The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) welcomed the new regulations published in the Government Gazette by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel that allowed clothing and bedding to be sold under level 4 lockdown restrictions.
“Cosatu welcomes the list of winter and children’s clothing and home textiles issued by government yesterday, as it expands the range of products that working families can buy very significantly,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday.
They condemned the “hysterical and childish criticism of the Democratic Alliance (DA), who never missed an opportunity to grandstand and play to the gallery”.
“They simply want to ignore the pandemic and want all the comforts that they have always had.”
Cosatu said the new regulations were meant to limit the movement of people during Level 4.
“It contained a list of products that are available by retailers under Level 4 lockdown and this included winter-clothes and children’s clothes.
“Our members were unclear what clothes and footwear their factories could make and what the retail stores could sell. Lack of clarity is not good for workers, consumers, or businesses,” the federation added.
It said the labour movement, as well as retailers and manufacturers, had asked government to publish a list to clarify what was covered under the headings of winter clothes and children’s clothes.
“We asked that the list be as wide as possible so that we do not miss out garments and textiles that are needed in winter. The list was developed in a cooperative manner and was supported by retailers, manufacturers, and workers,” it further said.
The labour federation said it believed that the list was wide enough to get the next phase of restarting industry going and it fully supported it as it would create jobs and give consumers a much wider variety of clothes to buy at stores.
“We support the decision by government to hear the voices of industry and to publish the list of clothing and home textiles. We call on the DA not to play with the lives of our people with its reckless rhetoric. They seem to want to open at all costs.”
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)