There’s still too much red tape hindering business in SA, say MPs
The trade, industry and competition department on Tuesday briefed parliament on its initiative to reduce red tape and make doing business in SA easier.
In his state of the nation address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa said business leader Sipho Nkosi would be leading a team in the presidency to reduce red tape in government regulations. However, it is not clear what steps have been taken to achieve this.
Head of Invest SA Yunus Hoosen told MPs that in response to Ramaphosa’s announcement in July of a set of interventions to end load-shedding and achieve energy security, the department was participating in a legal and regulatory work stream to establish and support work led by the presidency through a one-stop approach.
Invest SA is the investment promotion agency of the department.
“This will enable the fast-tracking of projects and reduce regulatory red tape. It will also enable other features such as tracking uptake and monitoring project process,” he said.
Hoosen said there was a meeting on Tuesday to discuss this and how the presidency can be assisted with facilities and expertise. He said Invest SA is working closely with the presidency to make it easy to do business in SA.
“From our side, more can be done quicker and better. The one-stop shop is an investor centre. We are working with provinces like KZN to roll out into districts.”
The one-stop shops have been launched in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng.
MPs were not pleased with the presentation, saying there was a duplication of the task team responsible for reducing the red tape in the presidency.
ACDP MP Wayne Thring said the process of reducing red tape was slow — a sentiment shared by his DA colleague Dean Macpherson, who said that this had resulted in the president taking the responsibility of red tape reduction away from the department.
“In 2019 the president made a song and dance in his state of the nation [speech] about advancing the ease of doing business report from the World Bank ... All of the discussion, pomp and chest beating,” Macpherson said.
“I am not buying the presentation that has been put before us, it’s just smoke and mirrors. I don’t know what this department is doing because there is little to show for it ... Even the president knows that the department has not achieved anything.”
He accused the department of using red tape as a barrier for investment: “That’s why the president has had to intervene. We must call out those officials for their unwillingness to get the job done.”
Another MP, Zolile Burns-Ncamashe, welcomed the report, saying it sought to integrate and co-ordinate all the work of different stakeholders, which will make it easy to do business in SA.
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