Department of Small Business Development has no approved organizational structure after 4 years

Issued by Toby Chance MP – DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
31 May 2018 in News

The DA has received information that confirms that the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) does not have an approved organisational structure, four years after its formation. This has rendered it incapable of fulfilling its core function of small business development in the country.

On 23 of October 2017, the former Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi, sent a cautionary note (see here) to Minister Zulu advising that the DSBD still lacks a finalised organisational structure based on the Department’s strategic plan.

Subsequent to this cautionary note, on 11 May 2018, DPSA officials confirmed via email correspondence that the DSBD still lacks an organisational structure in terms of the Public Service Regulations of 2016. The Public Service Regulation 25 (2)(a)(i) states that – “based on the strategic plan of the department, an executive authority shall:

  • determine the department’s organisational structure in terms of its core mandated and support functions; and
  • in the case of a national department or national government component, after consultation with the Minister and National Treasury.

As a result of the recurring dysfunction at the DSBD, on 22 May 2018, the DA lodged a complaint (see here) with the Public Service Commission (PSC) into hiring practices, management and composition of the Department’s administrative component. Yesterday, the PSC wrote to advise the DA it is considering the merits for a possible investigation into the issues raised in our complaint (see here).

A whistleblower alerted the DSBD committee on some of the challenges affecting employee productivity in the Department, and these include:

  • low staff morale;
  • transfer process of staff from the Department of Trade and Industry being done without consulting employees;
  • career development of individuals transferred being ignored;
  • lack of capacity in certain departments within DSBD;
  • employee grievances not being addressed by the Director-General; and
  • lack of resources to fulfill mandate of DSBD

It is unacceptable that, in an economic environment where small business are closing shop and shedding jobs, the Department that is meant to support them is embroiled in administrative chaos and inability to adequately address their grievances.

Small business owners need immediate reprieve and this is precisely why the DA has tabled a Private Members Bill (see here) in Parliament that is advocating for the establishment of a Small Business Ombudsman to act as an arbiter of challenges facing the sector.

Minister of Small Business, Lindiwe Zulu, has not only failed small business but also her employees at the DSBD. The Department has been mismanaged from the outset. The only way to move forward is for the Department to be disbanded.