Clicks Group chief executive officer Vikesh Ramsunder made the undertaking during a meeting held with Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and a senior delegation from the department on Thursday.
Representatives from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) also attended yesterday's meeting. The meeting follows the publication of a racially offensive advert for a hair product by TRESemmé on Clicks’s digital platforms.
During the meeting, Ramsunder reiterated the Clicks Group’s apology to the Minister, noting that the material was insensitive. “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.
The hair product, which originated from the supplier Unilever, the makers of TRESemmé, 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.
Clicks's preferential procurement spend currently stands at 50.2 % and in 2019, spending on suppliers stood at R26.7bn. Clicks has also committed to involve its 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.
“The department will assist Clicks to focus on SMMEs which are owned by black women, the youth and people with disabilities. We want Clicks Group to contribute to the localisation drive of government by placing more South African products on their shelves,” Ntshavheni said.
The Minister also committed her department and agencies to assist SMMEs with potential to 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 the Clicks Group have further 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.
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