Return of textile firm

2018-11-07 15:24
From left: MPL Zibuse Mlaba, KZN economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala and eThekwini Municipality Mayor Zandile Gumede at the reopening of the Glodina factory in Hammarsdale.

From left: MPL Zibuse Mlaba, KZN economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala and eThekwini Municipality Mayor Zandile Gumede at the reopening of the Glodina factory in Hammarsdale. (Clive ndou)

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KZN Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala on on Tuesday officially reopened Hammarsdale’s Glodina textile factory which had shut down a few months ago due to tough economic conditions.

The reopening of the factory that had shed 500 jobs during its closure, was made possible by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) after the state financier had resolved to buy the factory from its previous owners, Kap Industrial Holdings.

“As the KZN provincial government we intervened and brought in investors after realising that this factory has the potential to create jobs,” Zikalala said.

The IDC, which has so far invested R150 million in the object, will run the factory through an entity owned by the IDC.

Out of the 500 employees who were left jobless, 138 have already been brought back.

“We are confident that by the end of January [2019] we would have created 211 jobs,” IDC chief executive Geoffrey Qhena said.

Established in 1951, Glodina was part of the sprouting industries providing livelihoods to thousands of families in Hammarsdale and surrounding areas. It was once one of the biggest players in the manufacturing of towels and napkins, claiming a 20% market share in the sector.

“Generally as the IDC we don’t own companies. This is an exceptional case. Our view is that Glodina remains a strong brand, and we want to take Glodina back to its glory days,” Qhena said.

The IDC, Qhena said, had assembled a strong team, including people with valuable experience in the textile industry, to run the company.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done. For us to succeed, it is also critically important for South Africans to begin to realise the importance of buying locally produced goods,” he said.

The provincial government was compelled to intervene after unemployment in Hammarsdale and the surrounding areas had skyrocketed due to the closure of factories in the area.

Last year more than 1 300 workers in the area lost their jobs after RCL, formerly Rainbow Chickens, closed 15 of its 25 Hammarsdale farms.

The job bloodbath in Hammarsdale and other areas across KZN, Zikalala said, was also mainly caused by cheap imports, particularly the importing of textile products.

“As a result, many workers, people who have families to support, were badly affected. This whole area, which was once a booming industrial hub, now looks like a ghost town,” he said.

While consumers have been benefiting from the cheap imports through lower prices, the influx of products, particularly textile materials from countries such as China, has resulted in the closure of several factories, contributing to the province’s high unemployment rate.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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