10 June 2024

From the Desk of Executive
Director, Nerisha Jairaj

Dear members, 

Throughout the month of May, one thought resonated in my mind: To be strong, we must stand together. To survive, we must form an unbreakable human chain and hold onto it for dear life. We need to open our eyes to recognize the divide and conquer rule that pulls us down, identify the obstacles and their origins, and focus on creating bridges to mend the divide and find solutions to overcome these challenges. As leaders in industry, it’s our responsibility to lead with positive motivation and to empower TEAM SOUTH AFRICA! ARE YOU A TEAM PLAYER? Lets be part of the change that allows up to stand together and conquer the world.

Best regards,
Nerisha Jairaj Executive Director, SAFLEC

Table of Content

Topic 1:

Cost of raw materials and insufficient demand continues to worry the footwear industry

Respondents of the 10th edition of the World Footwear Business Conditions Survey reveal that cost of raw materials and insufficient demand continue to negatively impact their businesses.

The cost of merchandise or raw materials, highlighted by 37% of our experts, tops the list of main difficulties for footwear businesses in the next six months in this survey edition, as in the previous one, although with a lower percentage of responses (minus 9 percentage points). While this concern is prevalent across different geographies, it is notably acute in Africa and South America, and particularly less significant in Europe.

Insufficient demand in international markets is the second most significant source of concern for footwear businesses, particularly in Europe, where it was mentioned by 75% of respondents. Competition in domestic markets follows, posing a challenge to 35% of our respondents, along with insufficient demand in domestic markets, cited by 30% of them. Financial difficulties, mentioned by 26% of respondents, are the fifth most important source of concern for footwear businesses.

Financial difficulties are more substantial in Africa and South America than elsewhere.

Taxes have moved up one position in this list since the last survey edition, but only 13% of the respondents mention them as a source of concern. Human resources related problems, on the contrary, are now, apparently, a less significant cause of concern, mentioned by 12% of respondents (in comparison to 21% in the previous edition). Finally, issues such as the lack of adequate equipment or other technological problems, legal or administrative obstacles to international trade, climate concerns, and regulatory or administrative requirements, do not surpass 10% of responses.

Source: Business Conditions Survey – 4 June 2024

Topic 2:

Join SAFLEC and unlock a world of opportunities in the South African footwear and leather industry. As a member, gain access to vital resources, exclusive events, and networking platforms. With SAFLEC, seize the chance to expand into global markets through funding and support initiatives. Experience the thrill of collaborating with industry leaders, staying ahead of trends, and shaping the future of our craft. Don’t just witness the excitement — be a vital part of it. Elevate your career and impact by becoming a member of SAFLEC today! Contact

Topic 3:

Empowering our members to grow exports means equipping them with the tools to become export-ready, especially through globally relevant seasonal ranges. Since its inception, our ARSUTORIA workshops have been dedicated to this mission. By providing our members with seasonal information and trends two years in advance, we enable them to stay ahead and expand their export potential.

Our recent events, including the one-week workshop in Durban and the day-long bag seminar in Cape Town, offered manufacturers invaluable one-on-one meetings with our facilitators. These sessions provided constructive critiques and guidance on their current ranges. This year’s ARSUTORIA workshops were generously sponsored by the International Labour Organization and eThekwini Municipality through EFLC and SAFLEC. Additionally, BATA and Smiley’s Footwear were awarded scholarships for training in Italy.

We are committed to continuing these annual opportunities if we are able to secure the necessary funding, ensuring we bring you the best resources and support for your growth.

Topic 4:
SAFLEC Meet & Greet

We were thrilled by the incredible turnout at our Cape Town Meet and Greet, which we moved a day earlier due to overwhelming attendee requests. The event was a wonderful blend of new potential members, such as Carol Boyes and Jekyl and Hide, alongside long-standing members eager to reconnect. It was truly an occasion worth celebrating.

Our unwavering dedication to empowering our members remains our top priority. We are committed to enhancing member benefits through upskilling, promotion, and expanding market access. Empowering our members is at the heart of everything we do

Topic 5:
Productivity SA Kaizen Programme

SAFLEC and the eThekwini Footwear and Leather Cluster have collaborated with Productivity SA for years to bring new training opportunities aimed at increasing market access for our members. Sometimes this involves ensuring that our members implement good practices within the factory environment. One such project, in collaboration with the ILO, supports micro and informal enterprises in the footwear and leather sectors to improve business practices through formalization, skills development, and other capacity-building interventions.

The programme, running for 2-3 months, is known as the Productivity Ecosystems for Decent Work (P4DW) Programme and targets medium to large companies (over 50 employees) and another for small and medium sized business.  Under 50 employees) This practical training and in-factory consulting programme aims to improve productivity and working conditions in small and medium enterprises (SMMEs).

The objectives of the P4DW Programme include:

  • Improving quality, productivity, delivery, eliminating waste, and reducing costs;
  • Encouraging progressive mindsets among managers and workers;
  • Empowering team members to innovate;
  • Building teamwork and enhancing communication;
  • Creating an organization that continuously improves; and
  • Ensuring a safe and decent work environment.
  • Spaces are limited, so we strongly encourage our members to participate and reap the benefits. Companies that have participated in these programs have shown all-around progress, diversified their product offerings, improved efficiencies, and increased their supply capacity.

Organizations interested can contact Productivity SA directly:

Mninawa Zwakala, Senior Productivity Advisor
Phone: +27 11 848 5499

Topic 6:

Our social media platforms have been hitting record breaking hits. Our last post obtained over 160 000 likes, boosted to followers in the rest of Africa, Europe, Middle East, and North America. We encourage you to take advantage of our efforts to promote you.

Send us content to push your company and brands. Also like, follow, and forward our links to your contact lists. Let’s build the following globally, so that we can show the world our capability.

Instagram: @saflec_team
Youtube: SAFLEC 

Topic 7:

Atlanta Shoe Market
10 – 12 August 2024

Autumn Fair Birmingham
01 – 04 September 2024

Fashion World Tokyo
15 – 17 October 2024

As we move forward, we recognize the importance of re-learning and adapting to global needs, demands, and challenges while embracing new strategies to thrive in the post-covid era. 

Best regards,
Nerisha Jairaj Executive Director, SAFLEC