Feedback after Meeting with DTIC Minister Patel

Minister Patel of the DTIC called for a follow-up meeting with the industry  on Thursday 14 October 2021 which took place just 2.5 weeks after a first meeting with him and his executive team, indicating the importance he is placing on trying to resolve industry’s challenges with the Department and the speed with which he wants them resolved.
Unlike the first meeting in September, we met in person at the DTIC’s offices in Pretoria. Industry representation included the IPO, SASFED, IBFC, DFA, Animation SA and SWIFT. Again, it was a collegial and constructive meeting. We gave clear feedback on the lack of progress from the Department in resolving repudiations, and clearing the backlog of outstanding payments and applications since our first meeting, noting that producers had still not received specific reasons for repudiations or responses to ongoing queries and communications, and stressing the ongoing chronic impact that was having on the industry. We noted that some Producers who had received repudiations had been contacted telephonically to attend virtual meetings to discuss the repudiations and, in many cases, producers were requested to supply documentation, some of which had been previously submitted. This was in preparation for the Rebate office to present detailed reasons in writing to companies whose projects were being repudiated in order for them to make informed submissions in terms of the appeals process they are entitled to. This was a clear directive from the Minister to his officials.
Minister Patel said he would like to see his department behaving not like regulators, as they presently seem to be, but like partners to the industry in helping us to recover and grow, again stressing that only clear cases of fronting should be tackled and that all other cases must resolved speedily. He said the Department must assess all documents within 5 days, revert to producers to secure any outstanding or ‘lost’ documents and that the Department must respond within 7 days of receiving all documentation.
He added that outstanding claims and applications must equally be processed with speed and gave the department 3-4 to weeks to clear the backlog, after which he will call for what he hopes will be his last meeting with the sector on these problems, so that ‘we can stop looking backwards and start looking forwards’ and work together to simplify and clarify systemic issues and processes and to partner with the department in addressing transformation and enterprise development in the industry.
We left the meeting feeling very hopeful that we will see a significant improvement in the DTIC’s support for the industry.
Sincere thanks to all who contributed to our urgent DTIC survey – the information we received from you was extremely helpful in highlighting the number and value of outstanding claims and applications, and the economic and job-creation impact thereof. As always, facts and figures are key when dealing with government, and those from the survey served as an important wake-up call for the Department to act with urgency. Thanks!