SA: Minister takes DTI to factories

rob davies
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies

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Cape Town – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the department’s several incentives have helped the manufacturing industry improve its competitiveness – leading to the creation of thousands of jobs.

The Minister said this in an interview with SAnews shortly after visiting two factories in the Western Cape on Tuesday – the Prestige Clothing Factory in Goodwood and the Damen Shipyards Group at the Foreshore, in Cape Town.

The visits by the Minister were part of the “Taking DTI to the factories” campaign, where he visits companies that have received some form of funding or incentive from the department to assess the impact of the funding against skills development, job creation and the company’s potential for further growth.

The Minister said after his visit to the Damen Shipyards Group: “We have seen as we walked around here that some of our incentives have assisted them for example, in introducing new cranes, raising the roof, which has improved their competitiveness, their ability to produce larger vessels.

“So it is an indication of some of the results that we have achieved but also we have had a conversation with the team about some of the challenges they face and some of the challenges are those that we have begun to address in Operation Phakisa, which are to get port authorities to understand better, I think we are getting there.”

The Minister said the ship building area is an area that the department has identified as an area of expansion, with an overall potential of contributing to the creation of black industrialists.

He said this is one of those factories that have identified for some years now through the programme.

“Ship and boat building is an area where we think we can advance to make progress.

“In terms of Operation Phakisa, we are looking at different parts of the oceans economy as a group and one of the areas that we have identified for quite a lot of expansion is ship building and boat building,” he said.

The Minister’s day started at the Prestige Clothing Factory, which is part of retail giant The Foschini Group – a store that has brands such as Fabiani and G-Star Raw under its belt.

After the visit, the Minister said the growth that has been demonstrated by Prestige was indicative of the impact that the incentives were having on the clothing and textile industry.

Overall, the industry has received R32 million in support funding, of which the Minister said R24 million was through DTI incentives programmes.

He said the industry, which many doomsayers had written off, has since shown signs of growth and stabilised jobs, and recorded a net gain of 6 900 jobs over the past few years.

Graham Choice, the head of the design centre at the Foschini Group, said the incentives by the DTI have helped his company to remain competitive and expand its manufacturing print.

“I must say Minister we really appreciate these incentives. Without these incentives, I don’t believe that we would have got the traction that we got today,” he said.