South African SME's - regardless of your political affiliation, support Toby Chance to push through a Bill for the introduction of an SME Ombudsman. Mail your comments to the Speaker of the National Assembly at bmbete@parliament.gov.za Mr Alex Tarr at alext@da.org.za or Mr Louw Nel at louwn@da.org.za Mr Toby Chance toby@tobychance.com

Please pass this on to the SME community and lets get it done.

In accordance with section 73(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, notice is given that Mr Toby Chance, MP intends to introduce the Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill, 2018 in Parliament during the second/third quarter of 2018. An explanatory summary of the Bill is hereby published in accordance with Rule 276(1) (c) of the Rules of the National Assembly (9th Edition).

Small, medium, and micro enterprises and co-operatives (SMMEs) comprise a large portion of the South African economy. These smaller companies, ranging from street hawkers to small factories, are the heartbeat of our economy and can be considered as the most accessible sector for entrepreneurs and those seeking to establish their product, brand or business. It is estimated that SMMEs generate up to half of gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 60% of employment in SA. 90% of all new jobs are expected to be created by SMMEs by 2030, according to the National Development Plan. With more than 9.3 million people unemployed, supporting these SMMEs is critical.

Every effort must be made to ensure that SMEs are given the backing and financial support they require in order to thrive and prosper. One of the key components in this regard is ensuring that SMMEs are paid swiftly and timeously. Without cash flow, SMMEs will struggle and eventually collapse. Furthermore, the current environment in which SMMEs operate is not conducive to the speedy resolution of disputes. SMMEs may not have the necessary financial and human resources infrastructure to sustain the protracted resolution of a dispute.

The draft Bill will provides :
- The establishment of the Small Enterprises Ombud Service (Ombud Service) as a juristic person;
- The functions, mandate, staff and funding of the Ombud Service;
- The establishment of a Board to the Ombud Service, the appointment of its members, its functions and internal operations.
- Application processes for the settling of disputes where one party is an SMME, which disputes include matters pertaining to the interpretation of service agreements and late- or non-payment of amounts owed and payable;
- The process to resolve disputes and matters related thereto;
- The orders that an adjudicator will be entitled to make upon due consideration of a matter and the right to appeal an adjudicator’s order to the High Court on a question of law; and,
- Public access to information concerning orders having been granted against a person in terms of this Bill.

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