The Deputy Director-General for Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Sipho Zikode says programmes such as the Workplace Challenge Proogramme can be utilised to tackle the 4th Industrial Revolution in preventing manual job losses. Zikode was addressing stakeholders during Workplace Challenge Programme 20-year celebrations hosted at one of the companies that implemented the programme, Natpro Spicenet in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Workplace Challenge Programme is a two-year programme implemented amongst South African companies operating in the manufacturing sector to improve their productivity and competitiveness with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of jobs. Zikode says “The Workplace Challenge Programme be utilised to assist newly established Black Industrialists beneficiaries to expand their businesses and also to assist in their production processes, and to improve their manufacturing competitiveness.
The co-owner of Natpro Spicenet, Ms Tracy Shipman said with more than thirty-years in the business they are proud to be able celebrate the outcome of the programme at their factory. Shipman says Natpro started out as a dry fruit manufacturer and have expended into their own branded retail stores known as Amaphelephele. She says the valuable experience they have gained with the Workplace Challenge Programme has really provided them with the opportunity to fully understand their product and as well as their customer needs.
The Workplace Challenge Programme is a programme of the dti and is managed by Productivity SA. Over the past three financial years a total of 1 797 companies ranging from small to large corporates participated in the Workplace Challenge Programme and over 143 429 jobs were sustained. The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity SA says the” Workplace Challenge Programme is fundamental for economic growth on the continent”.