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State to push call-centre industry

The government plans to aggressively market to the world its specialist call centre industry to draw new investment and create thousands of jobs for local youth, says Minister of Trade, Industry & Competition Ebrahim Patel.

“We are now thinking of more actively marketing these business services whenever we have these state visits by the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] to other countries,” Patel said.

“Recently, when the president went to New York for the meeting of the UN General Assembly, we engaged a number of businesses there and some of them were call centre businesses in the US.”

Patel said that during the Covid lockdown his department created regulations to pandemic-proof local call centres so they could continue operating.

“We made a special arrangement. We published a special set of regulations during Covid that allow enhanced measures by call centres for social distancing, sanitation, cleaning of equipment and so on.”

People in countries such as the UK, US and Germany who call service providers in banking, IT or health services receive support from call centres in South Africa, Patel said.

He added that his department had a R3bn programme that covered more than 30,000 workers in the sector.

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