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New shoe factory opened in Cape Town: 300 jobs currently and a further 240 new jobs in the next two years

A new factory premises making fashionable women’s shoes was opened in Parow industrial area by Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel.

The factory, Chic Shoes, was started by a black woman, Rachmat Thomas in 2004 and now employs 300 workers. Minister Patel opened the new building that the company bought with the support of national government financing, to expand their manufacturing facilities.

“In the next two years, the company plan to expand with 240 more workers, creating a large new industrial capacity,” Minister Patel said. He recounted the strong partnership between the company and government, with funding provided by the Industrial Development Corporation (the IDC) and a production incentive grant made available from national government.

“This shows the potential to grow in the fashion manufacturing industry and to use our facilities as a base to export to other parts of the world. Government support to the local footwear industry amounted to more than R600 million in the past five years, as part of a focused effort to expand industrial capacity and jobs. The company makes a range of shoes, from women’s pumps for a leading retailer to shoes for public servants, and they bring enterprise, innovation and hard work to the partnership,” Minister Patel said.

About 40 percent of the workforce is young people and the company is investing in skills for school-leavers. Young employment in manufacturing is vital if we are to grow the industrial base of Africa’s most diversified economy. If we do not invest capital and in skills development, we will de-industrialise and lose our manufacturing sector. We need a partnership between business, organised labour and the state to drive economic growth and job creation,” Minister Patel said.

He noted that local footwear production was improving following large factory closures about ten years ago.

“Production of footwear is beginning to get back to the volumes last seen in the mid 1990s, with 59 million pairs of shoes now made locally. Given the labour-absorbing character of the industry, South Africa needs a larger local clothing and footwear industry,” he said.

The Minister addressed an excited group of workers, managers and financiers and was taken on a factory tour and talked to workers involved in various industrial activities, from cutting of leather to stitching, glueing and packing of shoes.

Download full media release to read an extract from Minister Patel’s speech and more details regarding the launch...

View a selection of photos from the launch, on EDD's FlickR page.

Issued by the Economic Development Department
For more information please contact Thembinkosi Gamlashe on 082 868 3565

Newsroom | Media Releases | New shoe factory opened in Cape Town: 300 jobs currently and a further 240 new jobs in the next two years

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