The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) has taken note of the economic stimulus and recovery plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier today.
We welcome the specifics relating to the sectors in which we are organised and have members, specifically
the promised greater support for the clothing and textile sector, the most labour-intensive sector in the manufacturing industry;
the intended vigorous crackdown on illegal imports, which will provide a stimulant to local manufacturers as well as much needed job protection, especially for the clothing-, textiles- and footwear sectors, as well as improve much needed revenue collection. In particular, for example, we point out that R2.3bn was lost in customs revenue from Chinese clothing imports, in 2016 alone;
the increased support for the agriculture industry and
the reference to more procurement of hospital bed linen which we trust will be locally manufactured and thus not only address the challenges in the health sector but also create jobs in local textile factories.
We note the plan to increase procurement from co-operatives and call on government that this should not be done without tackling the scourge of bogus co-operatives, which is a destroyer of decent jobs.
On the extension of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), despite our concerns about replacement of older workers, we draw attention to the fact that SACTWU has some time ago submitted a proposal to National Treasury for the ETI to be extended industry-wide to the clothing and textile sector, a facility allowed by the ETI. This request has still not been addressed by National Treasury, without any explanation, despite us having formally submitted it as long ago as October 2014.
There are however also concerns such as the small overall size of the stimulus package and its fit with macro-economic policies like inflation targeting, which we leave to COSATU to address, following debate and decisions taken at its National Congress which concluded yesterday.