Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Pretoria: Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has gazetted directions on the sale of winter clothing, footwear and bedding in Level 4 of the national COVID-19 lockdown.

The directions clarify the related winter clothing, footwear and home textiles which may be sold during Alert Level 4 in terms of the regulations published by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) on 29 April.

“The publication of these directions results from Minister Patel’s consultative meeting with industry leaders in the Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather sector held last Tuesday, 5 May 2020,” said the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) on Tuesday.

Industry stakeholders had requested that Patel gazettes a list of clothing and related products that could be made available for sale in retail stores.

A task team of industry representatives and the department worked together to construct a list of essential winter clothing, footwear and home textiles that would be permissible for sale in retail stores across the country during Level 4 of the lockdown.

The list of winter clothing, footwear and home textiles includes:

  • all baby and toddler clothing and footwear;
  • children’s wear, including school wear and school shoes;
  • maternity wear; adult sleepwear and gowns;
  • adult underwear;
  • a range of adult footwear categories, including boots, slippers, sneakers and trainers;
  • adult outerwear categories, including active wear, knitwear, jackets and coats;
  • adult accessories; and bedding categories, including baby bedding and blankets, duvets, blankets, and electric blankets.

The Minister expressed his appreciation for the positive tone of the engagement with industry stakeholders.

“Restarting more parts of our economy is important and we are working hard to ensure that industry follow best practice to protect health and safety of all our citizens. The discussions with industry builds on the greater cooperation that arose from the Industry Masterplan for the retail-clothing, textile and footwear industry,” said Patel.

The Minister also called on consumers to purchase locally made products.

“I call on consumers to look for South African-made products, made proudly by local workers, so that we can rebuild the economy. The manufacturing and retail sector has been through a very difficult time and the resumption of clothing sales under Level 4 of the new risk-adjusted approach, will assist to provide greater levels of production and commerce in the sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of The Foschini Group (TFG), and chair of the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF), Anthony Thunstrom welcomed the new directions.

“The federation has participated in a robust engagement with government and stakeholders to construct the list of essential consumer items for winter clothing and textile items. The leadership of Minister Patel has been appreciated throughout the consultations,” said Thunstrom.

This as the NCRF called on the clothing retail sector to offer retail environments that adhere to strict health protocols to help mitigate the transmission risks of COVID-19.

Customers have also been encouraged to limit their trips to retail stores, and to always wear protective facemasks and maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres when around other people. –