OPINION: As Sharon Dee said: Local is Lekker!

Eustace Mashimbye is the chief executive of Proudly SA.

JOHANNESBURG - If i haven't lost count already, I believe this is my ninth column, and we have covered a broad range of topics all around the buy-local theme, and we have a veritable play list of local songs to accompany us!

Since our inception in 2001, the criteria that make a company eligible to become a member of Proudly South African have evolved and been updated, and we believe that today both our fee structure and our value proposition have never been more attractive or relevant to both big and small businesses.

The ownership of a company doesn’t concern us, but the contribution it makes to our economy and the job creation element associated with it is what matters. So, the nationality of a company aside, our point of departure is, of course, local content.

At least 50percent of the final cost of production of a company’s output for that product must be incurred in South Africa, or if raw material has been imported, substantial transformation of the raw material, or components into the finished product, must have taken place in our country.

We recognise that some fabrics, industrial components, mechanical parts, ingredients, etc may not be available in our country, and so these may comprise a percentage of the sum of the whole of any given product, but we always implore members to source these items locally, wherever possible.

For services companies, we take local procurement habits into consideration and expect that as much of their supply chain should be as local as possible.

Quality is next, and is of paramount importance. We cannot endorse any item which poorly represents our brand or our country, and so only products or services that are certified by an accredited verification body or industry association and comes with references will cut it.

Compliance is another major element in our screening process. We ask for all company registration documents and Sars clearance certificates for example. We cannot recommend companies who do not have their administration house in order.

While we are all about stimulating job creation, we cannot endorse illegal labour practices or companies whose labour and HR policies do not adhere to current legislation (specifically the Basic Conditions of Employment Act).

We hear so much about illegal sweat shops in Asian countries, therefore consumers can always rest assured that Proudly South African-accredited goods have been manufactured by workers who are fairly and legally employed.

Proudly SA companies must also demonstrate they are as committed to reducing their carbon footprint as we are.

We ask to look up environmental policies in place, especially in manufacturing processes, where unsafe disposal of waste or by-products has a potentially massive detrimental impact on the environment.

These standards of adherence to quality and compliance have changed little over the years. However, what has changed significantly is our fee structure. Today, for start-up enterprises or companies with a turnover of under R5million, the annual fee is a mere R500, rising to a maximum of R100000 for businesses turning over in excess of R100m, with a sliding scale in between.

Companies that commit to a 24 or 36- month contract benefit from additional discounts. Once all of this has been taken care of, you’re a member of the Proudly SA campaign.

From the membership criteria outlined here, you can see that our mandate is to work with companies that are established, and to help them stay the course.

Other entities and programmes exist to help new start-ups become viable, and then once they qualify to join Proudly SA, our work is to make their lives a little easier on the road to commercial viability.

There was only one song that I could possibly use this week - these high-quality, locally made products (and services) that meet our criteria are epitomised in Sharon Dee’s Local is Lekker!

If you think you qualify and would like more information on becoming a member of the Proudly South African Buy Local Movement, send an e-mail to info@proudlysa.co.za

Eustace Mashimbye is the chief executive of Proudly South African.

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

- BUSINESS REPORT

For more information on Proudly South African visit www.proudlysa.co.za
For media enquiries please contact:
PR Manager: Deryn Graham
Office: 011 327 7778 Cell: 083 289 0997
deryn@proudlysa.co.za

PR Officer: Tshiamo Ndlovu
Office: 011 327 7778 Cell: 082 844 6316
tshiamo@proudlysa.co.za

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