Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, has called for impact assessments to be completed on all proposed major legislation. He put forward the proposal in his address to delegates of the Western Cape Government's first-ever Red Tape Reduction Conference which took place in Cape Town this week (29 – 30 September 2014.) Winde further noted that this was just one of many initiatives he aimed to introduce in his clamp down on unnecessary red tape.
Said Winde, "In a globalising world, we can no longer put senseless obstacles in the way of business. For too long, we have allowed our regulatory framework to stand in the way of investment, holding back growth and jobs in our region. If we want to become globally competitive, we need a major brand and culture change around red tape. In the Western Cape, we are facing this challenge head on."
The Red Tape Reduction Conference saw over 100 delegates attending over the two days, with leading local and international experts in red tape reduction engaging in panel discussions focused on finding solutions aimed at curbing red tape and making it easier to do business in our province.
Ms Natalie Bodek from the United Kingdom government's 'Red Tape Challenge' team said that through their commitment to “less regulation, better regulation and regulation as a last resort,” they have saved UK businesses £850million (R15.5billion) per year in compliance costs. This is an example
the Western Cape aims to follow.
"In countries like the UK, Chile, Rwanda and Mauritius, there is a 'we must do what it takes' approach to cutting red tape. The business competitiveness rankings of these countries have sky-rocketed as a result. We need to learn from these examples, and embrace
innovative solutions to address our red tape challenges," said Winde.
To date, Minister Winde's Red Tape Team have saved hundreds of jobs through direct interventions to clear red tape. The team have now been mandated to embark on a proactive red tape campaign. Said Winde, "We will now begin to review targeted "problematic" regulations with a view to assessing the costs associated with them, and to deregulate where it makes sense to do so. We
will also focus on tackling future red tape by insisting that in the Western Cape, impact assessments are conducted on major legislation with implications for growth and jobs. As the primary regulator in our country, it is crucial that the National Government adopts this same approach, and I am calling on them to take up this challenge."
Head of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Solly Fourie, concluded, "Red Tape Reduction remains a priority internationally. For the Western Cape, and indeed South Africa, to up its game, we need to start implementing some of the methodologies used by countries which have
successfully integrated reducing red tape into the everyday workings of government. This conference re-emphasised that red tape reduction requires a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach."