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South Africa: Investing in Productivity Improvement for Enterprise Competitiveness is Critical

June 07, 2018

Polokwane Chemical Suppliers, a 100% black-owned manufacturer of cleaning detergents is proof that the Workplace Challenge Programme (WPC) is working and every company should consider enrolling 

PRETORIA, South Africa, June 7, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- It is imperative to invest in productivity improvement for the competitiveness of small businesses. This is a sector that the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has targeted for broadening economic participation. This was said by the Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the dti, Mr Sipho Zikode. Zikode was speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Workplace Challenge Programme (WPC). The celebration ceremony was organised by the dti, in partnership with Productivity South Africa under the theme Ensuring Sustainability for South African Enterprises.
According to Zikode, the WPC is a key programme that the dti is implementing through the Industrial Policy Action Plan amongst South African enterprises in the manufacturing sector to improve their productivity and competitiveness with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of jobs. This he said, would broaden their participation in the economy resulting in their participation in the global economy.

“The programme is a productivity and competitiveness enhancement intervention at Small, Medium and Micro-sised Enterprises in the manufacturing sector, with this programme we want to reduce inefficiencies in production which may adversely affect the growth and development of SMMEs. We want to reduce production costs, enhance quality, reduce wastage, improve safety in the work environment, and create more jobs,” said Zikode.

The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity South Africa, Mr Mothunye Mothiba described the WPC as a programme that has yielded positive results. He said over 1400 enterprises have participated in the programme since its inception in 1998.

With this programme, we have seen improved turnovers, improved staff morale, cost of goods going down and companies becoming productive and competitive. Management and workers are now talking with each other on productive issues. We plan to increase the number of companies enrolling in the programme from 100 to more than 200 per annum. Once we have more companies enrolling in the programme, we will see an economy that will generate more income, create more jobs and alleviate poverty,” said Mothiba.

Mothiba added that while companies grow, become productive and competitive everyone must take note that the benefits must be shared amongst the management and employees.

“Working together we should start talking about a living wage rather than minimum wage by 2030, ” stressed Mothiba.

Polokwane Chemical Suppliers, a 100% black-owned manufacturer of cleaning detergents is proof that the WPC is working and every company should consider enrolling. According to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Walter Mampane, the company was introduced to WPC Programme in 2009 and has improved in terms of staff morale, number of employees, turnover, productivity and competitiveness.

“To date we employ 99 people from the 31 we employed in 2009 when we enrolled with WPC,” echoed Mampane.

The Workplace Challenge Programme is a programme of the dti and is managed by Productivity SA. In its lifetime the Workplace Challenge Programme has sustained over 143 429 jobs. The host company, Polokwane Chemical Suppliers, is one of the beneficiaries of the programme.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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