OPINION | Black Friday: Buy local to help boost our economy

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(Image: Getty Images)
(Image: Getty Images)

Eustace Mashimbye is encouraging South Africans to buy local this Black Friday to help grow our economy which has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year's Black Friday will almost certainly be blacker for many people than previous years, given seriously constrained economic circumstances. Jobs have been lost, livelihoods are precarious, and the future remains uncertain, but there are also bound to be many bargains on offer as retailers and manufacturers move stock that has sat unsold during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Every year we wonder where consumers will find the extra money to spend on the many special offers that are to be had on and around Black Friday. In fact, Black Friday has even expanded into Black November and many people have already snagged their bargains.

Previous statistics have shown that 66% of all local shoppers who take advantage of Black Friday sales spend, on average, R1 600 each. Imagine if all this spend was directed to locally made products, including white goods which are most sought after. South Africa manufactures TVs, fridges, microwaves, cellphones, laptops, tablets, tools, furniture and so many more of the big ticket items which people hope will be discounted.

Review your purchasing options

Our appeal to everyone who has yet to check their bank balances and see how much they have to spare and to anyone who is expecting a December bonus or pay increase, is to review their purchasing options and choose to buy local as far as possible.

President Cyril Ramaphosa put great emphasis during his Economic Recovery Plan speech a few weeks ago, on the role that buying local has in the drive to kickstart the economy and to get South Africa and South Africans back to work. South Africa spends R1.1 trillion per annum on imported goods but if we were to replace just 2% of this total with locally manufactured items, we could add another 1.2% to our GDP.

READ | Cyril Ramaphosa: We must be careful not to choke the green shoots of the economic recovery

It is the lack of demand for South African goods and our reliance on imported, instead of locally manufactured items, that is dragging local manufacturing down. This is the season when consumer spending spikes, over and above Black Friday. Even if families are not travelling this December, it is still the season of gift giving, of being with family and eating and drinking, and come January, we will turn our minds to replacing outgrown school uniforms, school shoes and all the other equipment and stationery required for what we hope will be an undisrupted new school year.

The blue, white and grey of standard school uniforms made locally can be found in many retail stores and school outfitters. The same goes for shoes – some of the best-selling school shoe brands are made here in South Africa. The clothing, textile, leather and footwear sector has shown some green shoots of recovery in the last couple of years and so we encourage its growth by encouraging parents to choose local.

The local chicken and poultry industry has suffered greatly from product dumped into our market from overseas, but with grocery baskets fuller than usual at this time of year we are pushing the choice of locally produced chicken over imported ones.

Local procurement 

It is a proven fact that local procurement is a driver of economic growth and job creation and so our appeal – being made this November and December via our current TV commercial Game Time, is for consumers to buy local whenever possible and to consider the many millions who are without a job this festive season.

The best present we could give those millions of unemployed South Africans is a shot at a job at a local business whose fortunes have taken a turn for the better because of increased demand for their local products.

- Eustace Mashimbye is the CEO of Proudly South African.

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