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Keynote Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Proudly South African Summit and Expo 2021

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Programme Director
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel,
Chairperson of the Board of Proudly SA, Mr Howard Gabriels,
Proudly SA Board Members
CEO of Proudly SA, Mr Eustace Mashimbye and the entire executive team
Representatives of business, organised labour and civil society,
Distinguished guests, participants and partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I am extremely pleased to be part of this summit and expo as we celebrate 20 years of Proudly South African.
 
It gives us cause to remember why Proudly South African was formed, to recall what it has achieved, and to remind us why it remains as important as ever.
 
Last month I received a letter that brought home to me just how important a buy local strategy is for reigniting our economy.
 
It was a letter of appreciation from Khayakazi Kepe, a young entrepreneur from Port Elizabeth who turned her culinary skills into a start-up selling ready-made meals.
 
She was writing to thank our government for the support her small business received during the lockdown.
 
Not only was she able to keep her doors open and her staff employed, but her business expanded at a time when many were contracting.
 
Khayakazi told me that she has signed a service level agreement with Spar South Africa to produce meals for sale in some 144 stores across the Eastern Cape.  
 
This kind of success story demonstrates a number of things.
 
Firstly, the ingenuity and creativity of small local business – Khaya’s Kitchen stepped in to meet a growing need for ready-cooked, locally inspired meals.
 
Secondly, it shows the commitment of a large retailer to enterprise development and to supporting small businesses.
 
By the time the product ended up in the deli in a supermarket, a whole value chain was supported, from the manufacturer, to the businesses that supply packaging, to the fresh produce producers whose ingredients are used in the meals.
 
Most importantly, as Khayakazi told me, the growth of her business meant that not only was she able to retain the jobs created during the pandemic, but she will now be able to hire new staff as her kitchens expand.
 
And so we have a positive case study of government, the private sector and small businesses working together in perfect alignment, with the outcome being that local business was supported, local jobs were saved and created, and 100% locally sourced and produced products are gaining popularity among local consumers.
 
The story of this company mirrors that of many local firms, but there have also been many who were not as fortunate.
 
Companies with long histories and deep footprints in the domestic market have been badly affected by the pandemic.
 
This has worsened the effects of several years of difficult economic conditions, preferences for cheaper, imported goods and, in some cases, with changing consumer patterns.
 
Many companies have had to downscale, and others have been forced to close.
 
Given the global economic climate, we can anticipate decreased demand for our goods, products and services even from our traditional export markets.
 
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the work of Proudly South African has taken on even greater significance.
 
The task of this Summit is therefore immense.
 
It is not enough to preach the ‘buy local’ message.
 
We need to practice it.
 
As government, as state-owned enterprises, as businesses, as individuals and as leaders, we need to set an example.
 
We need to demonstrate that buying local is about investing in quality, in sustaining local businesses, and in keeping jobs at home.
 
We have to step up our efforts not just to get locals to buy local, but to improve the entry of our goods, products and services into export markets as well.
 
We have to save existing jobs, and stimulate the economy for new ones to be created.
 
Businesses that were on the brink of collapse during COVID-19 have to be rebuilt, and new ones formed.
 
It is for all of these reasons that localisation and local procurement is essential.
 
In their respective commitments at the 2018 Jobs Summit and in their engagement last year on our national Recovery Plan, all social partners have dedicated themselves to this task.
 
There is an express undertaking to increase local procurement over the next five years.
 
Apart from its own procurement commitments, Government is working to lower the barriers to entry to make it easier to establish and grow a business in South Africa.
 
To support existing manufacturers, we are enforcing measures to stop the illegal importation of goods, which weaken our local market.
 
In my State of the Nation Address last month, I spoke about increasing local production and reducing our dependence on imported goods.
 
I spoke of bringing more SMMEs into the formal economy by introducing small business local procurement thresholds for the public sector.
 
We are also working to identify localisation champions to help drive import replacement programmes across various industries and for specific projects.
 
Another element of our Recovery Plan – our infrastructure build programme – has massive potential for job creation and local business development.
 
If local procurement is to be at the scale and impact we envisage, we have to deepen our collaboration.
 
Through legislation, we have designated 27 sectors for local procurement by the public sector.
 
Proudly South African is playing an important role in monitoring compliance with these designations.
 
It is clear that even in the public sector we still have some distance to travel to ensure effective compliance.
 
Whether public or private, we need to appreciate that choosing to procure locally through and across value chains is a solid investment in our economic recovery.
 
It grows our economy, creates jobs, broadens markets and creates numerous opportunities for business expansion.
 
This is the thinking that underpins the sectoral master plans that have been developed by government, business and labour.
 
The master plans that have been concluded are paying off.
 
These are in the automotive industry, clothing, textiles, footwear and leather industry, poultry industry and the sugar industry.
 
Other masterplans in their final stages are for the furniture and plastics industries.
 
These plans work to ensure that the respective value chains are localised for the benefit of the South African economy and the creation of jobs.
 
The plans include significant investment commitments from both government and stakeholders to drive up productivity and employment.
 
The automotive master plan, for example, aims to double the amount of job opportunities by increasing the level of local content in vehicles assembled in this country from 39% to 60%.
 
The poultry master plan has contributed to the production of more than a million additional chickens each week that make their way onto shelves in our retail stores.
 
In the sugar sector, we have secured the commitment of local manufacturers of soft drinks to procure 80% of their sugar needs from local growers, including small scale farmers.
 
The clothing, textile, footwear and leather sector has embraced the localisation drive, pledging half a billion rand to the expansion of local manufacturing sites.
 
To support these initiatives, we must intensify our efforts to persuade the ordinary consumer about the importance of buying local.
 
We must ask every South African to take a conscious decision to buy local goods.
 
Our message must be that wherever you may be in the country, be Proudly South African.
 
Wear local, travel local, eat local, watch local content, read local authors, support local music, and use local raw materials in your businesses.
 
Proudly South African must move beyond being a campaign.
 
It must become a mass movement that all South Africans are keen to embrace and to actively support.
 
This Buy Local Summit and Expo has a valuable contribution to make to the development of such a movement.
 
It offers much to social partners and to citizens.
 
It offers assistance to SMMEs, to capacitate them, to provide them will skills, knowledge and opportunities to become part of larger supply chains.
 
Through the Business Solutions Hub that forms part of this event, companies are able to navigate through some of the administrative challenges businesses and investors still face.
 
This Summit is an opportunity to set out the path ahead for the Buy Local movement.
 
And from our discussions here will come new ideas that will help take this localisation drive forward.
 
This Expo demonstrates the breadth of skills and capabilities in our local industries.
 
It showcases the many areas of local production in which South Africa excels.
 
We urge everyone to visit the Expo to find out what the country has to offer and to become part of the Buy Local movement.
 
Let us all embrace the truth that local is indeed lekker.
 
It is lekker for consumers, for businesses, for jobs, for inclusive prosperity and for our future.
 
I thank you.