JOHANNESBURG – Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Rob Davies says that the initial response to the Business Licensing Bill is that it will create more red tape, however its intent is not to hinder the running of businesses. The dti is taking another look at the existing regulations as it looks to tweak the draft bill.
Speaking at the launch of the Guidelines for Reducing Municipal Red Tape on Wednesday, Davies said that the bill is currently being tweaked and that the department is in conversation with business representative organisations in order to get a shared response. The bill is meant to target and respond to illicit trading, trading in sub-standard goods as well as to level out uncompetitive behaviour from selling cheaper illegitimate business.
The bill is also meant to act will act as an instrument to register and keep track of businesses. Davies said that townships are particularly affected by illegal trade and that government is struggling to root this out because the churn is so high. Traders are stopped from doing business today but then they are back again, the bill is meant to target these trade issues, Davies says.
Davies also says that the ease of doing business in South Africa had improved based on the World Bank 2013 rankings which indicated that South Africa had moved from position 41 in 2012 to 39 in 2013. Davies said that other legislation such as the Companies Act and the changes being introduced through the B-BBEE codes would assist in bringing down private sector red tape as well. Small businesses supplying larger corporates will no longer be required to submit BEE verification certificates; instead that can present an affidavit which will not cost them anything.
The bill replaces the Business Act of 1991 the bill as it stands requires all businesses to register with their municipality and apply for an operating license. Davies adds that various advisory parties are currently being consulted.