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Yesterday, Wednesday 22 April, I conducted follow up visits to clothing and textile companies to show the City’s support to the sector during these difficult times.

I am pleased that these organisations have found innovative ways to continue working.

These visits included a site visit to industry giant, TCI Apparel in Epping. Although the organisation has found remote working difficult, they are adapting and finding new ways to meet social distancing standards in their factories. The organisation is working on completing its second order of surgical gowns for the phytology services industry. They are also completing an order of face masks for big retailers specifically ordering masks for staff members. The organisation manufactures about 500 000 masks per week. They will soon start with an order of 1 000 000 aprons, surgical gowns and coveralls for a large hospital chain.

It is encouraging to see sectors stepping up to assist and support those that are on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic. TCI also forms part of a group of factories who signed a collective agreement with the bargaining council to supply 45 million masks to the Department of Education.

The ability of these organisations to reinvent themselves directly reflects the resilience of this sector.

TCI in turn sub-contract to other suppliers, including small businesses who are contributing to the work we do as a City to keep the industry afloat.

Cape Town traditionally has a comparative advantage in the clothing and textiles sector. The industry continues to employ 24 734 people, with a recorded export value of more than R3,5 billion in 2018 which means investing in, and supporting this sector makes business sense.

The City of Cape Town is committed to investing and supporting sectors that drive demand and make business sense.

The City provides approximately R10 million per annum in funding support to the clothing and textile sector, which is testament to our support for this vital sector in the local economy. This includes the Craft and Design Institute, the Cape Town Fashion Council, CLOTEX, and the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster. The funding is used for programmes that include training, skills development, internship training and placement and sector coordination and promotion.  I am excited to put the right level of priority and impetus behind this vibrant sector.  I am very proud of how these organisations manage to create opportunities during a very challenging time.

My directorate, through the Enterprise and Investment Department, has also been involved in supporting the clothing and textile industry through collaborating with the Western Cape Government in sharing information and updating the PPE supplier database for the province and city region.

In addition, the Enterprise and Investment Department has been helping companies and SMMEs in all sectors, including the clothing and textile sector, with COVID-19 related information including the regulations that have been promulgated by the Government. My directorate has been involved in guiding businesses through the InvestCape Town website when accessing information.

I have also written to the Minister of Trade and Industry to request a re-assessment of which businesses should be allowed to operate to ensure that companies and SMMEs performing essential services, including the supply of COVID-19 related products, are allowed to operate during the lockdown.

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