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South African government set to unveil clothing, textile master plan

The government of South Africa is set to announce a master plan aimed at growing the clothing, textile, footwear and leather retail value chain.

“Our department has developed a master plan to grow the clothing, textile, footwear and leather retail value-chain. The plan, which is aimed at creating 60 000 jobs in the sector and enhance competition, will soon be announced,” said Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe on Tuesday.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the opening of Africa Bespoke Apparel (ABA) factory in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal. The firm is a beneficiary of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Black Industrialists Programme.

The R81 million black-owned and black-managed, cut-make-and-trim (CMT) factory has capacity to handle over 235 000 garments per month and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology which makes it able to compete internationally.

The opening of the factory, Magwanishe said, is in line with government policy to set the economy on a higher path of shared growth, while also transforming its structure, enabling opportunities for millions of South Africans.

The Deputy Minister said South Africa’s future economic growth and transformation will rely on industrialists who can produce, own and distribute goods, anchored in value-addition.

“These are the ones who harness the development of local content and are able to integrate into global value-chains. It is industrialists like Africa Bespoke Apparel who give meaning to Africa’s agenda and policy implementation,” he said.

Magwanishe said the opening of the factory is a crucial milestone in the roll-out of the Black Industrialists Programme, as the company is the first black industrialist company in the textile, clothing and footwear sector.

He said that at the heart of government’s policy intervention was the advancement of the industrial sector to alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Magwanishe welcomed ABA’s planned training academy, saying it will go a long way in developing the skills of young people and equip them for the new age of innovation and discovery.

Also speaking at the opening, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, said the industry has in the past succumbed to severe international pressure that led to job losses.

“We are pleased to report that government, in partnership with private sector stakeholders, is working to rebuild our manufacturing capacity in the clothing and textile industry. Government continues to avail financial assistance and other support to make the domestic clothing and textile industry more competitive,” Zikalala said.

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