British firm calls on Cape Town

5 February 2004

One of the United Kingdom’s fastest growing insurance companies, the Budget Group, has announced that it will invest R100-million to set up a call centre in Cape Town.

Western Cape Finance and Economic Development MEC Ebrahim Rasool said the investment would create 200 new direct jobs and contribute to the province’s five-year target of attracting R5-billion in new investment.

Over 70 companies run 160 call centres in Cape Town, employing over 7 000 people directly, with thousands more jobs in support industries.


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Telkom, Engen and Absa have long maintained call centre facilities in Cape Town servicing the domestic market. Cape Town also speaks to customers all over the globe for a number of outsource service providers.

Active Contact Solutions was reportedly the first British outsource company to set up shop in Cape Town. The company has over 60 call centre seats in Cape Town servicing its UK customers. And last year, British company Dialogue UK put R20-million into a call centre in Cape Town.

GlobalTeleSales, Lufthansa’s Cape Town call centre, was set by the German airline in 1999 to fulfill its “follow-the-sun” 24/365 phone channel strategy (“Hours of Operation: 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year”, the company boasts on its website.)

Swiss-based outfit Mindpearl (formerly known as Qualiflyer Customer Care Centres) also runs a state-of-the-art facility in Cape Town.

“Only last week, a new call centre opened in Bellville”, Rasool said. “It’s one of the first call centres handling incoming calls from Dutch consumers, using Afrikaans speakers who have received intensive language coaching in the Dutch language.”

World-class service levels of call centre staff, time-zone compatibility with Europe, high rates of fluency in English, a (still) favourable exchange rate and an advanced telecommunications industry have all contributed to the growth of South Africa’s call centre industry.

South Africa became an even more attractive location to set up these businesses when a second undersea fibre-optic telephone link with Europe, along the east coast of Africa, was established last year. Another fibre-optic link runs along Africa’s west coast. reporter