When conducting business with the people of central South Africa, you are likely to find that a handshake often holds just as much value as a signed and sealed contract. It is this caliber of business ethic, value and service that we are showcasing with the OFM Good Business Guide.
During my time as GM of OFM, the sound of your life, I have had the pleasure of dealing with a diverse array of businesses and have come to realise what it means to do business in central South Africa.
It is more than the fact that the region is recognised as a mining powerhouse. Big gold, platinum and diamond mines in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape contribute significantly to the country's annual GDP. The industry is a massive employment contributor and also provides spinoff business to smaller and medium enterprises. A report in Business Day
quoted the Chamber of Mines as saying platinum alone contributes 4.1% of South Africa's GDP, with the bulk being mined in the platinum belt in Rustenburg by the world's three largest players - Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala.
Mittal Steel, part of the international steel giant Arcelor Mittal and direct descendant of the former Iscor, is also a prominent player in the region, with steel works in Vereeniging and Vanderbijl Park. Energy and chemical company Sasol was meanwhile originally established at its namesake town Sasolburg in the Free State. According to Wikipedia, Sasol is the largest corporate taxpayer in South Africa.
Looking at agriculture, the Free State produces some 70% of South Africa's grain product, mainly maize, wheat and sunflower seed. North West is renowned for its massive game farming industry, as well as stock farming, while the Northern Cape, for example, is a massive exporter of grapes. To facilitate immediate movement of fresh produce around the world, the airport at Upington boasts one of the longest runways in the world, some 4,900 metres in length.
In addition, the region holds massive tourism appeal, ranging from the picture perfect scenery in the Eastern Free State, to extreme sport opportunities in the Northern Cape to a truly South African bushveld experience in North West.
There is also a strong manufacturing presence. Two of the largest pre-owned vehicle meccas are located in CSA, namely at Vanderbijl Park and Klerksdorp, while year-after-year, dealerships across the region feature prominently in national awards ceremonies.
Central South Africa is more than just the geographic heart of the country - it is a place imbued with its own unique heart and soul. This is why we bring you the OFM Good Business Guide, a selection of trusted businesses across central South Africa.
These are businesses that offer great service and value for money. Whether it is a far-flung outlet of a popular franchise brand, or a mom-and-pop store that has been serving a community for generations - these are businesses with which you can build relationships. Businesses you can trust.