There has been a general consensus among retailers that a need for unified retail body that will strengthen retailer’s position and voice in the industry is more urgent now than ever. Pressing challenges facing the retail industry as a whole include: a fragmented retail representation to key stakeholders; and duplication of efforts and costs. Following a process of engaging different stakeholders in the retail sector regarding the need for a unified retail body, the CGCSA acted swiftly by establishing such body as a new unit within the CGCSA.
This new body, called the South African Retail Council (SARC), is therefore a direct response to retailers need and for that reason SARC will focus on issues pertaining to retailers’ interests.
As a collective voice for the industry SARC will shape the environment in which retail business takes place in South Africa. Fundamentally, SARC will focus on two particular areas as impacting on the retail industry:
- Economic & legislative Affairs; and
- Labour Relations.
Economic & Legislative Affairs
The key focus in this regard will be to achieve the following objectives:
- Provide a single, active and leading Voice for retail industry;
- Engage in debates and discussions of legislation drafting which will impact on retailers;
- Endow a platform to our members to give direct input into the South Africa’s legislative and regulatory frameworks;
- Make SARC a first port of call for key stakeholders; and
- Increase the value of representation and amplifying retailer’s voice while mitigating the costs of doing so.
As South Africa’s biggest employers, SARC’s mandate with regards to labour relations would be to work with the government on labour issues especially regarding transformation and equity compliance. In addition to the objectives under economic and legislative affairs, SARC will be responsible for the following:
- Co-ordinate industry position and engage the government on Employment Equity compliance, including BBBEE;
- Engage FSB on the changes to section 17(1) (b) of the FAIS Act;
- Co-ordinate industry position on compliance with the recent worker training layoff scheme proposed by the government; and
- Present submissions on broader government legal and regulatory framework on labour.
All retailers, as members of SARC, would enjoy the following benefits:
- Advocacy: members would enjoy a single voice in the industry to government and other key stakeholders;
- Networking: members would enjoy a platform for networking opportunities through seminars, workshops and conferences. Through such networking members get an opportunity to learn and build relationships; and
- Information and Resources: regular updates on industry position statements, policy papers or briefings and government submissions.
As a unit within the CGCSA, SARC will enjoy the benefit of sharing the existing infrastructure and well established resources currently enjoyed by CGCSA. Members to SARC will also enjoy participation in other programs operating within CGCSA, hence avoiding the costs of establishing and maintaining SARC being passed on to members. SARC will be led by a full-time employed Executive who will be on CGCSA’s payroll, reporting directly to the CGCSA’s CEO.
Positive Industry Response on SARC
Ever since the conception of the newly unified retail body, the response from retailers has been inspiring. As a result CGCSA has begun the process of processing membership matters and preparations for launching the SARC. Membership to SARC is opened to all retailers in South Africa and interested retailers can click the following links for SARC’s Proposal document and Membership applications forms. Membership fee, which is turnover based, ranges from R2 000 to R50 000. The launch of this retail body will be toward the end of March 2010.
- SA Retail Council
- Application for Membership SARC