NEWS RELEASE FROM THE AHI: payment of government suppliers within 30 days

22 August 2017

The AHI notes the comments by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe that timing for payments by government to suppliers is improving. (Click here to read the ministry’s press release.)

Earlier this year AHI President Bernard Swanepoel initiated a campaign targeting both big businesses and government challenging them to pay invoices on time.

“Nothing cripples cash flow for a small business more than late payments,” said Swanepoel. “SMEs are the country’s best hope for job creation, yet their inability to anticipate revenue means not only that businesses are not hiring, but they are downsizing, and, sadly some has to close their doors.”

He said in some instances, businesses are moving to technology or mechanisation to replace what could be labour-intensive small industries.

If the number of suppliers has remained constant over the past year, the statistics cited by Minister Radebe show that progress at the provincial level should be celebrated, though with outstanding and unpaid invoices standing at some R5.3 billion, there is much room for improvement.

At the national level, the number of invoices taking more than 30 days to pay is roughly equivalent to those paid on time.

“This is still unacceptable,” said AHI CEO Dr Ernest Messina.

Messina echoed the minister saying that AHI members and other small and medium enterprises should ensure that invoices are valid, issued with appointment letters, purchase orders and other documents.

“By submitting all required information at the time of invoicing, SMEs will have a better chance of prompt payments, but while government contracts are tempting, SMEs should seek to diversify their revenue streams.”

The AHi is the Big Voice for Small Business. As the national organisation of small business chambers for over 75 years, our members reside in the largest metros and the smallest rural towns; we speak for thousands of businesses.


For further information contact:

Bernard Swanepoel, AHI President, on 083 303 9922

Ernest Messina, AHI CEO, on 083 571 1795