Deputy Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela has admitted that government’s procurement policies are hindering black business.
Bapela, speaking at a Black Business Council round table event in Sandton this week, said government had procurement policies that made it difficult for black businesses to grow, and thus blocked them from “graduating” from being small businesses and subcontractors to becoming larger companies.
“How our policies are designed is disadvantageous. Small must never remain small; small must grow at some point and the policies must be enabling,” he said.
He also said that some tenders were designed in a way that made them clearly unavailable to black business.
Among the grievances voiced during the session were the lengthy delays in issuing tenders; the lack of support for black businesses that aimed to fall into a higher turnover bracket; and municipalities’ failure to adhere to the 30-day payment period, which Bapela said would be countered by an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act.
He also pointed out that local government seemed to be failing to implement the 30-day payment policy, and said the envisaged amendment to the act would face problems as officials would challenge it using state funds.
“They [the officials] gladly welcome you taking them to court because they know they are not spending their money, and you are using your own money,” Bapela said.
Black Business Council in the Built Environment secretary-general Greg Mofokeng said local economic development offices in local municipalities had become a dumping ground for people who knew nothing about business.