A dedicated face mask marketplace went live on the Proudly South African (SA) website on Friday, April 24.
The initiative is designed to assist South African individuals and companies to source locally made fabric face masks, and to enable the country’s clothing and textile sector to retain jobs.
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that all passengers travelling on public transport will be required to wear a mask and that it is recommended that everyone else wear a non-medical mask outside their homes, it is imperative that there is a reliable, easily available source of locally made masks, says Proudly SA.
The concept of the portal arose from discussions between the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and The Manufacturing Circle around steps that could be taken to align initiatives underway in the clothing and textile manufacturing industry with the needs of the public and business.
These included a collective agreement at the clothing bargaining council to galvanise the textile industry to produce more personal protective equipment items.
All companies listed on the new Proudly SA site have confirmed with the clothing bargaining council that they are genuine manufacturers producing locally made fabric masks, supporting local jobs and operating under conditions that promote the health and safety of workers, among other things, says Proudly SA.
In order to help consumers select masks, the portal also provides a link to fabric mask guidelines published by the DTIC.
The site also links corporate buyers with mask producers.
It is also hoped that companies that are currently using or issuing medical-grade masks to their workers would consider making these available to those fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, and rather purchase these alternative, approved masks for their workers, adds Proudly SA.
The Proudly SA mask website displays the details of the manufacturer, pictures of the masks, the company’s production capacity a week and unit costs.
It advances local manufacturing and jobs over imports and provides the consumer with price, as well as product, transparency, notes Proudly SA.
Any company not complying with these requirements and others will be removed from the site. All manufacturers are required to register before they appear on the site.
“This initiative is an effort to support a sector of our economy that is able to meet the current pressing demand for face masks,” says Proudly SA CEO Eustace Mashimbye.
“It is imperative that we support local businesses, which have the capacity to produce sufficient masks to meet the country’s needs. We call on all corporates and retailers to use the portal to source their masks and to liberate any medical grade stock back to essential services.”
Corporate buyers/consumers can visit https://www.proudlysa.co.za/covid_19/covid_19.php#, while manufacturers wishing to register on the portal can email their interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.