In August 2017 I was privileged to attend three events, each one serving a different customer base in Gauteng.
The first event I attended was a presentation to almost all African countries and a few not. The theme was digitisation and using the internet in order to make their department service easier and lot friendlier. The department in question was the DTI arm known as CIPC (Centre for Intellectual Property commission) who deal with the registration of companies for the South African market. The CIPC in conjunction with the World Bank were informing foreign states on the success of the implementation of the online method of registering companies. It was interesting to hear that some African countries had tried to implement some method whilst others had not considered it. There are hurdles that the commission has to face.
What concerned me most at the meeting was the lack of African representation for the online solutions despite a company such as ZWBDC being in the IT market for 32 years and not being awarded a single contract. Whilst a foreign entity presented their services to the commission.
The following day I attended a presentation and panel discussions on Business Rescue. Now in its advance stage this commission is presented to help struggling business in South Africa to deal with issues before they come to court by putting in auditors or legal persons as managers to halt and define business issues. Though very interesting it is not practical. Most South African business’s facing a downturn which leads to them closing don’t want help because of the various reasons.
The week ended with a desire to attend the SARDA show at Gallagher Convention centre.
SARCDA promotes itself as being the largest and only trade exhibition of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere with as many as 700 exhibitors annually and almost 20 000 Trade Visitors annually which is not true considering there is a huge trade show almost every two months in South Africa. It also claims to attract Wholesalers, Importers and Manufacturers, both local and international however this year it was wholly South African stall holders. SARCDA prides itself in its database of Retail trade Buyers built up over 47 years. They claim to be constantly using the latest technology to reach buyers who have been loyal supporters of SARCDA over the years. SARCDA started off as a Pharmacy Exhibition in the 1960's, when pharmacies ventured into the gift-line. SARCDA used to be an acronym for the South African Retail Chemists and Druggist Association. Information taken from their website So what happened this year?
ZWBDC has for years attended SARCDA as the company works in the space of promoting small business, championing South Africa and runs a stall. They expected to be on the database. However on reaching the sign in point for the show was demanded to hand over CK proof documents. This is highly illegal as the POPPI act would take precedence in court on this issue stating that it is a request for personal information.
Automation is what SARCDA did not understand as they turned customer away from the show again and again. The stall holders had asked for only bona fide companies to be allowed into the show as the previous year they had to deal with housewives wanting products at cost price in ones and two’s. SARCDA did their best to meet the request but did it wrong. They asked for physical documentation instead of using automation systems. As I stood in the que I watched people being turned away, eventually it was my turn and I bore the same fate thus totalling 20 people in a matter of 30 minutes. Stall holders complained bitterly of bad sales and a waste of desperately needed finance in a difficult economy on their stall.