SET to take Printing SA’s hallmarks of innovation and service delivery to even greater heights is newly-appointed CEO, Abdool Majid Mahomed, who recently took over the reins of this vital industry organisation following the departure of Steve Thobela. P
Previously head of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, where his duties included responsibility for managing membership drives across the SADC region, Abdool Majid has lost no time in meeting with Printing SA’s strategic partners throughout South Africa.
‘It’s important to nurture relationships with key sister organisations such as the Paper Manufacturers’ Association, Packaging SA and the Book Development Council in order to understand the synergistic points where different sectors in the packaging and printing value chain can stand together as a collective force,’ he explains. ‘We have to ensure government listens to our concerns or objections regarding proposed legislation or duties.’
One such discussion point – aimed at reaching an understanding about the continued importance of printed textbooks – centres around president Cyril Ramaphosa’s advocacy of providing every school learner with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device over the next six years. In Abdool Majid’s view, implementing digitisation in schools is fraught with challenges as some areas don’t have electricity or Wi-Fi and many learners would be unable to take tablets to their homes where such devices could be targeted by criminals. Home study is still easier using printed books.
Printing SA’s sixth Annual Conference, themed ‘Revitalisation, Sustainability of the Printing, Signage and Packaging Industry’, will be held during the FESPA Africa and Africa Print 2019 Expo taking place from September 11 to 13 at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg. This conference is planned to debate crucial matters relating to the future sustainability of the industry and government participation is expected.
Aside from engaging with the government, Printing SA is also focusing on issues raised by members, one of which is getting more value from membership fees. ‘Our focus here involves investigating additional benefits so that all staff – from management to the factory floor – see the value of belonging to the organisation,’ Abdool Majid states. ‘We’re also investigating an alternative membership fee model, one that gives more flexibility and nuanced valueadded offerings.’
In addition, the organisation’s database is being updated to ensure members receive event invitations and Printing SA’s regular e-newsletters.
The launch of an updated website is imminent to provide the organisation with an enlarged reach and improved communication. According to Abdool Majid, it’s also important for Printing SA to continue its close relationship with the SA Typographical Union, which represents workers in the printing, newspaper and packaging industries. ‘Our consultants are wellequipped to help companies deal with disputes and wage negotiations,’ he remarks.
To keep an accurate track of funding and expenditure on training and marketing and to create a unified look among the four chambers, Printing SA also plans to roll out a revamped finance and enterprise resource planning system.
Finally, the organisation is investigating the possibility of establishing a Printing Foundation to assist members with their corporate social responsibility spending and projects.
In addition to his time at the Chartered Institute of Supply, Abdool Majid’s impressive CV includes managing a complex supply chain of study materials (planning, printing and distribution) for UNISA, Africa’s largest open, distance-learning university. At UNISA, he fulfilled the role of an executive director on the senior executive management team for ten years.
He has also served as a senior communications specialist at the Gauteng Department of Education’s head office, having taught languages at school and adult education levels.
Such experience and skills gained over the years have undoubtedly prepared him for this latest, challenging role. ‘We have an excellent team in place, who can be nurtured to become the next generation of leaders,’ he remarks. ‘Given my background in education, I know it’s important to provide an empowering environment that can ignite growth.’