While all political parties appear in agreement about the importance of local businesses to South Africa’s future, it remains to be seen whether they all support these businesses with their money.
Election season is one of the most expensive times in any political party’s existence. Parties go all out on adverts, billboards, banners and clothing items such as t-shirts.
But do political parties opt for cheap imports for their party t-shirts, all while paying lip service to supporting local businesses and goods?
ANC: Local is lekker
ANC acting spokesperson Dakota Legoete told Fin24 last week that all the ruling party’s election regalia was produced locally.
“Posters are produced locally. Others and billboards are produced by local providers.
“It’s our position that we must buy locally produced products to save jobs in the textile industry. That is what we pursue in all provinces and all alliance partners,” said Legoete.
Legoete told Fin24 that the ANC advocated increasing taxes on imported goods, offering local producers the protection of economic zones and tax incentives for locally produced products.
“Until we get laws to protect locally produced products, we won’t be in a position to change the game.
“If we open borders without protecting local producers then we might as well be a nation that consumes nothing but imports,” Legoete said.
The ANC’s ally labour federation, the Congress of South African Trade Union, was criticised in 2005 for using t-shirts imported from China for their branded clothing items.
DA: ‘Various locations’
Marshalle Frederiks of the Democratic Alliance’s procurement office said the branding on the parties clothing items was printed locally.
However, the party would not specify where it sourced its clothes from.
“The Democratic Alliance’s paraphernalia is sourced from various locations and printed locally. We also purchase our official merchandise locally.
“We have always been a supporter of empowering the local economy, especially local entrepreneurs,” Frederiks said.
EFF: Missing in action
All attempts at reaching the Economic Freedom Fighters to comment on the issue, over the course of a week, were unsuccessful.