SA business growth choked by rules and red tape

Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Indust...

OVERREGULATION and red tape are the biggest constraints to business expansion in SA, according to a survey by accounting, audit and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

The survey was based on the views of CEOs, chairmen and business owners in the fourth quarter of last year.Red tape was now as pervasive a problem in SA as in other Brics Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA countries, Grant Thornton Durban managing partner Deepak Nagar said yesterday.

The survey found 37% of privately held business owners in SA cited red tape as their chief constraint, followed by a lack of a skilled workforce, at 36%.

Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Andrew Layman said the results were “spot on” and SA’s regulatory environment, for small businesses in particular, needed to be reviewed.

The increasing complexity of regulations such as additional tax or governance requirements, labour issues, black economic empowerment, the time taken to register companies or change directors’ names was stunting the growth of business, Mr Layman said.

The second-biggest constraint to business globally was reduced demand for products — the effect of economic problems in the US and Europe. In SA, the second-biggest constraint to business was a shortage of skilled staff, said Mr Nagar.

Keith Brebnor, CE of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it had become “very intimidating” for young people to start a small business in SA because of the onerous regulatory environment. Dealing with crime and a lack of skills also added significantly to the cost of doing business in SA, he said.

via BusinessDay – SA business growth ‘choked by rules and red tape’

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School-leavers would gain more employment if SA labour law was amended

Labour law concerns the inequality of bargaini...

Businesses have long been calling for amendments to the labour legislation to assist in the recruitment and dismissal of workers. According to Johan Botes, Director in Employment at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr business law firm, a critical re-think of South African employment law might  assist in motivating especially small businesses to reconsider their reluctance in employing inexperienced job applicants.“Presently, employees who are incapable of performing can only be dismissed from employment after the employer had determined that 1 the employee failed to meet the required work standard, 2 the employee was aware of the standard, 3 the employee was afforded sufficient opportunity to meet the standard and 4 dismissal is the appropriate sanction. This process is not always clearly understood by employers frustrated by an employee that is clearly not able to do the work,” Botes explains.According to a labour survey conducted by the Institute of Race Relations, fifty-one percent of South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed.The legislature brought some relief to employers in 2002 when introducing a lower threshold against which employers are tested should they dismiss a probationary employee for poor performance Schedule 8, Item 8 to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995.Botes notes that if the intention is truly to get businesses to act as institutions of learning, where on-the-job training is provided to workers fresh from school, university or colleges, a relaxation of the strict rules against dismissal for poor performance for first-time job seekers may be the way to go.“Employers are often reluctant to grow their business where such growth requires the hiring of new staff. One of the reasons for this is that it is difficult for the average employer to dismiss staff who is thought to be capable of doing the work required, but could then not come to grips with the work once employed.“If employers are able to readily terminate the service of new recruits who lack the necessary experience, they may be more inclined to give such youngsters a chance in the first place.Botes thinks that employers and needy job seekers may both be pleasantly surprised by the results.“If an employer knows that it can terminate the services of a new job-seeker at will or whilst being tested against for reasons that are automatically unfair only, the employer may decide to provide employment to a larger group of staff than those actually required, knowing that it can retain the best of them after a short trial period.“While the rest of the workers who were not the best at the tasks may then fail to remain employed with the same employer, they would have gained invaluable experience which may assist them greatly in obtaining further employment. The difficulty in getting that into the employment market presents a huge obstacle to our goals of meaningfully reducing unemployment.”He adds, “The current high hurdles laying in the path of employers before being able to dismiss employees for incapacity due to poor performance has not incentivised employers to become institutions of on-the-job training. A different approach is needed if business is expected to actively assist in addressing our skills shortage.”

via School-leavers would gain more employment if SA labour law was amended –  | Political Analysis South Africa.

Dice loaded against black women in business

A dentist by profession, she started her business supplying medical equipment to state hospitals nine years ago.

In spite of her impressive professional qualifications – a Medical University of SA dentistry degree, an honours degree from Stellenbosch University and a masters from the University of Pretoria – she battled to find a bank or institution willing to consider her business plan, never mind give her a loan.

Even state funding entities set up to advise and finance small and medium enterprise start-ups were not interested, she says.

“Culturally, you’ve got problems.

“In Africa, the woman is regarded as someone who has to take care of her family full time and nothing else.

“And banks do not believe in funding entrepreneurs who are female.

“When you go to the banks, they do not believe you are capable of doing it.

“Men are the only people who can succeed in running a business.

“We are supposed to be employed or in the kitchen.

“When you come with a business plan to a bank they resist, they don’t believe it will succeed.”

