The Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel, today opened a new state-of-the-art laundry facility at Celrose, in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal. The investment in the new laundry facility, will be used to increase manufacturing capacity for Celrose’s denim line.

Celrose, a large manufacturer of apparel employing 1 559 at its facility in Tongaat and Isithebe, invested in the line in order to improve its denim processing capacity, as the company prepares for increased demand of locally-produced denim by South African retailers.

The new laundry facility also improves the water and energy usage of the production process, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of production. Celrose currently has four factory lines producing automated core denim product, making it one of the largest producers of denim in South Africa. The new lazer technology machines recently procured by Celrose replaces hand grinding creating authentic wearing characteristics on the denim jeans.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which is a 55% shareholder in Celrose, acquired its stake from Edcon in 2019 in order to save Celrose and its workers as Edcon faced liquidation and closure.

In addition the IDC’s 55% shareholding, workers of the Company own 32% through a staff trust which has been established for their benefit.

Minister Patel remarked “This factory faced closure and through partnerships, 1 500 jobs have been saved. It is now prepared for further growth, producing more than a million denim items and well-positioned to become one of the largest producers of denim on the African continent.”

Celrose is covered by the Retail-Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather Masterplan.  The Masterplan, which was signed in November 2019, was developed together with business, labour and government in the spirit of partnership and renewal. The Masterplan included a series of commitments from Government, Business and Labour.

According to the CEO of Celrose, Mr John Comley, “This cutting edge facility not only represents a significant milestone for Celrose but also serves as a testament to our shared commitment towards employment generation. The inauguration of this facility holds immense promise for job creation and economic empowerment within our community. By providing employment opportunities and fostering skills development, we are contributing to the socio-economic upliftment of our region, in line with the aims of the CTFL masterplan. We are grateful to the dtic for the support provided in attaining this milestone.”

Minister Patel’s visit to Celrose comes a day after a meeting with stakeholders in the clothing industry, including CEOs of major retailers, manufacturers and labour. Stakeholders reported that more than 20 000 jobs had been created in the past five years since the clothing, textile, footwear and leather industry’s Masterplan was launched.

In addition, major retailers have sourced 371 million more units of clothing items from local manufacturers over the same period, a 51% increase on the baseline of units bought locally; and the volume of clothing imported from China has dropped in major clothing categories, and the value of the clothing imported increased, showing success in the fight against under-invoicing.

The CTFL sector now employs more than 500,000 South Africans, including 250,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 280,000 retail jobs.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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