Chairman Reports

Chairman of SAFLEC
Sanjay Pattundeen Chairman of SAFLEC

SAFLEC continues channeling resources and efforts focused on AFRICA. Total exports have grown from 2.9 m pairs to 3.2 m pairs, an 18.3% increase in pairs and just over 25% in value. Zimbabwe is still by far the largest export destination followed by Zambia. Interestingly, exports into Africa makes up 88% of all footwear exported!.

SAFLEC’s main aim is to facilitate growing of Footwear Exports. Through continuous interaction with various stakeholders, we are able to develop and enhance our export promotion strategy. Africa will continue being the primary focus area; while at the same time evaluate opportunities in Europe and USA. At a recent strategic meeting members together with the board mapped out an 18 month promotion / exhibition plan. We are targeting, one export promotion activity each month of the year (except December).

Government is an important partner to SAFLEC. As a Section 21 company and as a part of government requirements of export councils, SAFLEC has complied fully. All reports are submitted and the financials are fully audited. The new Memorandum of Agreement with the DTI has been signed along with a footwear specific Terms of Reference document.

We are all aware of the various DTI funding available. Funding that support local exporting initiatives. SAFLEC plans and assists member to access these funding. There are numerous exhibitions and outward selling missions coming up. We will seek DTI’s various fundings. Members are urged to submit documents timeously.

SAFLEC, as a Section 21 company has been audited by Marwick & Co, for the March 2013 financial year end. They were satisfied with the audits. The detailed Audited Financial Report will be presented later.

Paul Theron’s executive role in SAFLEC is coming to an end, due to retirement. He officially finishes off at the end of August. Paul has served SAFLEC well and we will miss him. On behalf of SAFLEC’s board and members, I wish to thank Paul and wish him well in his retirement. The Board viewed this timing as a good opportunity to appoint a full-time executive manager. Nerisha Jairaj has been the new appointee. She has officially commenced work on the 1st August 2014. I am sure Nerisha would be warmly welcomed in her role as the new executive Manager of SAFLEC. With support from the Board and SAFLEC’s members, Nerisha will ensure all aims and objectives are met with certainty.

In conclusion, a huge thank you to Louise who efficiently organises SAFLEC’s export promotion activities. In addition, she performs all the secretarial duties of SAFLEC. The Board appreciates your contribution. Finally, thank you to the Board members for attending meetings and helping drive SAFLEC to meet its objective.

It has been yet another busy year for SAFLEC! From Exhibitions, to meetings with members of government, as well as finalising the process of making SAFLEC an independent business unit. The relocation to new offices in Westville, Durban was complete (it was sad to part company with SAFLIA). Please make an effort to visit the new office. Nerisha and Louise will happily receive you.

I feel it’s appropriate and as a mark of respect to mention that we are deeply saddened by the passing away of two dear members, Zane Zwart and Dave Bromfield. Zane from Ubergruvi was a respected member. Our thoughts and prayers are with Milton, Ashley and the rest of the Zwart family.  Dave Bromfield was a director of APECO and a Director on SAFLEC Board. Dave had dedicated over 40 years to the industry and had been a pillar of strength and knowledge to SAFLEC, its Board and staff.  SAFLEC expresses our deepest condolences to Dave’s wife, Morag and their two children.

May GOD give the Zwart and Bromfield families’ strength.

There has been renewed and increased interest and participation in SAFLEC activities. We have also extended membership to include the bag and belt sector. A few of them joined the footwear manufacturers in several outward selling missions in the past year. SAFLEC’s main aim is to facilitate growing of Footwear Exports. Through continuous interaction with various stakeholders, we are able to develop and enhance our export promotion strategy. While we have presented ourselves in UK and Middle-East (and soon Russia in September 2015, and USA next February), Africa will continue being the primary focus area.

Exports grew from 3.2 m pairs to 4.03 m pairs, a 25% increase in pairs. Zimbabwe is still by far the largest export destination followed by Zambia. With more interest from South African manufacturers participating in export promotions, I am confident, the 2015 year will see an even higher percentage increase in exports, in both pairs and value.

In a DTI and Chinese government organised project, SAFLEC was asked to nominate prospective students from its members for a 90 day fully paid for course in design and manufacturing in China.

All names were taken through to a shortlisting process and 30 lucky students were sent to China for the course that began in June. We await some positive feedback on their return.

The DTI, Team Export South Africa conference was held between in June 2015 in Pretoria. SAFLEC had the opportunity to present challenges to Minister Rob Davies.  SAFLEC, was publically complimented for its efforts in the strides that it has made for its members and Footwear and Leather,

We are all aware of the various DTI funding available, including support for local exporting initiatives. SAFLEC plans and assists member to access these funding. On this note we are exploring engaging a full time person to tap into various funding available, not only for export promotion  but funding  to enhance capacity building in all disciplines of business.

