IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) welcomed the textile rebates published in the South Africa Government Gazette as a breakthrough that will save garment and textile jobs as well as boost manufacturing at small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
The 5 February notice states that there will be duty free imports for woven fabrics. SACTWU says this policy shift will promote growth in the textile and garment manufacturing sectors. Further, it will stimulate local procurement and increase the sector’s contribution to the industrialization of the country.
This will save jobs in an economy where unemployment is high. According to Statistics South Africa’s 2020 4th Quarterly report unemployment is 32, 5 per cent, and as high as 42, 5 per cent if you consider the expanded unemployment rate that includes discouraged job seekers.
The R-CTFL masterplan, launched by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, aims to develop the textile and garment value chain. The value chain includes spinning, woven, dyeing, knitted, and finishing of natural and synthetic fibre inputs and leather tanning.
Cut-make-trim, design houses, garment, and household textile manufacturers, as well as leather and shoe manufacturers are also part of the value chain. Locally sourced and imported products are also included while retail deals with domestic and international markets.
The social dialogue partners that took part in the negotiations are the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF) representing garment retailers, Apparel and Textile Association of South Africa (ATASA), the South African Apparel Association (SAAA), and Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa (AMSA) representing garment manufacturers, and the Textile Federation (Texfed) representing textile mills.