Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe has described the opening of Africa Bespoke Apparel’s (ABA’s) R81-million factory, in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, this week, as a historic moment and a crucial milestone in the roll-out of the Black Industrialists Programme.
The Department of Trade and Industry said ABA was the first black industrialist company in the textile, clothing and footwear sector.
“This is in line with government policy to set the economy on a higher path of shared growth and to transform its structure, enabling opportunities for millions of South Africans.
“To this end, 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 enhancing competition, will soon be announced,” added Magwanishe.
He said that, at the heart of government’s policy intervention, was the advancement of the industrial sector to alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment.
“With black industrialists like ABA, I am confident that we are close enough to achieving our objectives,” added Magwanishe.
He welcomed ABA’s planned training academy, saying that it would go a long way in developing the skills of young people and equipping them for the new age of innovation and discovery.
Magwanishe indicated that economic growth and transformation would rely on black industrialists who could produce, own and distribute goods anchored in value addition.
“These [industrialists] are the ones who harness the development of local content and are able to integrate into global value chains. It is industrialists like ABA that give meaning to Africa’s agenda and policy implementation,” said Magwanishe.
Also speaking at the launch was KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, who said the ABA facility was a demonstration of concerted and continued efforts to supporting the local clothing and textile industry.
“We know that in the recent past this industry succumbed to severe international pressure, leading to the decimation of the local manufacturing capacity and job losses. We are pleased to report today that government, in partnership with private sector stakeholders, is working together to rebuild the manufacturing capacity in the clothing and textile industry,” said Zikalala.
He added that government continued to avail financial assistance and other support to make the domestic clothing and textile industry more competitive.