Speech By Deputy Minister of Trade And Industry, Honorable Mzwandile Masina, on the Occasion of the Awarding of Certificates to Fashion Designers that Received Technical Training at the Fashion Design Innovation Centre, Hosted by Eastern Cape Provincial Arts & Culture Council.

Speech By Deputy Minister of Trade And Industry, Honorable Mzwandile Masina, on the Occasion of the Awarding Of Certificates to Fashion Designers that Received Technical Training at the Fashion Design Innovation Centre, Hosted by Eastern Cape Provincial Arts & Culture Council.
Umthaha, King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality
or Tambo District – Province of the Eastern Cape – 24 March 2016Honourable Premier,
Honourable MECs.
Members of the Provincial Legislature,
Mayors from the District and Local Municipality,
Mayoral Committee Members,
Our Esteemed Guests,
Fashion Designers and Creative Persons,
Ladies and Gentleman

Good Morning!!!

During the 2016 Budget Speech, Minister Pravin Gordhan made the summation about socio-economic challenges faced by our country – i.e. South Africa is faced by “low growth, high unemployment, extreme inequality and hurtful fractures in our society”.

Notwithstanding this state of affairs, the Minister further reminded us of the important traits that each and every South African possesses such as our resilience, strength, tenacity, creativeness, team spirit / collectivism which we draw from to overcome adversity like the current economic slowdown affecting SA and the world.

If you recall, most of the pundits in the early 1990’s predicted that South Africa would descend into a fractious political crisis and that here was going to be blood bath.

We proved those predictions of doom wrong and have held successful elections since then that continue to entrench the new democratic order within a robust constitutional framework that binds us all.

We will again prove our detractors that the path towards an inclusive economy, that was adopted by the ANC government, in partnership with our people, is the correct one. It is when we have the active participation of the black majority in product innovation and manufacturing of goods that are globally competitive will SA experience sustained economic growth of more than 5% as envisaged by the NDP.

Our policy choice in fostering a strong mixed economy for the country, as opposed to allowing the free market system to dictate, was vindicated by the 2008 global economy collapse as a result of reckless trading by free market system loyalists. The noises made by these free market agents to the effect that our government should forego its shareholding on strategic sectors of our economy is nothing more than an attempt to capture the entire state and impose its will / agenda to the entire populace.

To cushion and remodel the country’s manufacturing sector to remain globally competitive, the SA Government, through its Economic Cluster, developed the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) which pronounces South Africa’s overarching approach to industrial development.

Underpinning the NIPF, Government in consultation with relevant industrial stakeholders, developed the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) that provides a working outline on key industrial objectives that should be undertaken / implemented to stimulate economic growth.

Whilst Government IPAP is about ensuring optimum performance of the manufacturing sector, it is also serious in tackling one of apartheid’s legacies that excluded black people from owning productive capital-assets. A Department of Trade and Industry survey has revealed that only three percent of the productive assets in South Africa’s economy is black-owned.

The textile and clothing sector is one of the manufacturing sectors that has been included in IPAP as a sector of strategic importance to the country for the last seven years.

About 60 million to 75 million people (Global Fashion Industry Statistics – International Apparel accessed in 2015) are employed in the textile, clothing and footwear sector worldwide (2014).

About three quarters of garment workers worldwide are female (Celia Mather ‘Garment Industry Supply Chains’ Women Working Worldwide accessed in 2015).

Value of Global Garment Industry  estimated 1,129 trillion USD:

  • The world’s women’s wear industry (2014) is worth 621 billion USD (497 billion EUR)
  • The men’s wear industry is worth 402 billion USD (322 billion EUR)
  • The children’s wear industry is worth 186 billion USD (estimated) (149 billion EUR);

Allow me to make mention of a few facts about the nature of the South African textile economy:

  • The SA clothing / apparel sector’s market slice to the global clothing sector is estimated at less than 0.3%;
  • The textile and clothing manufacturing sector annual turnover is estimated at R30.5 billion [estimated at 1.79 billion EUR (1 EUR : 16.98 Rand);
  • Direct employment in the formal sector is estimated at between 60 000 – 80 000 people.
  • There is a high degree of the informalisation (enterprises not registered and not part of bargaining chamber) in the sector as retrenched workers with technical skills pursue a form of self-employment to eke out a living.
  • Sector is predominantly active in WC (focusing in high fashion )and KZN (mass market production) as well as Gauteng; and
  • Only about 20 – 25% of locally sold clothing is manufactured domestically.

