JOHANNESBURG - Late payments by big companies, government departments and municipalities, among others, for goods and services provided by small and medium enterprises are damaging to a sector that often steps up to provide jobs when larger corporates shed them, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Friday.
Small suppliers say they often have to wait more than 30 days to be paid for their services, hurting their operations as they cannot easily borrow to bridge cash flow constraints.
“Paying bills on time should be a national duty for large corporates, government departments, provinces , municipalities or individuals,” Cape Chamber president Geoff Jacobs said.
"The news may be dominated by non-payment of electricity bills by municipalities and state-owned entities like South African Airways and Eskom but it tends to ignore the serious knock-on effect of late payment on the small end of the private sector."
"While bigger corporations can borrow to bridge a cash flow problem, small business operators cannot. For them late payments don’t merely hurt, they can kill. As others have noted, late payments are the assassins of small businesses," Jacobs added.