COSATU demands new SA kit
Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions (COSATU) is demanding a kit sponsorship change for South Africa's Olympic and Paralympic Games teams because the kit was not produced by a local manufacturer.
The kit, which would serve the teams for both the London games later this year and the Olympics of 2016 to be held in Rio de Janeiro, is produced by Chinese manufacturer Erke.
This has angered COSATU, prompting them to label it as a "total lack of patriotism" from SASCOC, saying the Olympics should be a platform to exhibit the very best of each country’s products.
"Thanks to [SASCOC], our teams will now be promoting the best of Chinese clothing," spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.
The use of the Chinese-made kits was also anathema to the local procurement accord, signed last year by government, business, organised labour and community constituencies. The accord was aimed at promoting local procurement to boost employment.
"COSATU demands that the deal with Erke be cancelled and the contacts for the kit be given to Proudly South African companies, so that the athletes can wear them with real pride," Craven said.
Earlier on Wednesday, SA Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) spokesperson, Andre Kriel, also condemned SASCOC's choice of a foreign supplier over local industry.
"It is important for our country's national pride that local manufacturers be promoted in the supply of attire to our national sporting teams. More importantly, it is crucial that local manufacturing be encouraged to help with local job creation."
SASCOC president Gideon Sam defended the decision, saying Erke had provided a sponsorship valued around US$4 million and that no South African company was willing to take up the sponsorship.
"In 2009, when we were looking for sponsorship, it was coming up to the FIFA World Cup and everyone [local business] said they had their money tied up.
"We could not stand back, we had to put our feelers out wider."
Erke's offer of sponsorship went hand-in-hand with the manufacture of the kits," said Sam.