Proudly SA furniture portal gives local manufacturers hope

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Proudly South African has created a new portal where verified local furniture manufacturers can list their products.
Proudly South African has created a new portal where verified local furniture manufacturers can list their products.
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Being proudly South African means more than enjoying our Heritage Day holiday or watching Generations – it also means supporting our local industries.

By buying local, we create job opportunities and economic growth. And this is why the advocacy campaign Proudly South African was born 20 years ago.

Its latest venture, in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), is a new portal, Proudly SA, to encourage us to buy locally manufactured furniture.

The idea is to bring some much-needed relief to locals in the industry who like so many others have suffered during the last year.

For consumers, it could take the edge off home renovations and boost the economy at the same time.

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Deputy minister of DTIC, Ms Nomalungelo Gina says the new furniture platform is a resource for both buyers and sellers – a place where they can engage.

It will take advantage of the increase in online sales and serve as an access-to-market platform for small and large skilled manufactures.

“It is evident that selling and shopping online has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now it has changed consumer behaviour into adopting online shopping as their preferred method of shopping,” she adds.

Online shopping may be on the rise, but what we buy still needs to be promoted properly.

“Covid-19 had a huge impact on the manufacturing industry,” says David Fish, MD of local office furniture manufacturers AngelShack. “It was a tough year for everybody in our industry. Some people managed but definitely not near the performance they wanted and hoped for.”

Read more | South Africa’s GDP shrunk by 7% in 2020, mainly due to strict lockdown restrictions

The idea behind the platform is good and it gives local manufactures a great opportunity.

“Buying imported goods means there’s no development or job creation or investment into any local manufacturing or SA infrastructure,” David says.

But setting up a portal is easy – the hard part is managing it correctly.

“The government needs to drive, market and advertise it to the right kinds of corporates, SME’s, government-owned enterprises, and encourage these entities to buy local.

“If government is not driving it or there are no incentives for entities to support local manufacturers, then it is pointless. It has to be well managed, driven and marketed correctly,” David adds.

All being well, the new portal should promote and increase awareness of buying local products, says Proudly SA member and the founder of Zoe Décor, Phumeza Stuurman. And it’s also good for our planet.

“Buying locally produced is environmentally friendly,” Phumeza says. “When you buy locally, you are creating a job and being responsible to the economy and the environment.”

A win-win situation.

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