%
The DA says “it is possible to ensure that more South Africans are afforded the opportunity to start and grow their own businesses, and in turn create jobs for the millions of South Africans who cannot find work.
“South Africans cannot afford a Department of Small Business Development which fails to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. Tackling our unemployment crisis depends on it. Minister Zulu must waste no time in ensuring that her ministry is fully capacitated and fully independent.”