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PRESS RELEASES

STATEMENT BY THE MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS.

The City of Cape Town welcomes National Government’s decision to allow call centres that provide essential services to local and international markets to operate during the lockdown. These exemptions apply to companies that provide support services relating to health, social support, government and financial services.

Cape Town has a high representation of local and international Business Processing Outsource (BPO) companies, which employ 29 0000 people via call centres and mainly work in utilities, transport and telecommunications services. This includes those that fall under the exemption category.

Through our strategic business partner BPESA Western Cape, we are working with industry to identify innovative practices to combat present challenges.

These options include providing remote skills training for beneficiaries who are currently training, to avoid classroom contact and exposure but still provide a steady pipeline of skilled workers for the sector which we identified as a high growth sector.

We are also engaging with companies regarding alternative arrangements for workers to provide suitable sites, including work from home solutions where possible.

We are further providing support services through the City’s Business Hub providing real-time support and advice to our local businesses and industry. We encourage businesses to send their questions to business.support@capetown.gov.za or supportbusiness@wesgro.co.za.

Through engaging various forums, we can share best practices among the operators with the wellbeing of staff at the forefront of the discussions. BPESA Western Cape is also in communication with the national body to ensure National alignment with the BPO sector.

The BPO sector is vital to the city’s economy as it provides job opportunities to young people and contributes to the growth of the economy, which is currently under pressure.

One of my priorities is to ensure that the high growth sectors receive support during this period and beyond. My job now is to use all levers at my disposal, to work with our business partners, provincial and national government to assist businesses to get through the crisis we now face. Through the support of BPeSA Western Cape, I have the opportunity to personally engage with the critical stakeholders in the industry, through these interventions we ensure that Cape Town stays the go-to City on the African continent and globally for Technology, Business and Trade and the BPO sector. I actively participate in discussions to lobby for call centre companies to choose Cape Town to create jobs for locals and more recently my announcement of the establishment a dedicated skills programme that will provide training and workplace experience specifically for the BPO sector.

For the last five years, the City of Cape Town’s investment in the BPO Sector, through its strategic business partner BPESA Western Cape, has generated an investment of over R4,7 billion. The sector currently employs over 59 000 people in the Western Cape of which 29 000 service the international community. Over the past five years, the partnership has secured 19 604 jobs in Cape Town alone.

We want to encourage the businesses that are operating under the exemption to ensure that they function optimally, through the implementation of innovative practices, while practising personal hygiene measures and social distancing. These measures are necessary to continue to provide essential services to organisations operating locally and internationally.

End

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Cell: 076 277 3351, Email: james.vos@capetown.gov.za (always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)

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