Posted: April 23, 2021
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has praised an KwaZulu-Natal company for being a shining example in local procurement and urged other companies to emulate them. Gina an Escourt-based shoe-manufacturing company, Bata in Loskop, outside Escourt today.
The visit was part of national Siyahlola Programme of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) which Gina has been leading in KZN since Monday when she visited the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and will end with a visit to women-owned clothing and textile company in eMsinga tomorrow.
The purpose of the programme is to assess progress made in the implementation of the Special Economic Zones Programme, Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme, and the sector-specific Master Plans that are part of the re-imagined national industrial development strategy.
The Managing Director of Bata, Mr Michael Wyatt, told Gina that Bata the South African chapter of the international company produces four million 100% South African made pairs of shoes at their Loskop manufacturing factory per year and distribute them in six African countries.
The company, which established its presence in South Africa in 1983, provides employment to more than 500 people at the Loskop factory. More than 90% of the employees are women. Bata is also in a partnership with five businesses that are producing exclusively for it. The companies employ 1 500 people.
Bata has received financial support of over R65 million from the incentives schemes of the dtic over a period of ten years. Wyatt said the support has enabled the company to buy machinery, improve safety of the factory, expand production and increase employees.
“As government we are really impressed by what is happening in this company and we pride ourselves in being associated with a company that practices what we constantly preach and are a perfect example of what we want to see happening throughout the country, which is local procurement and localisation. Manufacturing of Proudly South African products, with 100% all inputs being sourced or produced inside the country is one of the things that government believes will contribute immensely in growing the economy, creating jobs, increasing exports, empowering small and medium businesses and eradicating poverty,” said Gina.
Gina also showered the company with praises for managing to stay open during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are aware that many companies have had to cease production due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the country’s economy. The fact that you managed to continue with production, even though you had to adjust by implementing short time and shift work, is commendable. We together with your employees are happy that no jobs were lost in the company as a result of Covid-19,” added Gina.
Wyatt said avoided retrenchments by using the Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme, loans, short time and shift work to keep all the company’s staff employed.
Gina also said Bata was well-positioned to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) as they are already exporting their products to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. To this end, Wyatt indicated that the company has initiated a new project that will see Bata extending its export footprint to countries as far as East Africa.
“The Afcta will open unlimited opportunities for companies like Bata. We are happy that you are already a foot ahead in terms of playing meaningfully in the African market. We encourage other companies to identify opportunities that will also enable them to expand their market,” said Gina.
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina with Factory Manager: Mr Ajamal Muhammad and Managing Director, Mr Michael Wyatt, during the site visit at the Bata Shoe-manufacturing factory in Loskop, near Escourt in KwaZulu-Natal.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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