Eventually a bank agreed to give her a R30000 overdraft.

“They were better than other banks which rejected me altogether. They didn’t even want to hear my story.”

Mzizana is outraged that institutions the government started with the express purpose of financing small businesses, and which are forever trumpeting their achievements in this area, showed her the door as quickly as any of the commercial banks.

“These are organisations that claim to be helping women’s businesses. They are actually not doing that at all.

“That’s why there are no women businesses that are successful. They open and within one year they’ve closed down.

“If you keep going for five years you’ve done very well as a woman.”

via Dice loaded against black women in business – Business LIVE.

Jobless rate hits 25,7% – labour recession

SA’s unemployment rate climbed to 25,7% in the second quarter — its highest in seven years — as an influx of job seekers into the labour market surpassed job creation.

Analysts were shocked at the news from Statistics SA yesterday, which showed the jobless rate leaping sharply from 25% in the first quarter.

Overall, the number of employed people rose by 7000 in the second quarter — a far cry from the number needed to reach the government’s goal of creating 5-million new jobs by 2020.

“We are still in a labour recession,” T-Sec economist Mike Schussler said yesterday. “The economy might be growing but it’s not creating jobs.”

via BusinessDay – Jobless rate hits 25,7% as ‘labour recession’ grips SA

Walmart deal will cause job loss

Government opposed the merger between Walmart and Massmart because it would lead to job losses and a flood of cheap imports which would destroy small businesses and undermine industrial development, director general of the economic development department Richard Levin told MPs this afternoon.

Three government departments lodged an appeal against the merger with the Competition Appeal Court on Wednesday and Mr Levin outlined the reasons for the surprise move during a briefing to Parliaments economic development portfolio committee. The committee is holding public hearings into the merger.

Mr Levin told the committee that the departments of economic development, trade and industry and agriculture believed the merger would undermine governments objectives to increase employment, considering that SA – with an official unemployment rate of 25% – was ranked among the ten countries in the world with the lowest level of employment. Job creation was a key government priority and a key objective of its industrial policy action plan.

via BusinessDay – Walmart deal will cause job loss – government

BEE and job creation cannot coexist

I’ve just read a piece about the new EDF (Enterprise Development Fund) that will be rolled out under the NEF’s control.

The thing is, yet again, the BEE drum is the one that’s beating the loudest. Essentially, black-owned and managed businesses will be the only ones eligible for this funding.

The way I see it, you can have one or the other. Either you’re committed to job creation, OR you are committed to BEE.

In case you’re wondering why, let me explain.

If job creation is a priority, then any business with a viable plan, that has the potential to create jobs, for anyone in the country, should be a priority. It doesn’t matter, as far as I know, what race the person who is doing the hiring is – it’s the job, and the salary, that matters.

On the other hand, if it’s BEE that is a priority, then government is essentially saying that they don’t care if anyone else can create jobs, because it’s not the jobs themselves that are important, but getting the right colour bums in the managing seats.

Given our huge unemployment problem, it seems like folly to be restricting any enterprise, with the potential of creating jobs, from accessing the assistance they need to do so. I might be wrong, but if a white person can create 10 or 20 jobs, for example, with their business idea, are the jobs not more important than the colour of the entrepreneur?

Our government needs to give us all a straight answer on the BEE / job creation dilemma. Are they more interesting in maintaining the tenderpreneur mentality, or are they interested in real economic reform.

If it’s the former, then it’s business as usual I suppose. However, if it’s the latter, then the policies surrounding small business development definitely need an urgent rethink.

We are an emerging economy. We are a nation crippled by unemployment.

Maybe it’s time that those became the driving factors in policy with regards to business development, rather than the current one, which seems to be: if you’re not black, we don’t want your jobs.

via BEE & job creation cannot coexist: News24: MyNews24: Your Story

Employment in South Africa

According to the report only 41% of South Africans aged 16 to 64 have any kind of a job, while in China the figure is 70% and in high-growth developing nations like Indonesia and Brazil is around 65%.

The research behind the report found that South Africa’s stringent labour market regulations made it expensive to employ people and that mostly skilled and experienced people were employed. Thus the country is sinking deeper into unemployment. The report calls for allowing young, unskilled and inexperienced people to be employed at lower wages, something current labour legislation prohibits, while labour costs were driving up unemployment.

And, Richard Pike, CEO of one of South Africa’s biggest employment services groups, Adcorp, says militant trade union activism is one of the major contributing factors to South Africa’s high unemployment rates. He also defended the contract employment of 3.9 million workers, saying rising contract employment was not unique to South Africa.

via Labour watch