New state-of-the-art call center in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town: 1,000 call centre jobs available

New state-of-the-art call center in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town: 1,000 call centre jobs available

Sigma Connected, an outsourcing firm, will open a state-of-the-art call centre in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town in May. This move will see it become the first contact centre firm to operate from the township and eventually create up to 1,000 new jobs in South Africa.

By setting up in Mitchells Plain, which is about 30 kilometres away from the Cape Town city centre, Sigma Connected wants to reduce the burden of commuting to and from work, says the group’s MD, David Neale.

“This will cut down on the need for costly travel for them and also enable us to support the community where our employees live,” says Neale.

The move into Mitchells Plain breaks new ground for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in Cape Town.

The city employs more than 60,000 people in the sector. But setting up in the township, home to about 300,000 people, shows the Apartheid relic now has the infrastructure to support a BPO business.

“Expanding into Mitchells Plain is a means of showing that we stand behind bold statements we make. Besides reducing less travelling time to work Sigma hopes the change will promote a better work-life balance,” Neale says.

Sigma Connected plans to initially employ 60 people, then ramp it up to 1,000 over the next three years.

COSTLY COMMUTE

Travelling to and from work, is particularly onerous in Cape Town. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) released a National Household Travel Survey Provincial for the Western Cape survey recently showing about a third of the province leave for work between 07:00 and 07:59.

About one in five workers leave for work between 06:00 and 06:59. This essentially means they are heading out the door before the sun is up.

The impact of travel time on society is enormous. In metropolitan areas, roads are congested during peak hours to or from the workplace. South African cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg are notoriously known for jam-packed highways where a 45-minute drive to work could take you closer to two hours on a bad day.

Having employees stuck in traffic can cost a company like Sigma Connected, which serves both local and domestic customers in the retail, telecommunications, insurance, financial services, government, and logistics industries. It has to factor in transport costs when it comes to figuring operating and salary costs.

The move also means they could be less affected by disruptions to public transport such as cable theft bringing trains to a halt, and strife in the taxi- and ride-hailing sectors.

The StatsSA survey, for instance notes that it costs you R909 travelling to work in a car or truck more than any other mode of transport in the Western Cape. The mean amount to travel by taxi monthly would be R636; by bus R632, and by train R345 proving to be one of the cheaper modes, and lastly as a car/truck which would cost R212.

PwC’s Cape Town African City of Opportunity report, hints that SA’s Apartheid urban planning explains why Capetonians are always stuck in traffic.

“Cape Town suffers from a ‘mono-mode’ spatial legacy, whereby a large majority of the jobs are in the city centre and a majority of housing is in the suburbs, resulting in inefficient ‘tidal’ passenger flows (empty buses on return journeys). “While many Los Angeles residents might work in a business near to their suburban home, this is not possible for most Capetonians.”


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