PC makers help redefine Proudly SA

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The Proudly South African (PSA) campaign has asked for submissions from PC hardware manufacturers and assemblers, to help it clear up and redefine the criteria for PSA membership and product certification.

This comes after Pinnacle Micro criticised an announcement by international PC vendor, HP, that its product, d230, had PSA status. That claim was subsequently corrected.

Martin Feinstein, CEO of PSA, says a number of issues gave rise to having to revisit accreditation in this sector. "One is the achievability of the 50% local content threshold set for PC hardware manufacture and assembly. Many PC components are not made in SA. It simply doesn`t make sense to set such a high threshold if it cannot be met," he says. "We agreed to revisit this requirement."

An example of a revised "local content" criterion exists in the automotive industry, which now requires 30%.

Axiz, which launched the HP d230 PC, assembled by PSA member Matomo Technologies, says the product does not claim PSA status, but it features Proudly South African content (PSA-accredited Kalliba memory). "We fully support and embrace the Proudly South African campaign," says Patrick Reeves, d230 product manager.

Another issue for PSA consideration concerns local versus global PC brands. "It is not always correct to say that a local brand employs more people or features more local components," says Feinstein. "Many global brands employ a lot of people and invest a lot of money and resources, in terms of corporate social responsibility and otherwise."

The process

The upshot of the uncertainty was an accreditation workshop in recent weeks. "All the key players in PC hardware, including both local and global brands, were present," says Feinstein. "They were given an opportunity to propose ways to change sector-specific accreditation but still allow PSA to remain true to its objectives."

Interested parties have until the end of this week to submit proposals. Everyone present agreed with the process, and the SA Bureau of Standards, also attending, will help evaluate submissions, for eventual publication of a revised set of accreditation criteria. These will concern local content, quality and labour practice.

Although Feinstein does not yet have a complete body of submissions, he says many factors need clarification (such as the question whether repatriation of profits is taken into account) and many different permutations of players exist in the market, eg global vendors that do not manufacture locally but invest here, vendors that assemble via outsourced partners (such as HP through Matomo Technologies), and so on.

"It may be that we end up with not one single set of criteria or categories, but that we certify PSA products, services and companies."

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