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SA miners support SME pay initiative

The Minerals Council South Africa and members including Gold Fields have thrown their support behind a business initiative calling for small and medium-sized enterprise suppliers to be paid within 30 days.
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The Minerals Council South Africa is supporting business groups’ ,Payin30 initiative

Staff reporter

The campaign to ensure SMEs were paid on time would "contribute to greasing the wheels of the economy," Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso said.

BLSA said South Africa's recession and the COVID-19 pandemic have had a devastating impact on SMEs, which accounted for about 47% of the country's workforce, more than 95% of formal businesses and contributed more than 20% to GDP.

"With a tightening economy, the benefits of the banks' payment holidays coming to an end, and the winding down of the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), this is expected to rise to 10-15% of small businesses going into business failure next year, with almost a million jobs lost and at risk," BLSA said in a joint statement with Business for SA (B4SA) and the SA SME Fund which are spearheading the #Payin30 initiative.

Minerals council CEO Roger Baxter said the council had committed to paying SMEs within 30 days and urged members to follow suit.

"A number of minerals council members have already committed to this initiative, and I am certain that more will follow in the coming days," he said.

South Africa-based miner AngloGold Ashanti interim CEO Christine Ramon said the company "unreservedly" supported the drive to ensure SMEs were paid within 30 days of receipt of invoice.

"AngloGold Ashanti hopes that by being part of this nationwide campaign, we can help raise awareness about how something as straightforward as paying invoices within 30 days can have a positive impact on SMEs," she said.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said the company was pleased to support the initiative and appreciated the immense challenges the pandemic had caused for SMEs.

"SMEs are important partners in our supply chain, contributing substantially to localisation of procurement into the mining communities that host our mining operations," he said.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said its South Deep mine supported almost 80 suppliers from surrounding communities, with most of them SMEs heavily reliant on work from the company.

"It is therefore critical that we pay them within days after they have completed their job," he said.

B4SA said more than 50 CEOs had committed to paying SME suppliers within 30 days.