South African National Defense Forces check people's temperature near the Pan Africa taxi rank in Johannesburg's Alexandra township, Wednesday May 20, 2020. South Africa has the continent's highest number of confirmed cases and has eased its restrictions to allow an estimated 1.6 million people to return to work in selected mines, factories and businesses. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
South African National Defense Forces check people's temperature near the Pan Africa taxi rank in Johannesburg's Alexandra township, Wednesday May 20, 2020. South Africa has the continent's highest number of confirmed cases and has eased its restrictions to allow an estimated 1.6 million people to return to work in selected mines, factories and businesses. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Business for South Africa looks to procure 90% of PPE orders from local suppliers

By Edward West Time of article published May 29, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -  Business for South Africa (B4SA), an organisation of volunteer resources to assist the country in its Covid-19 response, aims to procure 80-90 percent of personal protective equipment (PPE) orders from local and, or black-owned suppliers, the organisations’ Health Workgroup chairman Stavros Nicoloau said yesterday.

B4SA was set up in March as a coalition of volunteer resources, made up of business organisations and large and small companies, with core sponsors being the Black Business Council and Business Unity South Africa.

South Africa’s projected required spend for PPE until October 2020 is R7.5 billion. While donors were helping to bridge this gap, and B4SA had facilitated donations of more than R1.2bn, much more was needed, said Nicoloau in a statement.

B4SA’s volunteers, and its procurement platform, had enabled buyers and donors of PPE to timeously access bulk orders of products which meet the necessary specifications, he said.

Its procurement platform was one of many initiatives assisting the country to procure PPE for frontline health care workers. All parties involved in B4SA operate on a pro bono or not-for-profit basis.

Nicoloau said the pandemic had exposed the global risk of an over-reliance on single markets for the supply of PPE, and South Africa, as a net importer of PPE, was no different. 

At the start of the pandemic, PPE represented less than 2percent of overall medical equipment sales in the country, with surgical gloves making up most of this.  

To compound this, South Africa had limited internal manufacturing and supply capacity and capability to deliver the vast quantities of PPE that is needed, he said.

B4SA’s PPE procurement efforts in the early stages of the pandemic were to secure urgent, bulk quantities of product from a highly constrained global PPE market.

Over the past four weeks however, the focus had been to pivot procurement to identify, capacitate and source from local manufacturers, and black-owned suppliers.
In the organisation’s first phase of PPE orders, only 28percent were from local and, or black-owned suppliers. In the second phase, it procured 60 percent of stock from local and, 
or black-owned suppliers. It was now progressing into the third phase, where much more stock would be sourced locally.

Nicoloau said the fundamental criteria that underscored B4SA’s procurement strategy were price, quality, availability and empowerment.

B4SA’s order book currently stood at R1.1bn, which included the procurement of 12 million  N95 respirators, 38.2 million surgical, masks, 100 000 gowns, 120 000 goggles/face 
visors, 900 000 gloves, 275 000 litres of sanitizers and 200 ventilators.

BUSINESS REPORT 

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