Recent developments to help South Africa’s small textile businesses and the industry as a whole, have been welcomed by the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu).
A rebate deal, signed by Deputy Finance David Masondo, provides for woven fabric to be imported duty free for the local manufacturing of garments. But procurement commitments must be made to local textile producers.
Sactwu general secretary Andre Kriel said the plan was presented to the government by industry stakeholders in September.
He said in a press statement that the rebate represented one of the most important developments in decades for local procurement, jobs and the promotion of domestic industrialisation.
“This is an important concrete implementation component flowing from the signature of the Retail, Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (R-CTFL) Masterplan… at the second Presidential Investment Conference. Such imported fabric can only be used by companies that are signatories to the R-CTFL Masterplan and are compliant with minimum labour standards,” Kriel said.
Essentially, the deal has resolved more than four-decade long deadlock.
According to a report released by the International Trade Commission of South Africa, the plan aims to establish a competitive, sustainable and dynamic value chain. It will see investment in increasing jobs and advancing inclusion and transformation.
Kriel said that the signatories consisted of many small businesses in the clothing manufacturing sector.
“The employer association signatories to this agreement represent more than 75% of SMME companies in the clothing manufacturing industry, and labour represents 90% of workers employed in these SMMEs,” he said.
“Sactwu now looks forward to an exciting new period of innovative industrialisation and jobs promotion in our industry, which this piece of successful industry social dialogue outcome represents.”
The union now plans to focus on developing similar rebates for yarns and knitted fabric, along the same lines as that developed for woven fabric.
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