Within the next two months, technology company IBM should decide whether to open a massive call centre operation in SA or take its business elsewhere. If SA wins its favour, IBM could become an anchor client to help persuade other global companies to consider SA as their offshore call-centre base.

Virgin and General Electric both conducted due diligence exercises on SA last month with help from the trade and industry department. Now the department is waiting for one, two or possibility all three to sign a deal.

The level of government interest in turning SA into their chosen base goes right to the top, with Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin and director-general Alistair Ruiters serving as SA’s travelling salesmen.

"We have about 60000 callcentre agents in SA and we think there is the potential to double that in a short period," Ruiters told members of the Call Centre Networking Group last week.

Business Day