Stakeholders in the clothing, textile, footwear and leather (CTFL) industry have committed to working more closely together to identify opportunities to deepen localisation and bolster production in the sector.
This was a key outcome of a meeting of the executive oversight committee (EOC) managing the implementation of the masterplan for the sector earlier this month.
The virtual meeting, chaired and hosted by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel and attended by other EOC members, including the CEOs of major apparel and textile retailers, manufacturers and organised labour, discussed plans to accelerate bringing back more local apparel and textile production to South Africa.
Retail CEOs present included Foschini Group boss and National Clothing Retail Federation chairperson Anthony Thunström, Woolworths South Africa CEO Zyda Ryland, Pepkor CEO Leon Lourens, Mr Price CEO Mark Blair and Truworths CEO Michael Mark.
Minister Patel was accompanied by South African Revenue Service Commissioner Edward Kieswetter and International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa chief commissioner Meluleki Nzimande. Proudly South Africa CEO Eustace Mashimbye was also in attendance.
The CTFL sector has been negatively impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown.
Sales in the first half of the year fell 20%, adjusted for inflation, compared with the equivalent period last year, while production volumes declined by 30%.
Despite this, stakeholders expressed optimism for the remainder of the year, as they accelerate work to increase the levels of locally made clothing sold in South African retail stores.
The CTFL masterplan, which was signed by stakeholders in November last year, provides a blueprint for investment and job creation through localisation in the industry.
The plan includes a commitment to increase the proportion of locally produced fashion sold in retail stores from 44% currently, to 65% by 2030.
The commitment is expected to increase employment in the sector by another 120 000 jobs across the value chain.
During the meeting held this month, stakeholders reported on activity since the signing of the masterplan, and discussed the immediate steps that can be taken to increase the pace at which the industry achieves its localisation goals.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made the argument for localisation even more urgent and important,” said Patel.
“The key issue for our economy now is the return of domestic demand. We need to stimulate the economy via deeper localisation efforts.”
“We are now at the stage where we absolutely have to focus – for both the good of our industry and for the South African economy and our future,” added Thunström.