MAKING MOVES: Sihle Magubane talks to a potential customer about his coffee brand, Sihle's Brew. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

Through his membership at Proudly South African, Sihle Magubane has managed to grow his business.

His company, Sihle’s Brew, is one of many whose products can be found on the newly launched  e-shopping site www.rsamade.co.za where buying locally has become a whole lot easier for consumers.

At the launch held at the SABC on Monday, Proudly SA Marketing Manager Happy Ngidi said the online store was bound to happen.

“Proudly SA is a disruptor of the norm, we lead by example and have a big task ahead of us. Everybody in South Africa should be a custodian of this campaign. Localisation is the goal. It is our ethos.  It is a no brainer that we were forced to move with the times and do the right thing by having a presence online.”

THIRST QUENCHER: Mosibudi Makgato offers one of the board members at Proudly SA a taste of her Yamama Gemmer. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

The website is in partnership with RSA Made, a global online shopping platform.

Proudly SA chairperson Howard Gabriel said it was a deliberate move to get in on  the online space.

“We acknowledge that for us to grow we have to develop new ways to do business in the country. It is about quality products, fair trade and more than 50% content must originate from SA in order for a company to partner with us. As we go into this space, we hope we will be signing in many members with different products and services to use the site as a vehicle for sales. Technical content and market access will hopefully result in positive business development,” he said.

CEO Eustace Mashimbye added that the country was facing a situation where instead of exporting products, it was exporting jobs.

“South Africa has over 18 million active online shoppers but the site content is dominated by foreign products.”

He said countries like China had positioned themselves well in the market and it was about time South Africa had platforms like the online store to take products and export them to other places.

“Those who are brave enough to start businesses will battle with access to markets. Our role is to stimulate the demand for local products and enhance the availability and accessibility of these high quality local products that exist. Buying local is a global phenomenon. It is not unique to South Africa. Everyone is trying to grow their economy so they can protect jobs. We cannot afford to fail, we are confident we won’t because of the quality of products we have.”

The online store already has just under 9000 local products available to purchase.

Mashimbye added that the e-commerce sector in the country was on a massive upward trajectory with sales of up to R37 billion made last year.

“It is important now that we are in the age of the 4th industrial revolution to tap into digital shopping habits and to ensure that more locally grown, produced and manufactured goods are available to local consumers.”

Proudly South African vets and verifies local content and quality and makes sure that all the vendor companies adhere to labour and environmental legislation.

HAIR TALK: Siobhan Jood explains the Perfect Hair products to a guest at the Proudly SA launch of its new online store RSA Made. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

Magubane who has since also partnered with a Chinese tourism group where he sells 140 bags of coffee to them every time they have tourists who visit the country.

“Proudly SA has helped a lot with access to market. Recently we were funded with machinery through government support. In South Africa when you support this platform, you help create jobs. Your buying spend goes a long way because we can then be able to change our thinking. I’m not saying we must boycott other products but let us do best and market and support local in order for us to thrive and change our economy.”

Mashimbye said long term they planned to rival other sites.

‘’It’s important to educate the public to buy local. The biggest challenge is finding the products. There is a need for a database.”

The site works on the same basis as any other online shopping store, with a  product selection and check out sequence, with door to door delivery within 48 hours within SA borders.