27 June 2014
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has approved a R200-million grant and a five-year plan for the establishment of the Southern African Sustainable Textile and Apparel Cluster (Sastac), in a bid to improve the industry’s competitiveness while uniting it under an umbrella body.
Making the announcement on Monday, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the initiative sought to build the capacity of South Africa’s industry to supply local and international consumers with “fully traceable sustainable apparel and household textile products”.
This would include supplying textile and apparel products that adhered to the 100% local content requirement for procurement by local government.
Davies said the cluster would work to maximise production and beneficiation using local raw materials, “starting with cotton and then broadening its scope to include all other natural and synthetic fibres”, while incubating opportunities for small business participation and job creation throughout the value chain, “from farm to retail”.
Heinrich Schultz, the newly appointed manager of the cluster, told The Star newspaper that Sastac would oversee about eight existing sub-clusters across the industry, helping to “mend a highly fragmented industry”.
The cluster would work with retailers to help the government with tracing goods and overcoming non-compliance within the industry.
At the end of the initial five-year plan, he said, “the industry should have created between 7 000 and 8 000 jobs, as well as seen an active participation of about 600 newly formed small, medium and micro enterprises”.