Officially opened by Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) on Monday, March 27 the 11th annual Proudly South African two-day Buy Local Summit & Expo closed off on a high note.
On the first day, Minister Patel and Gauteng Premier Lesufi walked the exhibition floor, engaging with the exhibitors, where the Honourable Minister ceased an opportunity to connect PG Bison (a timber manufacturer) with a bespoke local furniture manufacturer for future collaborations. Thereafter, Premier Lesufi purchased a locally made tie by designer Ledikana.
Minister Patel said the exhibition was vital in growing the South African economy: “This expo clearly demonstrated to South Africans the talent, the industrial capability and the products that South Africans can produce. Localisation is important because, very often, countries succeed because they believe in themselves; we can talk ourselves into a depression, and we can talk ourselves into failure, or we can believe in our own capabilities and own abilities to produce world-class products that we can export, not only to neighbouring countries but to other parts of the world.
“The Buy Local Summit & Expo also provided an opportunity for people to talk about the challenges they face and discuss potential solutions for the future of the South African economy,” he said.
Bongiwe Zwane officiated the panel discussions programme which was a key feature of the conference experience. These thought-provoking dialogues covered an array of relevant topics that drive localisation and its impact on job creation and economic transformation.
Minister Patel referenced one of the Expo’s highly anticipated panel discussions on day one, The Electricity Crisis: Localisation Opportunities In The Renewable Energy Industry, facilitated by Jeremy Maggs and including panellists Justin Schmidt, who is the Head of New Development at Absa Group, Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Senior Economist: TIPS/ Facilitator of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM); Christo Fourie, Head of Energy at IDC; Eddy Mokobodi, Proudly South African member and founder of Sakisa and Mamiki Matlawa, Group Business Development Manager for Actom.
The informative and jam-packed programme under the theme Growing the Economy and Creating Jobs through Localisation included a localisation panel discussion led by economist Dr Iraj Abedian that featured NEDLAC’s overall convenor for civil society Thulani Tshefutha as well as Riefdah Ajam, General Secretary: FEDUSA and Michael Lawrence, Executive Director at the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF).
Driving localisation in the Sugar industry featured Dr Thomas Funke, CEO of SA Canegrowers; BevSA’s executive director, Mpho Thothela; Tony Da Fonseca, managing director at OBC Group, the dtic’s Imameleng Mothebe, director agro-processing as well as culinary and pastry chef Kelvin Joel in a conversation on South African Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2023.
Day 2 of the Expo featured a keynote address by Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Small Business Development.
Discussing the role of Localisation In Revitalising The Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather Sector – in a discussion facilitated by Gugulethu Mfuphi – were Natasja Ambrosio, Head of Sustainability: Mr Price Group; Courtney Barnes, Head Buyer Led Value Chains: B&M Analysts; Dr. Nimrod Zalk, Deputy Director General: Industrial Competitiveness and Growth Division: the dtic and Ashley Benjamin, General Secretary: Nulaw.
Jeannine van Straaten, Executive: Strategy, Stakeholder Relations and Legal: Proudly SA; Donald Valoyi, founder and CEO at Zulzi; Hillyne Jonkerman, Group CEO: Bizzmed and Laurian Venter, Sales Director: One Day Only discussed Driving Localisation Through E-Commerce.
Other Day 2 highlights included the panel discussion Local Is Lekker: Why Telling Our Own Authentic Local Story Is Absolutely Critical featuring Phathu Makwarela (co-founder of Tshedza Pictures); Mphile Shabalala (Manager: Content CSI at MultiChoice); Thomas Mlambo (sports TV broadcaster); and Ntando Zikalala (founder and CEO To the Max Management) and facilitated by Sibu Mabena.
The expo’s final panel discussion Ziyakhala Manje facilitated by Proudly SA’s chief marketing officer, Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi, focused on supporting local value chains in the events industry with participants from some of South Africa’s biggest festivals including Delicious, Joy of Jazz, Back to the City, the Feather Awards, Open Mic, and the Rage Festival. Sharing their vast wealth of experience and knowledge were Funeka Peppeta, media director of DStv Delicious Festival; Osmic Menoe: Director, Ritual Media Group; Thami Dish, founder of the Feather Awards; Advocate Nkateko Maluleke, MD of Open Mic; Mantwa Chinoamadi, CEO of Joy Of Jazz; Kgosi Rampa, founder of Locrate Market who present the Makhelwane Festival; Lesley Mofokeng, spokesperson for the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) and Brendan Keen of Rage Festival.
Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly South African said, “We are delighted with the turnout for the Summit. We have always said the summit would expose locally produced products as widely as possible. In this way, we can save jobs in those companies and get them to create much-needed new job opportunities. We believe that we are succeeding in our mandate.”
The 2023 Buy Local Summit & Expo featured more than 200 high-quality home-grown goods and service providers who showcased everything from pharmaceutical, local fashion, and health products to stylish furniture and electronics for home and office use, delicious food and drink products, and jewellery and textiles.
During the expo, South African corporates – including the Absa Group, Aspen, OBC Group, Mr Price Group, and Twizza – committed to supporting the localisation movement. These large corporates shared a commitment to an uplifting ethos that promotes social and economic change and progress. They will continue to contribute meaningfully to building South Africa’s economy, alleviating unemployment and retaining existing employment opportunities.
The event ended with a special Presidential Localisation Dinner with keynote address from Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Paul Mashatile. “We cannot have economic growth without localisation. The study done by [Proudly SA] confirms the link between localisation and economic growth and the different steps that the private and public sectors need to take in this area,” he said.
The dinner also saw the launch of Proudly SA’s latest commercial, Second Half, which aims to further promote buying local to South Africans from all corners of the country.
The 2023 Buy Local Summit & Expo Partners include ABSA, Sasol, Aspen, Sizwe IT, Southern Sun, GCIS, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, SA Breweries, the dtic, Brand South Africa and Trade and Industry KZN (TiKZN).