As a matter of fact the DTI support for local manufacture is indeed such a good one our fellow SADC neighbours (Zimbabwe and Zambia) have engaged with us, enquiring about the processes and structures involved. In the long term the final outcome would be to contain most if not all footwear manufacturing in SADC region and ultimately in Africa. We need to engage and lobby Government, motivating them to see the value (especially in employment creation).

Government is an important partner to SAFLEC. As a Section 21 company and as a part of government requirements of export councils, SAFLEC has complied fully. All reports are submitted and the financials are fully audited.

Marwick & Co, were the auditors again for the March 2015 financial year end. They were satisfied with the audits.

It is almost a year since Nerisha Jairaj, the Executive Manager of SAFLEC, has been appointed. She settled in quite nicely and delivered. The board is quite pleased and certain that those that have worked with her agree. Nerisha is indeed a valuable asset to SAFLEC. She has engaged successfully with all stakeholders and ensured Saflec reached its goals.

Huge thanks to you as well Louise who efficiently takes care of the financial administration.  In addition, she performs all the secretarial duties of SAFLEC. The Board appreciates both of your contributions. Ladies, you really make my task as chairperson a pleasurable one. Finally, thank you to the Board members for attending meetings and helping drive SAFLEC to meet its objective. I look forward to working with the new board. Together with Nerisha and Louise we will continue experiencing high export growth

Chairman of SAFLEC
Sanjay Pattundeen Chairman of SAFLEC

Each year just gets busier than the previous. This year was no exception. In fact, SAFLEC has exposed its members to Europe, USA and Middle East. The move to new offices in Westville was completed, and everyone is settled. With the increase in activities, it was necessary to employ an additional staff member. A warm welcome to Prenisha, who I am sure many of you are aware of and spoken to or have received one of her many e-mails. With regards our new offices, if you have not already done so, please make an effort to visit. Nerisha, Louise or Prenisha will happily receive you. Not surprisingly the interest in wanting to participate in SAFLEC activities continues to increase. SAFLEC’s main aim is to facilitate growing of Footwear and Leather Exports and through continuous interaction with various stakeholders, we continue to develop and enhance our export promotion strategy. While we have presented ourselves in Europe and USA and other non-African countries, Africa remains the largest export destination.

There are some concerns regarding export figures. We continue to work closely with SARS in this regard. With considerable effort the relevant export information had to be re-analised and recalculated. Interestingly Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, (BLNS Region), is part of the export figures. SA national chains have outlets in this region. Goods sent from these chains are recorded as exports. The challenge is what percentage is SA manufactured and what percentage is imported and sent across the borders. Unfortunately,
with a different approach to the compilations this year, comparing with previous years may be inaccurate.

The Trade Exhibition to Las Vegas early this year was a very fruitful one. We are aware that exporting to USA and most European destinations is not an overnight accomplishment. It will however take continuous effort and perseverance to achieve desired goals. In this regard Nerisha has yet again displayed her talented networking skills. You would have been updated on the status via SAFLEC NEWSFLASH.

REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN

Numerous contacts have been made with important footwear organisations in the USA. The SA government embassies, and FER’s are also actively communicating and assisting with the networking process. Among the many positive outcomes, I must mention FDRA, which is the Footwear, Distributors and Retailers Association in the USA.

This association represents mostly, if not all, the major retailers and distributors in the USA. The FDRA Board members are the Presidents and CEO’s of major companies to who SAFLEC exposed the SA manufacturing industry. In May 2016, Nerisha attended the FDRA’s conference held in Washington. With more networking, SA has been further exposed. We hope to sooner rather than later have the first inward buying mission from the USA.

The SA Government is an important partner to SAFLEC. As a Section 21 company and as a part of government requirements of export councils, SAFLEC has complied fully. All reports are submitted and the financials are fully audited.

Marwick & Co were the auditors for the March 2016 financial year end. The approved detailed audited financials are available. The summarised financial situation is in the AGM report. The board is satisfied with the income and expenses.

The large surplus reflected in the financials is as a result of the DTI funding that was paid into our account in the 2016 financial year, although the contra expense was incurred in 2015 financial year end. Hence the deficit in 2015, and large surplus in 2016.

It is almost 2 years that Nerisha Jairaj has joined SAFLEC. Her contribution and performance has been outstanding. On behalf of the board and SAFLEC members I thank Nerisha. It was for this reason the board decided to promote her to Executive Director of SAFLEC. With continued support from the Board and SAFLEC’s members, Nerisha will ensure all aims and objectives are met with certainty.

In conclusion, a huge thanks you to Louise who efficiently and ever willingly executes the financial and administration functions of SAFLEC. The Board appreciates your contribution.

It has been a very rewarding experience to serve as Chairman of the SAFLEC board. I sincerely thank my fellow board members for all your contributions, for attending meetings and helping drive SAFLEC to successfully meet its objective. To the new board members, congratulations and I wish you well in taking SAFLEC to greater heights.