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Residents call for the regulation of tuckshops

Free State residents who attended public hearings on the National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill have called for the regulation of tuckshops owned by foreign nationals.

In their submissions to a parliamentary delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development that visited Parys in the Fezile Dabi District Municipality, the locals claimed foreign nationals who operated spazas in their communities did not pay tax and also sold alcohol without a licence.

Residents attending the public hearings also reported that they have problems accessing funding for small businesses, particularly for women-owned companies.

They appealed for the Bill to make provision for women-owned small, medium and micro enterprises, saying that male-owned businesses thrive while women do not receive the support they need.

The residents also highlighted their lack of access to farming land and business premises as a barrier to the expansion of their businesses in the area.

Outlining the purpose of the public hearings, the leader of the delegation, Faiez Jacobs, told participants that the Bill seeks, among other things, to integrate the Small Enterprise Development Agency, the Co-operative Banks Development Agency and the Small Enterprise Financing Agency into the Small Enterprise Development Finance Agency.

He said the merger will create a one-stop shop for all services to ensure small businesses receive full support.

The Bill also sets out to establish a small business Enterprise ombudsman service.

“The ombud will be a champion for small businesses, ensuring fair trade practices and the rights to transact freely,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs called on the residents to express their views on the Bill, telling them they were free to support or reject it.

“It is important that we listen to your inputs and your concerns as well as your challenges on what it is that we need to do differently for small business development, as part of strengthening this Bill,” he said.

“Parliament is a Parliament of the people and by the people, so we are obliged to ensure that there is full public involvement in the work of Parliament,” he added. – Staff Reporter

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