Although recent political developments have led to renewed optimism about the South African economy, changes are needed to ensure that the small business enterprise (SME) sector flourishes.

Independent private sector development and research company SBP project manager Brendon Darrol said at SBi’s SME Indaba, in Johannesburg, that the efficient and effective governance of the local environment mattered greatly to small businesses, communities and individuals that are engaged in economic activity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa reignited the Batho Pele concept during his maiden State of the Nation Address last month, and Darrol explained that the concept, which centres around the delivery of services to people in an empathetic manner, stretches to accountable governance of small businesses and the governance of the country in general.

“These emerging messages do give us the sense of hope that there will be changes, if we adopt and really believe in these principles.”

He added that a lack of service delivery and allegations of State capture, whether at national, provincial or municipal level had eroded the trust of society.

Darrol stated that, besides small businesses “not being seen or heard”, the sector also had to deal with policy, legislation and regulatory challenges.

“We’re sitting with a policy, legislation and regulatory environment that is so complex that even government is battling to identify its own internal bureaucracy,” he said.

“It’s been easy to debate and negotiate between big businesses, labour and institutions, but sometimes the voices of small businesses get lost, which are some of the most important in the regulatory, legislative and policy environment.”

Therefore, he said, government had to rethink small business having a voice in the policy debate.

“What government has not quite acknowledged is that small businesses have a voice; even within the policy, legislative and regulatory debate.”

Organisations such as SBi, he added, ensure that the voice of small businesses is heard properly and assists in providing baselines for larger businesses and government to understand what is happening in the small business sector.

* We do not necessarily endorse the political views of this article, but we are pleased to see our work gaining traction.

by Creamer media: Engineering news –

Simone Liedtke