tree nav


The SA clothing and textile industry have suffered massive erosion due to increased importation of these items into the country, KwaZulu-Natal being one of the hardest-hit by this development. Nonetheless, the province has unsurpassed skill in this area/activity and presents massive opportunities for investments in the sector.

Some pockets of the domestic activity in this industry are still doing exceptionally well with local designers increasingly invited to design and develop attire for top-end activities/persons.

There are a few very large manufacturers, but the majority of clothing manufacturers fall into the medium sized category (50 to 200 employees) and there are approximately 400 SMME concerns, which fulfill the role of sub-contractors to the rest of the industry. This latter group also supplies the informal sector, which is growing rapidly.

The clothing sector is a significant employer within KwaZulu-Natal's manufacturing sector. This fact, coupled with the relatively low barriers of entry to the industry, makes it a very strategic industry for development purposes.  The labour-intensive nature is an important benefit of the industry for women labourers who comprise a large proportion of the manufacturing labour force.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) launched the KwaZulu-Natal Clothing and Textiles Cluster (CTC). The CTC is not for profit public/private partnership which aims to strengthen the local industry to ensure that it can compete in the global market. In addition CTC has successfully established a Sector Business Support Centre in Newcastle, aimed at regenerating the area's clothing and textile industry. The industry in Newcastle is comprised of both South African and Taiwanese/Chinese firms. The facilitation of local industry consultation successfully brought all chambers together to achieve the goal of improving the competitiveness of the local industry.

Although the industry has been rocked by labour disputes, there is scope for improvement and increase in competitiveness, which are most likely to ensure continued success in the industry

For more information on the CTC visit