Reviving South Africa’s economy

Proudly South African was born out of the 1998 Presidential Jobs Summit, which was convened by the late former President Nelson Mandela.


Proudly South African was born out of the 1998 Presidential Jobs Summit, which was convened by the late former President Nelson Mandela. Local procurement was identified as a driver of economic growth and job creation, and so in 2001, the organisation was formed through Nedlac as an NPO and started its work, says Eustace Mashimbye, the CEO.

Please could you provide us with a history of your educational and career background?

I grew up in Mamelodi in the East of Pretoria. My dad was something of an entrepreneur and my mother was a teacher for more than 30 years. Through them, I learnt the importance of education and determination. I studied financial accounting and corporate law at what was then Technikon Northern Gauteng (now Tshwane University of Technology) and Technikon SA (now UNISA). I also studied towards my MBA, although I haven’t yet completed it, with Management College of South Africa and am currently completing my studies towards a Corporate Governance qualification through Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa. I have served in both the public and private sectors, having worked at the dti, Edcon and Telkom before joining Proudly South African as the CFO. In August 2016, I was made the acting CEO and was appointed permanently in December of the same year.

As CEO, what are your short- and long-term goals for Proudly South African?

Our short-term goal is to keep on expanding and extending the scope of our work and reach into business, the public sector and into the mindset of each and every consumer in South Africa, to make buying local a default choice. Each year, we add to the number of programmes, exhibitions, conferences and forums, which we either organise or attend, to keep buying local top of mind.

In the long-term, we would like to make a significant contribution to unemployment through a strong membership base, through driving the demand for locally manufactured goods, which, in turn, will drive reindustrialisation. We also do this by encouraging more companies to implement local procurement practices—ie. biased towards locally made products and services—which increases aggregate demand for everything that is locally grown, produced or manufactured.

Please tell us about the importance of buying locally manufactured goods—do you believe this could go a long way to alleviating poverty through job creation?

Making ‘buy local’ choices where there is one to be made is of critical importance. Every time we buy something imported, we export jobs and create them in the country of origin of the item we have chosen over a South African one. Only through local demand can we create more jobs. Nowhere is this more evident than the two sides of the coin represented by the clothing and textiles sector and the poultry industry in South Africa. The latter has been decimated by the immoral dumping of cheap bone-in chicken pieces by unscrupulous importers who pass off bags of frozen, brined chicken labelled as having come from any one of multiple countries. If we had stuck to buying locally produced chicken, each and every bag of which can be traced back to a particular farm, we would not have lost the thousands of jobs we have over the last few years. Conversely, retailers including Mr Price, the Foschini Group and Edcon have all contributed to the re-emergence of a clothing and textile industry in this country, through increased localisation. Now, there are new jobs for shoemakers, cotton growers, spinners, dyers, pattern cutters and designers—many jobs through the entire value chain because these companies have chosen to re-invest in locally made content for their shelves. Poverty can only be alleviated through a larger workforce, one that can invest in itself, its children and their education, and one that is economically active and contributing to the fiscus. With a larger tax base, the government has more to spend on facilities, which support the health, mobility and education standards of South Africans, and then we break the cycle of poverty.

Which industries are of the biggest concern when it comes to purchasing international goods?

There is almost no single domestic industry that hasn’t felt the impact of foreign imported goods. Every sector is vulnerable to cheap imports or even to expensive imports. Our choices are by no means limited to the cheap end of the spectrum—many South Africans are happy to spend thousands of rands on Italian-imported leather goods and French clothing labels.

South Africa manufactures a vast range of items in all price categories, from grocery items, to fashion, to cars and white goods in the home—it is simply a matter of choice and checking the labels of origin for ‘Made in South Africa’. However, due to their multiplier effect, we are focusing a lot of our efforts on certain labour-intensive industries such as the furniture sector, pharmaceuticals, the automotive industry and agro-processing.

You are a membership-based company, how do you go about increasing your membership and what benefits do people get from being a member? Can anyone be a member?

Since we revised our membership proposition and fee structure almost two years ago, we have increased our membership across industry sectors and across the provinces. We believe that we have the best value proposition we have ever had. Fees start at only R500 per annum for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMMEs to R100 000 for large corporates.

First of all, the criteria for membership is quality local content. If the company is a service provider, we consider all those employed by the company within the borders of South Africa and look at the company’s local procurement habits. In the case of products, at least 50% of the final cost of production must have been incurred in South Africa, or if raw material has been imported, substantial transformation must have taken place in our country. We demand proof of quality by way of certification from an accredited verification body or industry association as well as proof of the company’s adherence to the country’s labour and environmental legislation. What is not important is the nationality or shareholding of the company. As long as they are creating jobs and manufacturing quality local items, they qualify for membership.

In return, we offer different access to market platforms to our members. From opening doors to potential buyers, free attendance at industry-specific exhibitions such as the Manufacturing Indaba, Tourism Indaba, Delicious International Food & Music Festival, home and décor events to participation in our own annual flagship Buy Local Summit and Expo, at which any member company that wishes can exhibit free of charge.

In addition, we offer many media and publicity platforms. We also have an in-house tender monitoring system whose benefits are two-fold. First, it allows us to monitor government adherence to local procurement legislation under the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) but, secondly, it allows us to circulate tenders that are relevant to our members, directly into their email inboxes, alleviating the need for them to go through the government gazette and other newspaper sources.

In April, we will also be fully integrated with the Treasury’s Central Supplier Database and any member who indicates that they wish to do business with the government will automatically be entered onto that list, given that we have vetted and audited them for compliance with all the terms that the government requires.

For those products targeted at individual consumers, we have launched an online shopping platform ( where it is free to Proudly SA member companies to list their products, giving them exposure and access to customers who are looking for high-quality, locally made items.

Do you place a great deal of emphasis on transformation?

There is a lot of emphasis on transformation in both the public and private sectors. For example, the local government has thresholds for procurement from township businesses and our database can help them identify these companies. What we need to guard against are operations that are based in the townships but who procure from overseas—that doesn’t qualify as local procurement,

We have also worked with a number of companies and industry bodies, for example, the Franchise Association of South Africa, with whom we run workshops and pitching sessions where black-owned businesses that are members of Proudly South African are given a platform to potentially become suppliers to a diverse range of franchises.

As an organisation, you also run a few events. Can you tell us about one or two of them and when is the next one coming up?

Our biggest event is our annual flagship Proudly South African Buy Local Summit and Expo, taking place this year on 12 and 13 March at the Sandton Convention Centre. This year will be our 8th and biggest yet.

In 2017, we introduced an extra day just to focus on the needs of SMMEs, with presentations and workshops. The second day puts the spotlight on local procurement as a driver of job creation, and something that can be leveraged by business.

This year, on the back of October 2018’s Presidential Jobs Summit and Investment Summit, the theme is ‘Driving Localisation through Investment -Led ReIndustrialisation’. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s what we need to focus on if we are to make a significant difference to unemployment.

On both 12 and 13 March, around 200 of our member companies will be exhibiting and networking, looking for new buyers and suppliers. Attendance to either/both the days and to the expo as part of the delegate registration or as a separate day visitor is free of charge, people just need to register on, where they will find an outline of the programme and profiles of our speakers.

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