The Clicks retail group and United Pharmaceutical Distributors met with Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Thursday and committed to increase its spending on small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and their support for local hair and beauty care products.
According to the department, Clicks’ group chief executive, Vikesh Ramsunder, made the undertaking during the meeting which was also attended by representatives from the Small Enterprise Development Agency and Small Enterprise Finance Agency.
The meeting is as a result of Clicks and Unilever being in hot water following the publication of an offensive advert created by TRESemmé and published on the retailers’ website.
The advert depicted white women’s hair as “normal” while blacks were “dry and damaged”.
“I am humbled and encouraged by our interaction with the honourable minister as I believe that we can jointly find a constructive solution to this regrettable incident,” said Ramsunder in the joint statement with the department.
Clicks has since removed TRESemmé from its shelves and said it would use the shelf space to support and promote local products.
“Clicks preferential procurement spend currently stands at 50.2% and in 2019 spending on suppliers stood at R26.7 billion. Clicks has also committed to involve their supplier base to mentor SMMEs across the company’s value chain.”
Ntshavheni said the preferential procurement spend included spending on large, established but not fully empowered companies and did not add to building an inclusive economy.
The minister added her department would assist Clicks to focus on SMMEs owned by blacks, women and people with disabilities.
She said the department would assist Clicks to focus on SMMEs which were owned by blacks, women, the youth and people with disabilities.
Ntshavheni also committed the department and agencies to assisting SMMEs who have the potential to supply to the Clicks Group, with compliance to product quality, safety standards and regulatory requirements, including assistance to upscale their manufacturing capacity.
The department and Clicks have also put in place a team to finalise the implementation plan and monitor the progress on specific focus areas.
Clicks also met with the EFF on Thursday and agreed on terms, which include donating a minimum of 50 000 sanitary towels (pads), 50 000 sanitisers and masks to rural and informal settlements identified by the party.