Mr Bulelani Magwanishe, Deputy Minister Durban said, “The Trade and Industry Department will, in two months’ time, will unveil a master plan to protect the local textile industry from cheap imported goods.” He said, “The government had considered increasing tariffs to protect the local textile industry from foreign competitors. The biggest challenge we are facing is the competitiveness of the industry. That is why in March we are going to unveil a master plan to try to protect the industry and increase its competitiveness.”
African Blaize Apparel chief executive, Mr Sizwe Mbanjwa said the company, which had state-of-the-art machines, was 100% black-owned and managed and had 500 employees, although its target was to have 700. Mr Mbanjwa said he was concerned because many clothes were imported illegally from neighboring countries.
Mr Zikalala said the factory was a demonstration of the concerted and continued effort by the state to support black industrialists and to grow those sectors that were more labour intensive, such as clothing and textiles.