|Actualising Empowerment -
Save bee in the sme sector...resolve the strike
Economic Empowerment (BEE) stands to lose some
ground as a result of the gimmickry that surrounds
the current strike in the public sector.
The ongoing stalemate over salary hikes is likely
to claim a lot of small and micro enterprises.
These are supposed to benefit from preferential
procurement, since government departments and other
organs of state are expected to procure goods and
services from black businesses, especially small
Save BEE in the SME Sector…Resolve the Strike
As public servants battle their employer, the state, for
more money, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are bound
to battle to get their money for work done or goods delivered.
The old saying in business goes: turnover is vanity,
profit is sanity and cash-flow reality! Without
cash, many a profitable enterprise go bankrupt. Cash
in the bank pays wages, settles the rates bills, tops
up airtime and pays for the taxi ride. These are indispensable
for the small enterprises.
Without cash, a small enterprise – unlike their
larger counterparts – is left stranded almost immediately.
Banks do not like customers with empty pockets. Goodness
knows, a public servant on strike cannot be relied upon
to process payments.
It is hard to judge whether or not the strike will be
resolved soon enough or not; but many enterprises will
certainly be squeezed by two weeks of unpaid invoices.
Government is generally tardy in the payment of invoices.
Records get stored sloppily, and one often has to follow
up repeatedly to get their money. Sure, they pay eventually
- but just too often too late for most of their suppliers.
Several SMEs are going to be so desperate they might as
well embark on a sympathy strike to facilitate a settlement
so that there is somebody at the government offices to
handle their queries. The problem is: they cannot afford
to be away from their businesses for an hour, let alone
toyi-toyi for the upward adjustment somebody else’s
pay. Like the survivors that they are, they will soldier
on. The innate quality of an entrepreneur is that they
make a plan.
As for small black enterprises, the strike will surely
affect not only the SMEs, but the many dependants of those
who own them. Black people, especially with an entrepreneurial
streak, feed a more mouths than just their immediate families.
R20,000 in debtors is not an asset; it could actually signify
a death knell for the nephews and nieces of entrepreneurs – if
only for a couple of days; and this strike looks set for
a long stretch.
The same indecision that normally leads to slow payment
of invoices is paralyzing the one sector of the economy
that has the least to do with the problem of deplorable
working conditions in the public service. It is sad that
the small guy always gets hit by the mucky sputter from
skirmishes that could have been avoided in the first place.
To government officials involved in the ping-pong, so much
for commitment to BEE!