Labour strikes, a struggling education system and government bureaucracy – three factors already affecting South Africa’s global competitiveness – are also having a negative impact on the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), one expert said this week.
According to Business Partners Limited CEO Nazeem Martin, these factors are affecting the growth of small business and challenging their owners when it comes to expansion, management and business practices.
Martin pointed to the restrictive labour laws which SME owners need to comply with, saying that although these regimes suit larger businesses and corporate, these requirements are often out of reach for SMEs.
Over 50% of people are formally employed by SMEs in South Africa, which create over 60% of new jobs every year, independent statistics say.
The effort and cost to comply with our modern labour legislation can inhibit SME growth, Martin said.
Martin called on the South African government to introduce an exemption of businesses below a certain size from all labour laws, apart from health and safety laws.
He also suggests that the government should reinforce the exemption of a probationary period from the dismissal of rules.
All this should and can be done without infringing the rights of workers, he said.
On the poor quality of education, Martin urged South African teachers to not only adhere to the government policy of being at school, but to commit to providing excellent teaching every single day.
He also called on the ministry of basic education to improve controls to increase accountability by teachers and reward them accordingly.
“The adoption of schools by corporate South Africa will also go a long way towards improving our education system,” he concluded.
Photo: Oiko Credit