Cape Town is becoming a hot destination for the call centre sector, with an announcement of further investments and the creation of many more jobs.

Capita, one of the Western Cape’s largest call centre operations has announced that it has invested R500-million into the regional economy. It has set up a call centre in the centre of Cape Town, with leading UK mobile phone company, 02, as a key client. 02 had more than one-million customers in the UK.

Capita South Africa MD Franco Cotumaccio told Engineering News Online that the company planned to employ hundreds more people in call centres in the city over the next year. Capita also had Amazon and Bloomberg as its clients.

The South African call centre sector had also been buoyed by two recent awards, which it hoped would lead to more international contracts.

The country recently scooped the ‘European Outsourcing Association Destination of the Year Award’ at a ceremony in Amsterdam. The honour followed shortly after the country clinched the National Outsourcing Association’s UK Destination of the Year Award.

“We’re on a roll in South Africa – and success breeds success. South Africa has shown that it is able to outperform its UK peers, not just in terms of cost, but also quality,” said Business Process Enabling South Africa Western Cape CEO Gareth Pritchard.

For Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde, the creation of jobs, particularly for the youth, is a top priority.

Seventy per cent of all employees in the call centre sector in the Western Cape were between the ages of 18 and 35 and only have a matric certificate. The call centre business had an average entry-level salary of R6 500.

“The sector is delivering a massive boost to growth and jobs, especially for our youth,” Winde commented during a tour of the new call centre.

He added that the Western Cape government would support investments in the sector to the tune of R300-million this financial year.

“These projects will create 2 500 jobs in the industry over the next few months. Currently, the sector is worth an estimated R8-billion to our economy and employs 38 000 people.

Around 65% of the international investment has flowed from three of the biggest business process outsourcing operators – Capita, WNS and Serco, which have all set up operations in Cape Town over the past year.

Cotumaccio, meanwhile, noted that South Africa was a popular call centre destination, as it was closely aligned to the UK and Europe, both in terms of the time zone and being able to develop a rapport with callers.

“Our blue-chip clients love the energy and enthusiasm of the South African people.”


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