Kieno Kammies was discussing the transformation of the Western Cape textile industry on his show on Monday (9 February) when he received a call from labour lawyer Michael bagraim, who told him that Cape Union Mart has a lot of its garments made locally, and in spite of the challenges, have never had to retrench any staff as a result of overseas competition.
The first Cape Town-based store was founded way back in 1933 by Philip Krawitz, the grandfather of the current Chairman of Cape Union Mart, also named Philip Krawitz.
It started off as an army and navy store, supplying visiting troops with some of the luxuries and necessities associated with the military.
Today, it has a number of offshoots – namely Poetry and Old Khaki – which have become established brands themselves.
Krawitz explains that while some of their items are made in China, they make every effort to outsource their production to local companies, because at the end of the day, if money is being put back into local workers' pockets, they will have the money to spend it locally and to help support the brands.
Krawitz says that even though goods can be produced cheaply overseas, there are added cost factors such as shipping and import duties. He adds that there is a fallacy that South African workers are not as productive as those overseas, and believes that such problems lie more with poor management skills.
Listen to Kieno Kammies' interview with Philip Krawitz, below: