Rugby World Cup 2011
SARU defends 'made in China'
Springbok jersey (File)
Johannesburg - A significant percentage of its supporters' wear is sourced from local manufacturers, The South African Rugby Union (SARU) said on Tuesday.
The body was responding to reports that the Independent Democrats' parliamentary leader says he won't wear the Bok jersey during the Rugby World Cup because the garments were made in China at the expense of the country's suffering textile and clothing industry.
Joe Mcgluwa said SARU's decision was "disgraceful".
The news re-ignited anger about outsourcing of such symbols at a time the country is promoting "Proudly South African" products and dozens of factories are threatened with closure.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions calls it "a scandal" that will discourage workers from supporting the Springboks at the tournament starting Friday in New Zealand.
SARU in a statement said it had has gone to great lengths to ensure that supporters are provided with a range of supporters' wear which is affordable and accessible to all South Africans.
"SARU has an obligation to provide a wide range of product to our supporters, from the top end of the market to the low end of the consumer spectrum.
"SARU is not a clothing manufacturer and our licencing agent, Signet Licensing, have therefore contracted various suppliers to manufacture and supply the market with supporter wear apparel.
It added that most of the products are produced in South Africa and that SARU was firmly committed to increase the local manufacturing component of such products in the future.
The statement said it was important to note that since last year, SARU has been in constant engagement with the South African Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) on the issue of our product and manufacturing plans. This included SARU’s local procurement strategy post 2011.
"SACTWU have not expressed any concerns to date regarding SARU’s proposal and appear to have been satisfied as to the rationale provided in the split between the local and imported product in our market."* Can the Springboks retain the RWC title? Click HERE for the latest RWC odds from BET.CO.ZA