An online furniture portal, which will showcase the sector’s capabilities, has been launched.
The portal, which is hosted on Proudly South African’s website www.proudlysa.co.za, is a collaboration between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) and Proudly South African.
This, according to Proudly South African, is in response to the growing demand for locally manufactured furniture items and to make the sourcing of genuine local producers easier.
The site is currently being populated with qualifying local furniture companies and will be a listing where retailers, architects, property developers and consumers can find what they are looking for.
Speaking at Wednesday’s virtual launch, the dtic’s Tsholofelo Motaung said the department had developed policy and programmes to enhance the furniture industry. This, said Motaung, was to nurture design capabilities as well as raise the image of South Africa in the furniture industry.
Twenty years ago, the furniture sector in South Africa employed 50 000 people in 3 500 manufacturing plants. Today it supports around 20 000 direct jobs in just over 1 000 factories.
Raw material inputs provide indirect jobs to many more thousands of people, from fabrics and wood to steel, paint and much more.
Eustace Mashimbye, chief executive officer of Proudly South African, said the success of the portals introduced in 2020, primarily in response to Covid-19 requirements of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), had highlighted the importance of having one central database of suppliers and how this could make buying local much easier.
“The value of the furniture industry in South Africa is enormous, and we want to tap into the procurement of furniture - especially by corporate South Africa. This portal will be a place to which we can drive demand,” Mashimbye said.
“It is evident that selling and shopping online has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and has now changed consumer behaviour. What we saw in 2020 is only going to continue post pandemic,” said dtic deputy minister Nomalumgelo Gina.
“These changes aren’t a way simply to make it through, they’re permanent and are redefining what a meaningful retail experience could look like,” she said.
The furniture industry is set to benefit from the Furniture Industry Master Plan which was launched recently.
It was established to set clear guidelines and targets for the furniture manufacturing industry as well as guide public sector procurement as part of government’s efforts to support and stimulate the industry. – SAnews.gov.za