JOHANNESBURG — Textile and clothing manufacturers here are lauding the government’s latest efforts to rescue the beleaguered industry.

The National Treasury has issued a binding instruction to all government departments, agencies and state-owned enterprises to purchase their clothing, textiles, footwear and leather goods from local manufacturers.

As the government is the country’s biggest employer, this means that hundreds of thousands of employees all over the country, from policemen and the military to postmen, nurses and airport personnel, are required to source their uniforms locally.

The instruction enforces the preferential procurement regulations stipulated in the Preferential Procurement Policy Act that came into effect in December. Whether this move will significantly invigorate the ailing sector remains to be seen, but manufacturers and workers’ unions are hopeful.

Industry consultant and analyst Renato Palmi said this move was long overdue, but said its success depends “on the strict enforcement of procurement regulations, which includes the verification of certificates.”

South African Clothing & Textile Workers Union general secretary Andre Kriel said the implementation of local procurement regulations is “a boost for local jobs in the domestic…industry because it now directs millions of state and [state-owned enterprises] sending toward…manufacturing. This is a very significant development for our industry, as it compels that all inputs to the final product that are purchased by the state or SOE, must be made locally as well.”

Kriel added that this “will result in major job creation and job retention in the domestic…sector, we expect. It is a major boost for local production.”