An investigation of the footwear cluster as a possible solution to the problems caused by globalization in the Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi footwear industry.
The study explores the problems faced by the Pieterrnaritzburg-Msunduzi footwear industry as a consequence of globalization. International examples of policies regarded as possible solutions to the problems being experienced are reviewed. The study, a literature review, is based on the findings listed in Stilwell (1999) in which the problems which the Pieterrnaritzburg-Msundusi footwear industry faced were described. The current study extended and expanded on this work by not only looking at the causes of the problems being experienced by the industry, but by evaluating policies which could improve the situation with reference to Pieterrnaritzburg-Msundusi. The primary research objectives of the study were to analyse the local footwear industry's situation, gathering information concerning the levels of employment and output using original data from the most recent Census ofManufacturing. This data was interpreted to reveal changes that had taken place in the local footwear industry to establish what the main causes ofthese changes were. The secondary objective was to evaluate flexible manufacturing and the footwear cluster as possible solutions to the problems which have been identified. The importance of the SN11'v1E in aiding the industry's plight was also highlighted and the significance of these smaller industries discussed. The study concludes with recommendations for pursuing the footwear cluster concept in Pieterrnaritzburg-Msunduzi.