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SA textile firms exploring Swaziland to relocate
Mar '11
Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza, the General Manager of the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority recently revealed that, textile firms from South Africa are exploring Swaziland with an eye to relocate there.

However, the official failed to give clarity if these were the same Chinese subsidiaries based in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal – South Africa, which had warned of exiting the country, if compelled to adhere to payment of weekly minimum wage of R324.

He said that some of these companies have put forth the point that, they would like to cash in on the preferential market access that Swaziland has to the US markets under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The official said that, though he is not very much certain if these are the same China-based firms, but then he said that, SA does has legislations which would not allow these firms to evade payment of minimum wages.

Further, Ginindza did accept that though labour was bit cheaper in Swaziland then in SA, but still it remained to be costlier than that in Lesotho. Also, he revealed that, none of the formal textile associations, but only the companies in their individual capacity approached the Kingdom with regards to the issue of minimum wage payment.

Around 8,000 workers are employed in the factories in Newcastle, and it was around seven months back that the clothing manufacturing bargaining council started shutting down the factories in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, as these factories either failed or ignored adhering to the minimum wage rules.

It is expected that the minimum weekly wage may be raised to R336 by end of the current month, to R465 by year end and R516 by April 2012.

The Newcastle Chinese Chamber of Commerce has said that this may prove detrimental for its members and have thus urged to lower the entry-level wages.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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