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The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina on Wednesday visited Planets Events Shoes and Neptun Boot in KwaZulu-Natal.
Stakeholders committed and agreed to promote localisation, sourcing and buying local materials, transferring skills and working towards removing red tape that will hinder the future of the sector.
Deputy Minister Gina said the ease of doing business locally must be prioritised so that it will be easy for investors to view the sector as lucrative.
‘If we do not support and manufacture our products in the country we have nothing to offer to our neighbours and the rest of the world. We need to mobilise the whole sector and have a frank conversation about steps that need to be taken to revive and rebuild the sector to even make it more lucrative like it was in the past,” said Gina.
According to Gina, the introspection must start with the government and all agencies that are responsible for setting standards and verification. She committed to tackling red tape issues raised by the sector.
The Executive Director for South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (SAFLEC), Narisha Jairaj said the council has over 200 members of which 86% are Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and previously disadvantaged individual companies that are fully transformed from board to staff and suppliers.
Jairaj pleaded with the government to give due attention to the handbag and leather goods sector which has suffered great calamity as a result of Covid-19.