RED tape is the biggest impediment to small businesses being created and sustaining themselves in South Africa, Raymond Parsons, deputy CEO of Business Unity South Africa (Busa), said on Tuesday.

Mr Parson was speaking at the announcement of the new leadership of the country's main business advocacy group at a press briefing in Johannesburg following its annual general meeting.

Jabu Mabuza, chairman of the Casino Association of South Africa, was elected as president. Adv Brenda Madumise, previously vice-president of professionals at Busa, is now its chairwoman. Mr Parsons stays in the same position.

Busa has objected against proposed amendments to South Africa's labour laws, saying they would destroy employment by making it too difficult and costly to hire and fire.

The most contentious of these, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, were being discussed in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Something is missing with respect to our targets," Mr Parsons said. "We have jobs targets, inflation targets and growth targets, but we need a business production target. That can be developed when we have cut away the red tape."

Mr Parsons said Busa's biggest concern was the way regulations burdened the small-business sector.

andersona@bdfm.co.za