Oscar promises an app to end late state payments
DA says the government sings the same song before every election
A new invoice tracking system is going to speed up the state’s payments to its small business providers, finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane announced while delivering his budget speech in Bhisho on Tuesday.
The new system would allow small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) to track their payments through a user-friendly app linked to all provincial departments and would ensure payment in 30 days, he added.
However, Mabuyane could not say whether the app had already been developed, what it would be called, when it would come into effect or how SMMEs would access it.
This led DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga to say the announcement was nothing but electioneering.
But Mabuyane said: “Our support to SMMEs will be meaningless without addressing their concerns on late payments. Nafcoc [the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce] has reminded us that there are SMMEs that have bills outstanding for more than 90 days, resulting in retrenchments and closure of doors.”
For years small firms doing business with the state have complained about the government failing to pay them within the stipulated 30-day period.
But speaking with reporters during a media lockup session, Mabuyane expressed frustration over what he said were occasionally deliberate delays in payments.
“By not paying an SMME that has employed people and has done the job, you are not only frustrating that person, you are killing the initiative of economic development,” he said.
The 30-day rule did not mean payment should be processed on the 30th day, he added.
“Those companies are retrenching people because they cannot keep them for 90 days unpaid. We’ve been listening and attending to it. There is positive response but we want 100% compliance. This system is there and happening in the private sector,” he said.
“Treasury must see a particular invoice and follow it up. People can be paid within two or three days if there are no issues with the invoice.”
Bhanga said it was not the first time the ANC-led government had promised to ensure timeous payments.
“In 1999 they said SMMEs must be paid with urgency. In 2004 they said they were implementing the decision.
“In 2009 they said they would intensify it. In 2014 they said they were putting systems in place – and now they come up with an app and we must just believe that?
“Mr Mabuyane must not come and lie to us because he wants votes,” Bhanga said...