The Clicks Group, owners of Clicks stores, and United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD) have committed to increase spending on small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa and their support for local beauty, hair care brands and other products, as the businesses make concessions after a massive racial fallout.
The department of small business development on Thursday said the undertaking was made by Clicks Group chief executive Vikesh Ramsunder at a meeting with the minister of small business development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and a senior delegation from her department, as well as representatives from the small enterprise development agency (Seda), and the small enterprise finance agency (Sefa).
Ramsunder apologised for the “insensitive” advert. “I am humbled and encouraged by our interaction with the honourable minister as I believe that we can jointly find a constructive solution to this regrettable incident,” Ramsunder said, adding that he was devastated by the insensitive material.
The fallout in South Africa over the publication of a racially offensive advert for a hair product by TRESemmé on Clicks’ digital platforms continues. The material originated from the supplier Unilever, the makers of TRESemmé. The product has since been removed from Clicks shelves.
Clicks said it will now use the shelf space created by the removal of TRESemmé to support more local brands.
In a joint statement with the department of small business development, Clicks said its preferential procurement spend currently stands at 50.2 percent and in 2019 spending on suppliers stood at R26.7 billion.
Clicks also committed to involve their supplier base to mentor SMMEs across the company’s value chain.
Ntshavheni noted that this preferential procurement spend includes spending on large, established but not fully empowered companies and does not add to building an inclusive economy. She added that her department will assist Clicks to focus on SMMEs, which are owned by black people, women, the youth and people with disabilities.
The minister committed her department and its agencies to assist SMMEs that potentially can supply the Clicks Group, with compliance to product quality, safety standards and regulatory requirements including assistance to upscale their manufacturing capacity.
“The department of small business development and Clicks Group have put in place a working team to finalise the implementation plan and monitor the progress on specific focus areas.
“The focus areas include both short, medium and long term measures,” according to the joint statement.
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