Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021

Education TrainingCommunity AffairsCommunity DevelopmentCurrent Affairs

OPERATION SIYAHLOLA VISIT TO UMSINGA CLOTHING FACTORY: Scheduled for Friday,  23rd April 2021 at the Msinga Clothing Factory (Old BATA Shoe Factory in Keats Drift) Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition Ms Nomalungelo Gina will be visiting the Msinga Clothing Factory to see the work that is being done by the omen owned company situated in the deep rural area of Umsinga.  

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Msinga Clothing Factory is one of the 20 women owned business who are currently participating in the 2020/21 Ithala Imbokodo Iyazenzela “Women doing it for themselves”   12-month mentorship programme which aims to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs who require resources to grow. The purpose of the mentorship programme is a way of giving back to the community especially to those who were previously disadvantaged. Through this programme Ithala has reached more than 3500 women in 39 townships across the province. To date 60 women in business have been taken though the mentorship programme to advance their business skills.Having opened its doors back in 2019, Msinga Clothing Factory is now in its  2ndyear of operations and has proven itself as one of the projects that can turn around the status of the clothing manufacturing sector not only in Msinga area but in KwaZulu –Natal and in South Africa. The  Factory was setup to provide an enabling environment for emerging designers, qualified unemployed clothing technologists and unemployed youth interested in the sector.

Currently, the business is operating on 4000m2.  However, it has the potential to expand to a 14 983m2 operation (140 lines) and has successfully managed projects, including PPE medical masks production. The business supplies big brands in the clothing retail sector, with one of the key current projects being the Foschini Retail Group contract. Their production currently turnaround time for 2000 units is two days.

The role of SMME development is critical to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa at large in stimulating economic development and empowerment, in order to address the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

The role of women is even more critical in creating an inclusive economy and sustainable economic growth, whereby equal access to economic opportunities becomes accentuated in order to provide the platform to grow and sustain efforts of government and social partners in growing our economy to acceptable levels in order to address inequalities of the past.

“Research also shows that start-up and small businesses that receive mentoring have a better chance of survival and improve their revenue. Our experience over the past four years has shown that many women start their businesses with little or no business knowledge. Those who receive mentoring through our awards programme have become better at running a business; know if they are making profits or losses and have improved their marketing and sales”- Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala Reputation Manager.

The KwaZulu Natal Department of Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Women Empowerment Unit have been staunch partners since the inception of the programme. This year, the department has invested an amount of R800k for the realisation of the 2020/21 mentorship programme. “The SMME sector is critical to finding solutions to joblessness and poverty in the country. Across KwaZulu-Natal we found that women in SMMEs faced similar challenges in starting, sustaining and growing their businesses, and EDTEA is committed on women and youth empowerment, but more than that we support the programme because it reaches the most remote areas of KwaZulu-Natal and is valuable to those who participate” said Nonkonzo Nzama of EDTEA’s Women Empowerment Unit.

As part of the mentorship programme, Ithala working in partnership with SEDA has  been able to allocate 5 interns to assist with the Human Resource Management element of the business operations. “We pride ourselves in the strategy to provide a skills development program customised according to the industry requirements by adopting skills related and needed in the industry” -  Lelly Khumalo, Managing Director.

Ithala continues to recognise and reward business success in the SMME sector and is committed to the continued development of entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal.



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Enquiries:        SITANDIWE DIMBA, Group Reputation Manager, 082 093 9495

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