Stakeholders in the footwear and leather sector have committed themselves to transferring skills and rebuild capacity in order to fully transform.
The commitment emanated from two site visits conducted by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina in KwaZulu-Natal to Planets Events Shoes and Neptun Boot today.
Stakeholders committed and agreed to promote localisation, sourcing and buying local materials, transferring skills and working towards removing red tape that will hinder the future of the sector.
Deputy Minister Gina said the ease of doing business locally must be prioritised so that it will be easy for investors to view the sector as lucrative.
“If we do not support and manufacture our products in the country we have nothing to offer to our neighbours and the rest of the world. We need to mobilise the whole sector and have a frank conversation about steps that need to be taken to revive and rebuild the sector to even make it more lucrative like it was in the past,” said Gina.
According to Gina, the introspection must start with government and all agencies that are responsible for setting standards and verification. She committed to tackling red tape issues raised by the sector.
The Executive Director for South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (SAFLEC), Ms Narisha Jairaj said the council has over 200 members of which 86% are Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and previously disadvantaged individual companies that are fully transformed from board to staff and suppliers.
“We hope to engage other government departments to find common ground for best use of resources for maximum benefit to small business. And also, to work towards eradicating the red tape that still impacts our sector in a negative way,” said Jairaj.
Jairaj pleaded with government to give due attention to the handbag and leather goods sector which has suffered great calamity as a results of Covid-19.
Planet Events is a manufacturing enterprise in the footwear sector. It has a capacity to produce 40 000 pairs of shoe soles per day for the Southern African footwear industry and its intention, going forward, is to be the largest entity of its kind on the African Continent. The company has benefitted from the dtic‘s Black Industrialists Scheme..
Neptun Boots began its operations in 1977, supplying the agricultural and mining industries with a range of superior quality Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) gumboots and industrial safety footwear manufactured from locally produced PVC compounds.
Over the years, they have expanded their product offerings to the mining and food processing industries. Neptune Boot received support from the Production Incentive Programme of the dtic.
IMAGE: The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina during the site visits at Planet Events and Neptun Boots in Durban.