The slow payment to suppliers of the Eastern Cape government continues to silently kill small businesses.
Despite all interventions, the province is still struggling to make payments on time. Although some improvement has been made, it is simply not good enough.
In the reply to a legislature question that I asked the former MEC of Finance, Sakhumzi Somyo, in April 2018, a total of 5 503 businesses in the Eastern Cape were owed to over R311 million in excess of 30 days as at the end of December 2018.
Compared to the response given to a question in August 2017, where 7 269 suppliers were owed money to the value of R466-million, it just proves that the current ANC government does not prioritise timeously paying their suppliers and affording them the opportunity to keep their businesses afloat.
This is not sufficient to curb the 35.6% unemployment rate that the Eastern Cape is experiencing. The expanded rate of unemployment – people who have given up on looking for a job – is at a staggering 46%. It is not acceptable that, at a time when unemployment is at an all-time high and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to an underperforming economy, the government fails to pay these businesses within the 30-day window period.
The Department of Health continues to show clear signs of general mismanagement and maladministration as it struggles to pay its suppliers with the fact that out of the total of 5 503 suppliers still owed in excess of 30 days, 3 476 of those suppliers fall under the Department of Health. Not much has been done in the four months to prove otherwise.
A governing Democratic Alliance will ensure and commit to paying all suppliers in a timeous manner to ensure that small businesses thrive.
The Democratic Alliance will strive to fight for the growth of the Eastern Cape economy and to ensure that jobs are created. Only a DA-led government can bring change that encourages entrepreneurship and supports small businesses.
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