Red Tape Reduction Unit achieves R 1 billion savings target
Date: 30 January 2019
Red Tape refers to excessive bureaucracy, which can often be a costly hurdle for businesses.
Contributions to the R1 billion savings to the economy and benefits were made through interventions by several provincial government departments, the City of Cape Town, and local municipalities across the province.
The Red Tape Reduction Unit in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, is responsible for facilitating and calculating the cost saving and other benefits of these interventions.
Impact assessments were done for 27 red tape reduction interventions. The savings and benefits that were generated from these interventions between 2015 to 2019 amount to R1.083 billion.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “When we established the Red Tape Reduction Unit, it was with a view to solving the problems that make it difficult for businesses to grow their operations, and creating an environment in which new investors would want to invest. These savings are an indication that we are serious about growing our economy and creating jobs.”
The 27 interventions selected for assessment represent a sample of the efforts by provincial and local government in the Western Cape to reduce red tape and make it easier to do business in the province.
“This is by no means a comprehensive list of all public-sector initiatives in the Western Cape that contribute towards red tape reduction and I am therefore satisfied that the target has been achieved,” Minister Schäfer said.
The WCG adopted the R1 billion target in its Provincial Strategic Plan for 2014-2019. It forms part of the first Provincial Strategic Goal, which is to create opportunities for economic growth and job creation.
“This target was ambitious and initially very daunting but various departments across the province and local government embarked on extensive campaigns that made it easier to do business. An example is the vast reduction in the time that it now takes to consider and approve building plans in municipalities like the City of Cape Town, Drakenstein and Swartland,” she said.
“This results in cost savings to the municipalities and enables developers to have their buildings ready earlier than before,” Minister Schäfer said.
Some interventions were systemic and designed to address systems or process issues, while others were cases where assistance was required urgently in relation to a specific problem or event affecting a particular company or industry or sector.
An intervention to obtain approval for a film shoot in the Tankwa Karoo, for example, resulted in the first instalment of a British reality series being filmed in the Western Cape, rather than elsewhere.
“The direct benefit was an injection of R74 million into the provincial economy, with extensive secondary economic benefits for local businesses providing catering, accommodation, fuel and other services, such as maintenance and security”.
One of the Western Cape’s priorities is to promote the growth of the film industry and the unit also dealt with the red tape involved in getting permits to film in the province’s small harbours.
Other notable successes include the initiatives of the Department of Transport and Public Works to expedite the processing of abnormal load permits and their advocacy to obtain temporary relief relating to the conveying of freight in high cube containers.
In addition to the red tape reduction interventions, two productivity-improving interventions by the provincial government were also assessed. These relate to the roll-out of broadband and the introduction of additional air routes to Cape Town through the Air Access project.
“When the benefits of these interventions are included, the value of the contribution to the ease of doing business in the province is estimated at almost R2.9 billion, which is considerably in excess to the target,” Minister Schäfer said.
“We will definitely be using the experience we’ve gained in red tape reduction and improvements to ease of doing business in the province over the past five years to step up this campaign from 2019 onwards. We are currently investigating improvements in business-facing services, in line with the opportunities presented by the digital economy and within the context of whole of government and whole of society approaches.”
“I would like to thank the officials in the Red Tape Reduction Unit for their hard work over the past five years. They’ve dealt with issues ranging from permits to liquor licenses and visas and have often worked long hours, and come through at the last minute to save the day for businesses. Their role in ensuring that the businesses they assist can continue to operate and employ their staff cannot be underestimated,” she said.