SA Trade Accord Sounds Warning Bells For Zimbabwe

The South African Government has established the South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC) which will be supported by companies who are the largest producers of goods and services in that country’s vibrant economy.

Munyaradzi Hwengwere, General Manager of the “Buy Zimbabwe Campaign” said the GNU should now move quickly and smoothly and enforce the TNF objectives before Zimbabwe is left on the wayside by South Africa, its largest trading partner.

On October 31, the SA Government signed the NGP, an Accord aimed at promoting local procurement by firms based in that country.

Under the Accord that is meant to accelerate the creation of five million new jobs by 2020, as well as the attainment of a “strong and vibrant industrial policy”, the social partners in SA aspire to achieve a 75 percent localisation in the procurement of goods and services.

The Accord shows that this would be done by both the public and private sectors in South Africa.

“This Accord sets out the first steps we take together to move to the attainment of that target (75 Percent), the document says.

It was signed by the SA Government, labour, business, and civic society on Monday, October 31, and is already binding with some issues to be implemented as early as December 7, this year.

Commenting on the Accord, Hwengwere said: “Of major importance in the Accord is a provision calling for 75 percent local procurement, with the programmes earmarked to begin this year.

“If South Africa, which has a much stronger economy than Zimbabwe, is now taking these steps to protect itself from cheap imports and save jobs, what more of us who need to do more to revive our local industry.”

He continued: “Perhaps this is a wake up call for our country to do more to help our local industry recover.

“I don’t know what you all think, but this should ring warning bells to us here for delays in activating the Tripartite National Forum arrangements and getting our own act together.”

Hwengwere is former Chief Executive of the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), currently the nation’s sole broadcaster.

He now leads the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign whose mandate is for local companies to buy local goods and avoid those from other countries including South Africa.

According to the Accord which is in our possession, the first high level meeting for all partners will be held by June 2012.

“Constituents may be requested to provide progress reports prior to this date and meetings to prepare for implementation and to assess progress with the interim deadlines set in this Accord that  might  be held sooner than June, 2012,” the Accord says.

It says there will be a High Level Committee, with senior representatives from each constituency which will meet every six months.

“Social partners commit to a National Campaign in partnership with ‘Proudly South Africa’, to create awareness on the economy with benefits of buying locally manufactured products.

“The potential benefits of economic growth, job creation, income generation and the competitiveness of South African products will be highlighted to business enterprises, workers and consumers.”

Already 15 South African companies, some of which are listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE), with an approximate market turnover of 350 billion South African Rands, have already pledged their support.

The Accord said by 2012 25 companies were targeted by the South African Government.