The SA Fashion Council identified the following key drivers to grow the local garment industry and the catalytic role played by clothing designers in driving the change:

  1. Social media has made it possible for consumers to know new global fashion trends and expect local fashion designers to reproduce the same designs as quickly as possible. Therefore a link between designers and Cut-Make-Trim to ensure quick turnaround time to deliver finished garments is critical.
  2. Thus, the days when consumers had to wait for 6 months or even a year before they can buy a garment style that was trending in USA or Europe are gone.
  3. The pop-up fashion garment show and shops in those areas close to the target market has greatly reduced costs in setting up own retail shop.
  4. South Africa is a country that is embracing its African identity as expressed by the different cultural groups providing a wealth of garment design possibilities tapping into cultural designs and symbolism. At the heart of this African Renaissance revolution are talented young black people.

In recent times, the South African fashion industry has been gaining momentum, driven by a proliferation of designers and multi-brand boutiques that carry the collections with rich SA design content.

The population of Sub Saharan Africa is young (one-third is between 10 and 24 years old) and fast-growing (2.4 percent per year, second fastest in the world), and GDP has grown steadily as well. It is also urbanising rapidly, with a burgeoning middle-income class and growing discretionary incomes creating growth momentum. Web and mobile connections have also spread rapidly.

Both the established and aspiring African designers are reaping the rewards of a reinvigorated fashion industry in Africa. Support industries such as the cut-make-trim operations, model agencies, make-up stylists, etc. are the indirect beneficiaries to the growth of the local fashion design industry.

We are all here today to celebrate and hand over certificates to 36 fashion designers that received technical training facilitated by the Fashion Design Innovation Centre to empower them to produce garments of high quality and instil confidence to young people about their potential on garment design innovation.

The Fashion Design Innovation Centre facilitated the following training interventions for designers:

  • Basic and advanced training on Computer Aided Design for garment design, pattern making and grading;
  • Finished garment quality testing to comply with standards adopted by retailers;
  • Trade exhibition training; and
  • Twelve (12) designers received 6 weeks intensive training on clothing and leather manufacturing in China.
    • Clothing Manufacturing Techniques training took place at Ninjeng University, China
    • Shoe Design and Manufacturing Technique training took place at Liming Vocational University, China

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Kayise Dubula, one of the fashion designers that participated in the training programmes, upon receiving a tender from the Eastern Cape Department of Transport to manufacture work wear, she solicited assistance from the Fashion Design Innovation Centre to use its Cut-Make-Trim manufacturing infrastructure to produce 750 emergency reflector jackets. She duly delivered on the order to the satisfaction of the client.

The Department of Trade & Industry is serious in building the technical expertise of young fashion designers as demonstrated by its continued investment to this programme.

I know that these investments are not enough and I wish to make a clarion call to the provincial government, local municipalities, fibre processing and manufacturing Seta (FPM Seta) and all provincial government entities such as ECDC, SEDA, SEFA, ECRDA, district agencies and private sector to join the dti by committing additional funding (in form of syndicated funding contribution) and material support to this initiative to ensure its continued existence.

Furthermore, I make a plea to the local government sphere, e.g. municipalities, to set aside a percentage of their work-wear procurement budget to be accessed by the fashion designers. This is the practical way in which we can ensure these enterprises become financially sustainable and thus contribute to the creation of employment for designers and the multiplier effect thereof of absorbing new employees thereby contributing meaningfully to eradicating poverty and growing the economy.

Lastly, to the fashion designers, your creative talents in developing innovative products that have both local and international markets by tapping into the rich cultural symbolisms that surrounds you, have the potential to develop the needed black industrialists to drive the economic development of region and province.


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