In September last year South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel revealed the South African Retail-Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (R-CTFL) Value Chain Masterplan. Simply put, it’s an action plan focusing on actions all stakeholders can undertake, and a mechanism to monitor it. It represents the development of a new partnership which knows what the problems are and finds new ways of tackling them. The Master Plan, is one of four, that shows a commitment to buy and manufacture locally which will boost the country’s production and create jobs.
The Master Plan is already at work in rural Keates Drift in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, where some 3000 families were affected when its shoe factory closed years ago. Five years ago Lelly Mntungwa started a project to assist with job creation and skills development, starting Msinga Clothing Factory. Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), which is aligned with government (R-CTFL) Value Chain Masterplan was assisted the residents of the community with skills training. The Msinga Clothing Factory employs 100 women, who manufacture clothing for local retailers including Foschini Group, Mr Price, and Ackermans. This is in keeping with retailers heeding governments’ call to support local manufacturing and contributing towards job creation on a base level. Local retailers have committed to grow local CTFL share of sales to 65%, supporting the employment of 333 000 workers including 165 000 CTFL manufacturing jobs.
Minister Patel says in order to achieve the objectives of the Master Plan, the industry will need to rethink and re-invent itself so that each of us makes a substantial contribution and we all benefit. It will require commitment from all stakeholders, including retailers, manufacturers, workers and government. “This is a moment for leadership, a moment for changing the trajectory of the industry – where we say we can do different things and get different outcomes,” he said.