The reasons for the demise of the clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa : a contemporary study.
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The trade unions called in May 2005 for a nationwide strike of all retail stores unless the retail stores agree to stock a 75% local content of garments on their shelves. Retail stores have called on the Department of Trade and Industry for a national summit to address the crisis facing the clothing industry. The Department of Trade and Industry in turn has appointed a task team to investigate the current situation in the clothing industry. On the surface it would appear that there is a serious crisis in the clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa and there is, but the big issue is what is causing the crisis. The answer is simply, the strength of the rand. This study was prepared to determine the reasons for the demise of the clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa. The study conducted a survey on various parties and organisations concerned with the wellbeing of the industry to determine what their opinions were relating to the crisis facing the industry. The results of the survey revealed a host of reasons contributing to the decline of the industry. These reasons include the rigidness and inflexibility of the labour relations system in South Africa which has led to an unproductive and inefficient labour force in the industry. The lack of investment incentives in the industry is also determined as a cause of the crisis in the industry. Retail buyers are deemed to be price makers forcing the industry to seek alternative means away from local manufacture to reduce prices resulting in the importation of garment from abroad.