Food Lover's Market. Picture: File
JOHANNESBURG - One of the challenges that the Buy Local campaign faces is compliance from the public sector, says Proudly South African chief executive Eustace Mashimbye. 

Proudly SA hosted two forums in KwaZulu-Natal this week for both the public and private sectors.

The forums are part of the national awareness campaign for increased local procurement in both sectors. 

The government, which is the largest procurer of goods and services in the country, legislated local procurement levels for certain items under the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act. 

“If we have to think about how money is spent by the government and government agencies collectively, spending for KwaZulu-Natal runs into billions of rand. 

"If that is channelled into supporting locally based products supplying businesses in KZN, how much of an impact would it make by way of creating jobs and making sure that we keep these businesses that are operational growing?” asks Mashimbye. 

He says levels of compliance with the existing regulations needed to increase.

Mashimbye adds that the relationship with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as the SA Local Government Association need to be strengthened to ensure Proudly SA’s message reaches procurement officials responsible for the province’s public purse.

“The intention behind these forums with the procurement personnel in the government is to ensure that when they buy any of the designated items for local procurement, they need to buy those locally. 

"That is a great tool developed to ensure that we use public procurement spend to drive economic growth. The problems is the compliance levels still needs to be driven up,” says Mashimbye.

However, things were looking up.

Mashimbye says Proudly SA has seen increased levels of interest in organisations that want to abide by the regulations and an increased number of institutions that are compliant compared to last year. 

He attributes this to the fact that the Public Audit Act has been amended, as accounting officers could now be held personally liable when there is non-compliance.

“We think that there will be more and more accounting officers ensuring that their entities complied with the regulations because they do not want to have a certificate of debt saying they owe government due to non-compliance to supply chain regulations, irregular expenditure or did not include local content producers when issuing tenders requiring the inclusion of local provisions. That is helping us.” 

Mashimbye says with the private sector, Proudly SA just needs to find a way to open up more markets. “We need those responsible for buying to start thinking more and more about supporting small local businesses.”

Buying a product made elsewhere is supporting a job made elsewhere, he says.

PROUDLY SA says we need those responsible for buying to start thinking more and more about supporting small local businesses and warns buying a product made elsewhere is supporting a job made elsewhere.  

BUSINESS REPORT