An investment of R35 million has been made to a 100% black owned textile factory, Africa Bespoke Apparel in Verulam north of Durban.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe, whose portfolio approved cash injection unveiled the shoe and textile factory, which provides more than 500 to local people.

The economy of KwaZulu-Natal received a shot in the arm with a combined investment of R70 million to a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) company, Africa Bespoke Apparel.

This after the Department of Trade and Industry granted the company R35 million loan while the KwaZulu-Natal Growth invested R40 million into the venture.

The company is planning to sell its textile base product such as clothing to local retail shops.

Magwanishe says government has a plan to help local business to prosper.

“This factory has got a state-of-the-art that will help it to be competitive globally. That is one factor that distinguishes it from other companies. And as a government, as a Department of Trade and Industry, we have a master plan that we will unveil to ensure that we have the market, we have the industry to be able to be competitive and to absorb about 60 000 jobs,” says Magwanishe.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, has warned that government will clamp down on cheap imports.

“Those industries that provide more jobs must be protected. It is for this reason that this being a textile and clothing company needs to be supported. As government, we’ve came in to assist through the Black Industrialist Program, but also through KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund we’ve invested R40 million in a loan to ensure that this company is viable to protect the jobs and the company we need to tighten and ensure that we clamp down on the entry of the import the import that are cheap come here illegally,” says Zikalala.

Africa Bespoke Apparel employees say the jobs are helping them to support their families.

“It’s too wonderful to work here and the income is wonderful. It’s a pleasure to work here.”

Thousands of workers have lost their jobs in the recent years as a result of the closure of textile industry in KwaZulu-Natal.

Observers and labour say the closure of clothing factory was caused by the flooding of local market by cheap garments from abroad particularly from China.

They say this investment is a step to the right direction to revive the textile industry in the province.