The Clothing and Textile sectors have been in distress for some time due to a range of factors like competitiveness; skills deficits; import ; rand volatility; limited economies of scale etc. According to the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2) Textiles and Wearing Apparel are classified as sectors with high Value-Added as well was with high Employment and Growth Multiplier. As from 2000 onwards trade balances increased negatively in all the industries across the sector, with the clothing industry being the worst affected.
The province of KZN in partnership with various stakeholders including Ethekwini Municipality has committed to revive the industry. There is a need to revive the sector and its value chain. Competitiveness and innovation are first steps that have to be taken and given more attention in order to address the challenges within this sector. The Clothing and Textile sector employed a huge number of South Africans both male and female nad fed a large number of families. Reviving the sector will be in line the council Integrated Development Plan 2: which promotes Economic Development and Job Creation as well as Plan 5 which promotes Empowering our Citizens
The sector is experiencing the following challenges which are highlighted on Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2) and it is crucial that we acknowledge these challenges for the industry to grow and be stable again.
- Illegal imports and fraudulent under-invoicing;
- Currency strength and volatility
- The ongoing surge of global imports that has been underway since the expiry of the Multi-fibre Agreement;
- Inadequate policing of “country of origin” labeling legislation
- Lack of skilled personnel to take over from ageing industrial executives and senior management, who generally did not have succession plans;
- A historical failure to develop and implement skills development plans, particularly for critical areas of operations and in productions
- Outdated capital equipment and technology resulting from inadequate capital
investment and technology upgrading; and
- An historical deficit with respect to innovation, research and development