Media release: Neil Emerick launches review of LICENSING legislation that undermines small business

18 October 2022

Gail Day

The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for
a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa.
As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles
of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property
rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.

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Neil Emerick launches review of LICENSING legislation that undermines small business

On 18 October, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) presented its third booklet in a series of eight titled Laws Affecting Small Business. Neil Emerick, director and co-founder of NightsBridge, outlined the negative impact licensing requirements have on small business, and recommended solutions.
Licensing requirements present multiple problems to entrepreneurs, especially small businesses who ought to be spared from challenges as much as is possible, at least ones stemming from the state.
Laws Affecting Small Business – Licensing proposes recommendations that should be championed by all who wish to see the South African economy grow and prosper.
Licensing laws protect existing businesses by preventing new entrepreneurs from entering the economy and competing with them. Licensing enriches some people at the expense of the public and creates what has been called a tyranny of beneficiaries. This phenomenon tends to favour entities with more resources over those with less, thus being most disadvantageous to entrepreneurs from poorer communities.
The FMF proposes the following and more:

  • Most, if not all, licensing laws should be repealed.
  • Licensing laws should entitle applicants to licences automatically, unless they will clearly violate essential health and safety laws.
  • Repeal any licensing laws that permit only one supplier and create a monopoly.
  • No licensing law should require an applicant to be “suitable” or “fit and proper”.
  • Licensing authorities should not have the power to refuse a licence “in the public interest”.
  • Licensing laws should not authorise the discouraging of competition.
  • There should be no special requirements for individuals or premises.
  • There should be no exemptions for government-owned businesses.
  • Municipal bylaws should not authorise the impounding of the goods of informal or street traders who fail to produce a licence to trade.
  • Laws should not prevent refugees from starting a business.
Neil Emerick echoed the sentiments of the booklet during his presentation where he stated: “In 2019, in his ease of doing business speech at the World Economic Forum, the President spoke about making business easier to do in South Africa. He called upon all investors, international and domestic, to act as the necessary catalyst to a thriving South Africa. That won’t happen if we continue on our current trend of insisting permission is required before a business embarks on its trade.”
This was the third in a series of eight mini-launches to introduce recommendations to reduce the laws negatively affecting small business across a range of issues: tax, land, licensing, justice, labour, finance, health, schooling. Small businesses are the engine of the South African economy, and therefore the legislative instruments governing them are integral to creating an environment of growth and job-creation.
Laws Affecting Small Business – LICENSING can be read
Launch dates and speakers
18.10 | 1100-1130 – Neil Emerick – LICENSING
25.10 | 1100-1130 – Michael Bagraim – LABOUR
01.11 | 1100-1130 – Gary Moore – HEALTH
08.11 | 1100-1130 – speaker to be confirmed – SCHOOLING
15.11 | 1100-1130 – Langa Bodlani – JUSTICE
22.11 | 1100-1130 – Darlene Menzies – FINANCE
  1. 04.10 – Dawie Roodt – TAX
    See presentation
    The TAX booklet can be accessed
  2. 11.10 – Terence Corrigan – LAND
    See presentation
    The LAND booklet can be accessed

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