Shredding of the rag trade has lessons for the future
No sector symbolises the long-term malaise of manufacturing better than the once flourishing textile and clothing industry
In a country afflicted with a stagnant economy that can hardly keep pace with population growth, as recently released figures from Stats SA show, SA’s economic situation can only be described as dire. Unemployment is at its highest level since 2008 at 29%, a rate that almost doubles to more than 56% when it comes to jobless youth.
This is politically dangerous given the vast inequalities in SA society, something acknowledged by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address in June. The speech was high on aspiration and made all the right noises towards business. In addition to promoting the existing Buy Local campaign, Ramaphosa spoke of creating 2-million jobs for the youth, and in consultation with key industries transforming SA from a mainly raw material exporter to a manufacturing hub with a focus on key value-adding industries.