The African National Congress’s (ANC) T-shirt suppliers are all South African, the ruling party said on Thursday after reports that it sourced T-shirts totalling millions of rands from China.
“We needed two million T-shirts—that was the order. We used the services of a group of people who buy and print them. The suppliers bought the T-shirts, not the ANC,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.
“All our suppliers are South African. I don’t know anything about the Chinese.”
The Star on Thursday reported that T-shirt orders for the ANC, valued between R15-million and R20-million, were given to Chinese manufacturers, further damaging South Africa’s already ailing textiles industry.
The report said 850 000 shirts which bore “Made in China” labels and were printed with ANC slogans had flooded the country ahead of the April 22 election.
It said the foreign order caused an uproar in the textiles industry as the ANC and its allies had, in the past, targeted large retailers for selling Chinese textiles saying they were undermining the job market.
The Star quoted Democratic Alliance parliamentary candidate Rory Macpherson, who was involved in the textiles industry, as saying he was made aware of the order by a “concerned member of the ANC”.
“In real terms, this order of 850 000 shirts is worth about R20-million. An order of this magnitude could keep several small CMT [cut, manufacture, trim] manufacturers busy for and alive for months,” he told the paper.
The textile industry was one of the hardest hit manufacturing sectors in the slowdown in the economy.—Sapa