Depends who you ask. And what you’re buying.
The recent balance of trade statistics from the Department of Revenue¹ shows a surplus of R22.24 billion for September 2021, attributable to an excess of R157.07 billion in exports. This suggests an international appetite for local goods and services.
However, statistics from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC)² reveal that at 25.1% of GDP, South Africans have “an over-propensity to import goods” compared to similar developed countries.
Indeed, our misconception that locally produced products are somehow inferior to imports is hurting our economy!
Why then have so many multinational companies set up shop on our shores?
Major vehicle manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen boast world-class production facilities in Mzanzi. Over 1900 call centres including giants Amazon and Google and renowned white goods manufacturers General Electric and Whirlpool capitalise on South Africa’s low labour costs, excellent infrastructure and convenient geographic positioning. Several leading FMCG companies and retailers such as Unilever, Nandos and Spar have also taken the world by storm.
And yet the perception persists.
Quality, you may argue. And a bias to export raw materials over finished manufactured goods.
The government’s localisation drive recognises the need to build industrial capacity in order to stimulate demand for South African products & services, both internally and abroad. This will obviously create jobs. As part of the 2020 Economic Reconstruction & Recovery Plan, initiatives include provision of finance (through the IDC), access to spectrum and energy-availability, as well as education, amongst others.
Every one of the aforementioned corporations operate to strict international standards. Their successful “beneficiation” of production inputs – whether raw materials, trained technicians or skilled labour, and technologically advanced production processes – demonstrates the country’s capacity to produce finished goods that ARE up to scratch!
FloorworX is the ONLY local vinyl flooring manufacturer in South Africa. Based in East London, the company has been supplying vinyl composite tiles (VCT) and sheeting to hospitals, clinics and education facilities for over 69 years.
Their Superflex and Floorflex ranges are manufactured to ISO9001 quality management standards with SABS786 and SABS581 certification respectively. Using the highest quality raw materials, including locally sourced limestone instead of chalk fillers for adjustable flexibility and strength. Superior pigments and stabilisers are used to produce a non-directional pattern with bright vibrant colouring. The guaranteed stock availability ensures stable pricing and project scheduling, an added cost benefit when value-engineering is common.
For example, by supplying UNCOATED vinyl sheets in manageable 1.2m x 15lm widths, the installer is easily able to lay the floor with minimal wastage (offcuts are recycled back into product).
The joints can then be welded before applying the specified Silk Matt or Gloss Polymer coating. Due to current site conditions where sub-contractors and workmen have free access to the site and may scratch or damage the vinyl floor surface, it makes more sense to coat the floor just before the site is handed over to the client. The coating also seals all the joints to ensure that no dirt can get embedded into them.
The benefits of buying local are obvious: Technical expertise, customised production, cost control and quality guarantees. After-sales service and traceability, job creation and economic growth. Who wouldn’t want that? Specify SA. Everyone wins.
¹Source: (SARS, 2021, “Exploring South Africa’s Merchandise Trade Statistics,” Sept 2021, https://www.sars.gov.za/customs-and-excise/trade-statistics/)
²Source: (Trade, industry & competition, 2021, “World Container Index – 21 Oct,” May 2021, http://www.thedtic.gov.za/wp-content/uploads/Policy_Statement.pdf)