The department of economic development and tourism in South Africa’s Western Cape Province will allocate R132 mn to boost the garment and textile industry, once the employment backbone there. The province, once well known for apparel and textiles, wants to rebuild the industry, said Provincial Minister for economic opportunities Beverley Schäfer.
South Africa imports too much apparel and textiles and produce too little, and its imports of clothing, textiles and leather goods have rocketed from just over R5 bn in 2000 to almost R60 bn now, Schäfer said. As South African labour in the clothing and textile sector is 45 per cent cheaper than in China, it makes no sense not to manufacture locally, quoted the Minister as saying. The province needs to position local manufacturers to distribute goods that the Chinese market cannot, Shaun Kirby, Senior Project Manager at the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster, said.