The South African Clothing Industry at the moment is like a dog with its tail between its legs because of the barrage setbacks in recent years. Companies have called it quits due to the lousy economic environment and thousands of jobs have been lost. Larger companies like Frame Textiles and Team Puma have closed down and what remains are many small to medium sized businesses who chug along trying to survive. So the task of supplying World Cup products have been left up to the last of the big guns, The Seardel Group. This group of companies known as The Seardel Group, have accepted the task but they themselves do not have the capacities, technologies or experience to produce products like headwear or the Zakumi soft toy (the world cup mascot).
Now a dispute has emerged between SACTWU (Southern Africa Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union) and SAFA’s (South African Football Association) master licensee SLAM (Safa legal and management). According to Redress Consultancy, SACTWU claims that the agreed figure of 80 percent (locally produced) to 20 percent (imported) have been ignored and that actually 40 percent of world cup clothing products are imported.
How obvious is that to anyone who knows this industry? There is no chance in hell that these companies (Seardel) could produce all the stock required and they definitely not going to outsource to local companies because they need to make a profit. Providing work to the desperate small fry is last on the list because of the logistics and the headache of keeping everyone in line with quality, deadlines and consistency of products. Who else could produce R840 million’s worth of Zakumi product under one roof and ensure quality and consistency but the Chinese.
What I am saying is that once again a lack of knowledge and preparation has resulted in a toi-toi and it puts us in a bad light once again. SACTWU please stop to think before you kick up a fuss – understand that we need to supply and reach deadlines and that you haven’t exactly played a part in promoting productivity- calling for tools down when the economy is at its most vulnerable state.