Radical interventions required to achieve economic growth

2016-05-19 06:00

THE SABC recently implemented a mandatory 90% local music­ content for its 18 radio stations – now that’s radical. The impact of this on the local music industry will be huge. Local artists, producers, recording facilities and support industries have had their futures changed overnight.

A major slice of the music “royalty pie” (reportedly worth R2 billion per annum) will now be injected into the local industry. Simple arithmetic suggests an injection of around R1.8 billion per annum into this sector of the economy.

Instead of leaving the country, this money stays in South Africa and will have a multiplier effect as those who benefit from this radical step seek to spend and invest their income.

So, what does this all have to do with the Hibiscus Coast? The action taken by the SABC shows that it is possible to be radical in a positive and constructive way. The action taken by the SABC shows that vision and leadership can have life- changing (country- saving) consequences.

What if just one of the major national retailers displayed vision and leadership and radically promoted “proudly South African” and “local is lekker”? What if this retailer mandated 90% local content for just one type of clothing or one type of furniture? What if the actions of this retailer led to the recommissioning of the furniture and textile factories in Marburg­ that have shut down over the last decade? What if the people employed at these factories still had jobs? What if these factories had taken on apprentice artisans because business was expanding? What if these factories engaged with the informal sector and supported local SMMEs?

Sound like pie in the sky? Well, what if consumers reacted so well to our retailer that they voted with their feet? What if consumers began to prefer our retailer over the others because they knew that our retailer had the country’s interests at heart?

What if things went so well that our retailer introduced more local product lines which led to more factories, more employment opportunities and a more inclusive economy in our area?

Lower cost imports will not save our economy and they definitely will not save the Hibiscus Coast. The retail sector that markets these imports has very finite employment-creating potential and unemployment is our biggest problem. The long-term solution to the economic well being (and therefore social well being) of this area lies in manufacturing, which offers a significant employment and skills transfer multiplier. The long-term solution for manufacturing lies in a radical shift in the procurement ethic of the retail sector.

Instead of leaving the country, this money stays in South Africa and will have a multiplier effect as those who benefit from this radical step seek to spend and invest their income. So, what does this all have to do with the Hibiscus Coast? The action
taken by the SABC shows that vision and leader-
ship can have life changing (country-saving)
consequences

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