Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bulelani Magwanishe and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Economic Development Sihle Zikalala have announced the launch of a multi-million-rand Black Industrialist textile firm, Africa Bespoke Apparel (ABA).

In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) stated that African Bespoke Apparel (ABA) is a 100 per cent Black company operating in the textile, clothing and footwear sector. The company is the first one amongst the Black Industrialists beneficiaries to create about 450 employment opportunities within four months of its operation.

ABA has been approved for grant funding of $25mn from the dti’s Black Industrial Scheme (BIS), and the project is co-funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund. The BIS is an incentive for the Black Industrialists Programme to unlock the potential of black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.

“The BIS supported ABA to acquire the new equipment which aimed at simplifying and improving the production process, with increased flexibility and safety, which is combined with the realisation of guaranteed high quality to meet the demands of the modern textiles and clothing sector,” added Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

Magwanishe explained that the modern technology installed through the BIS will allow the company to triple its production. He noted that this manufacturing capability has made ABA competitive in relation to modern manufacturing standards in the clothing and textiles sector. “Through the BIS support the company seeks to penetrate a wide range of sub-Saharan African markets future,” he continued.

“Our Black Industrialists Programme is producing handsome dividends. We have funded ABA as the provincial government because we strongly believe that the textile sector can be used as one of the avenues of achieving our radical economic transformation agenda,” he concluded.