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STATEMENT BY THE MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS

On Tuesday, 11 May 2021, I had the opportunity to visit the Sheraton Textiles situated in Diep River. The company was established in 1920 and truly represents the resilience and innovative nature of Cape Town’s clothing and textile industry. Having largely weathered the Covid-19 pandemic, the manufacturer is now set to expand with additional machinery and increase the current 520 plus labour force into a new factory close to their current premises. Read more below:

The visit comes on the back of the City’s Mayoral Committee (Mayco) approval for funding to be redirected towards the City’s Strategic Business Partner, the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster.

The funds will be used for the SME Business Accelerator project, which will see small enterprise manufacturers matched with real business opportunities at large leading retailers, and provided with training and upgrade support to unlock procurement from new retail customers and build new and long-term supply relationships.

The clothing and textiles industry continues to be a significant employer in the Cape Town economy. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 23 600 individuals were employed. In 2020, we surveyed firms across the industry and 33% of respondents were forced to pursue retrenchments last year, expecting to cut on average 15% of their workforce.  Some firms in the industry did not survive the pandemic at all.

Three Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster (CCTC) member firms closed their doors permanently in 2020 but I am relieved to report that all three were bought out by other cluster member firms so many of those jobs were saved. The year 2020 was one of survival and some consolidation.

I am extremely happy that the Enterprise and Investment Department, together with the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster, can provide this opportunity for local manufacturers to hone their skills and expertise and then supply to big retailers like Woolworths, Truworths, Cape Union Mart, TFG, and Mr Price Group, among others. These companies have a willingness to participate in the programme.

Now is the time to regroup and help this historical sector to adapt, with initiatives such as these that will revitalise this high growth sector in Cape Town.

I look forward to seeing the talent that will emerge through the SME Business Accelerator project!

SMEs/companies wishing to participate in the program can contact Wesley Fallon at the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster (CCTC) on the following e-mail address for further details: wesley.fallon@bmanalysts.com

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