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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Proudly South African: Is buying local that much of a big deal?

Buying local products contributes to job creation and economic growth, says Proudly SA CEO.

If you thought buying locally-made products simply meant lining the pockets of your fellow South African, think again – it’s more than just about the bottom line.

‘Buying local’ has been the buzz word of many countries around the world, as part of attempts to mobilise support for home-grown businesses.

Turns out, the patriotic display goes beyond just branding.

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Job creation

Proudly South African CEO, Eustace Mashimbye said localisation is important as it helps create and retain jobs within the economy.

“Local is lekker, but more than anything, [buying local] can help change the economy and create jobs,” said Mashimbye during his address at the Proudly SA CEO Localisation Round-Table on Tuesday.

The next time you opt to buy imported products, bear in mind that you’re essentially contributing to another country’s economic growth, over yours.

“If you buy a product from China, you’ve created jobs in China,” Mashimbye said.

Urging South Africans to support local businesses, he said buying home-made goods boosts GDP.

“Your purchasing decision can make a difference,” he said.

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Setting up local businesses for success

Localisation also instills business confidence in novice entrepreneurs by helping to increase the likelihood of local consumers buying their products.

“You can set up the best business, with access to capital, deploy the best technology and policies… but if no one walks into that business, you’re going to close down faster than you did to set it up,” Mashimbye said.

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‘Tried and tested’

The Proudly SA campaign began in 2001 as a strategy to educate consumers about the importance of buying local products over imported goods.

As the country’s official “buy local” advocacy campaign, Proudly SA is aligned to the government’s objective of combating the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and above all, unemployment.

“Buying local is a tried and tested phenomenon all over the world,” said Mashimbye, adding that United States (US) was a great example.

The US enacted its Buy American Act in 1933, which requires federal agencies to use local domestic materials and products.

“If an economic powerhouse like the [US] has this entrenched in their policies and legislation, then we have to do it. Who are we as a developing economy to think that a tried and tested solution like localisation can be ignored?” Mashimbye asked.

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Quality Assurance

Acknowledging that some raw materials might have to be imported, Mashimbye said Proudly SA does allow its members to outsource certain ingredients, however the manufacturing process must be done locally.

“Value addition must happen in South Africa, such that jobs are created. If you bring in a complete product, it defeats the purpose – and you will not be able to affiliate with us,” he explained.

Companies bearing the Proudly SA logo must tick some quality assurance boxes, and adhere the highest industry standards.

“It’s important that companies affiliated with us produce high quality products,” Mashimbye said.

“Products that carry the Proudly SA logo represent the best of what this country has to offer,” he added.

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