The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) in partnership with Provincial Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry, as well as the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently, held a Local Content and Production (LC&P) workshop at the Outeniqua Research Farm in George.
The workshop formed a part of road show that was conducted in various districts within the Western Cape. Discussions focused on the issues that impact on the progression of LC&P, specifically in the Garden Route district. For this reason, local business representatives from various sectors and municipal officials from the local economic development and supply chain managements units attended the engagement to share their experiences and address issues in terms of local content and production.
During his welcoming speech and overview of the district, Municipal Manager of the GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, spoke about the challenges of local content in a broader context and said: “When we talk about local content and production, it means we have some form of competition”.
He also referred to the economic instabilities internationally and narrowed it down to local challenges, including issues relating to the national electricity provider, unemployment, corruption within a municipal context. These challenges have become sophisticated because of globalisation etc. and we need to look at protecting our local industries. Mr Stratu also mentioned that when South Africa’s economy opened its markets to international businesses, “it had to have some mechanism in place to protect our own economy, hence we talk about protection of the local industry and growing our own economy, creating sustainable jobs…”. With these issues in mind and more specifically the issue of unemployment, he asked: “How successful were we in creating sustainable jobs in our district?” To which he further added: “Our sheer unemployment statistics are telling us that something is extremely wrong”. Mr Stratu advised that perhaps the Government should not explore new regulations, instead we should perfect what we already have and analyse it to determine what we are doing wrong”.
Various other vital issues were raised at the event, such as the issue of support and the development of SMMEs to be able to respond to tenders, as many of the tenders received from SMMEs are non-responsive. Manager in Finance at GRDM, Mr Tebello Mpuru, responded with his concerns about practical issues experienced by a supply chain management practitioners, as well as bidders and suggested that DTI, should make guidelines available to accompany regulations in order to reduce these administrative issues.
Ms Patricia September, from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) advised SMMEs to make use of the services offered by SEDA and all other resources available to develop themselves. Ms September also emphasised: “When the need for training arises SMMEs must approach Government to fill those skills gaps within industries”. She furthermore acknowledged that government institutions and industry do have best practices and advised that those best practices be shared with one another.
All inputs gathered at the workshop will be discussed at a LC&P Summit and Exhibition for Government that is scheduled to take place this year. The purpose of the Summit and Exhibition will be to formulate a policy for the acceleration of local content and production of local commodities.
National and Provincial Government officials, as well as municipal officials from the district including Local Economic Development and Supply Chain Management (SCM) officials, representatives from SMMEs, local corporates, including the SABS, business associations and industry representatives from the LC&P sectors attended the workshop.
What is Local Content and Production?
“Local Content” means that in terms of the manufacturing process the materials and labour in the manufacturing of the designated sector goods, are produced within the borders of South Africa. Therefore “locally” refers to “proudly made in South Africa” and does not begin to ring fence procurement from only people within the town or region, but for all South Africans irrespective of location.