FLIC – the Footwear and Leather Industries Cluster has been approved by the DTI. FLIC replaces the NFLC (National Footwear & Leather Cluster) which was disbanded.
FLIC is headed by Ernest Heunis who will also assume the function of guiding the Leather Business of the Cluster. Well known throughout the industry he will be setting mandated direction and, apart from his fiduciary role of ensuring good governance and compliance within industry clusters, he will continue to assist participants with local industry incentives.
Footwear and Accessories will be guided by Jonathan Hallowes with Richard Starmer (Design & Training) and Russell Addinall (who will continue his work on, and training in, CAD/CAM systems for both design and production for Sub-National Clusters and the industry at large).
The Prime objective of FLIC will be to bring home to South Africa, footwear production lost to countries overseas. Footwear and Clothing have been used as prime segments for industrialization by countries to provide employment to local populations. China have managed to bring unemployment down to +/- 10%, or 80 million working age people, (unofficial - some google articles have it twice as high - against an official +/- 4%) which still constitutes twice the size of South Africa’s total working population. It is thus no surprise that Chinese-manned operations are springing up in many African countries.
FLIC hopes to achieve this repatriation by enabling local industries to be competitive in terms of design, manufacture and cost.
In addition FLIC aims to assist the Government, SAFLIA and other agencies to ensure level playing fields by fostering compliance to the country’s laws in terms of illegal imports, fair labor practice, fair incentives, and fair business practice.
FLIC’s initial program will be to map the industry to determine gaps from desirable metrics in terms of Design, Manufacture, Employment, Growth, Profitability, and Sustainability. It will then be setting goals, activities and timing with Cluster Members (and the industries at large) in order to bridge such gaps. Consequently many participants in the industry can expect calls from these 4 individuals who have committed themselves to impartiality, confidentiality, availability and assistance where appropriate, as well as learning as much as possible in order to fulfill their mission.
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