SARU’s Made in China clothes miff local unions… YOU should be too

September 6, 2011
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The trade unions whinge because the Bok apparel provider makes clothes in China…

So having spent the 80′s and early 90′s destroying our textiles industry and driving manufacturers into buying Chinese and losing all their jobs the unions have now changed their minds… understandably so… losing your job is not a cool alternative to having a high wage.

Anyway, so it turns out that the unions HAVE learned a lesson from the 80′s and 90′s.

The Clothing and Textiles Workers Union in 2007 asked fans to boycott Canterbury and other licensed Bok wear because it is made in China. After a chat to SARU they changed their minds.

But instead of kowtowing they actually went back and drew up a plan which would see the locals manufacture Bok licensed goods locally at a competitive price compared to the Chinese made stuff. Last year the local manufacturing industry proved its worth when it manufactured all the Bafana fan gear locally for the Football version. It’s general secretary Andre Kriel even had a meeting with SARU to discuss how they could utilize the skills from the football world cup to support local textiles manufacturers in the rugby world cup. This was last year already.

SARU apparently smiled and made nodding noises, got themselves a licensing agent called Signet Licensing and went to China.

If true I think it is important that local fans should know tat the present huge drive to wear SARU branded clothing (not just the Canterbury stuff, but the cheap tee shirts, sweaters and beanies in Ackermans and Pick N Pay and the like) could have been made locally and could have helped local textiles manufacturers and created jobs, but SARU has apparently shown a total disdain for helping local.

When the newspaper The Star approached SARU, their comms manager Rayaan Adriaanse fobbed off the reporter and referred them to some character called Alex Cotchobos of Signet Licensing… a clear cop out of accountability to the local community. SARU missed a trick here. Their cavalier attempts to shrug off responsibility for assisting local manufacturers and showing some patriotism while at the same time demanding it from South Africans is actually sickening… given the lengths Bafana went to in order to assist the local manufacturing community.

I am not one for big deals on these kinds of issues, but I agree with Cosatu here… we should actually NOW boycott SARU apparel. I have never bought their licensed stuff and I don’t intend to now either…

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  1. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Interesting – RC Innsbruck last seasons kit was made in SA ;-)

  2. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I must say I am stunned…

    It is actually completely unacceptable that our rugby union can ask everyone to support the team and then go and make all their clothes in China and then say “Oh but our agent did it…”


    They actually have a community responsibility towards their own people…

    And hey as this Kriel guy says… they did it for Bafana so why not for the Bokke…

    This is just going to underline what an insensitive uncaring management SARU has … and alienate yet more black fans

  3. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 9:59 am:

    CAPITALISM!! :tpuke:

  4. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Yeh this irks me a great deal.

    I drive to Qwa Qwa at least once month. The site of about 45 textile factories lying barren……….

    These things are called “soft power” or soft ‘diplomacy’ of which SARU has very little grasp.

    Dont for example proclaim to be the ‘peoples team’ yet have your send off in fucking Sandton? Dont pretend to be the peoples team yet you manufacture your apparel in China?

    Hearts and Minds…

    Then again I did not need another reason NOT to support the farce.

  5. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 10:17 am:

    The issue though is that the union says they managed to present an offer with competitive pricing… and an already proven track record from the soccer world cup…


    Here a middle finger..

    What irks me the most is that the powers that be just refers the media on to some licensing agent… what the hell does he care about?

    The accountability must be with SARU and NOT their outsourced suppliers…

  6. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:37 am


    This is the administration… not the team…

    Unfortunately as with all things and in all countries excluding maybe New Zealand… rugby is an elitist sport for people from higher social classes…

    If you look at the racial demographic of the people at the send off it was pretty representative… but from a socio economic perspective very stratified…

  7. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 10:37 am:

    I have no problem with some sports naturally attracting different classes but dont then pretend its otherwise.

    Peter is the head honcho when it comes to ‘rugby for the people’ bullocks but he does fuckall to live by the adage.

    Yes its is just administration but as long as people support the players and the brand, the administrators have license to roam.

  8. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Would be interesting to see what the price difference was in the 2 offers.

    If not big then maybe a little peek needs to be taken as to what connections the middle man has or offers he made.

  9. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Reply to Ollie @ 11:04 am:

    signet are c*n@s of the highest order – absolute profit chasers – cares nothing for the local industry. They make it very very hard for small businesses to supply, no matter what the price of manufacturing.

  10. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Reply to Ollie @ 11:04 am:


    I suspect you have nailed it Ollie…

  11. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:18 am


    Then maybe we should “llok into” this organization…

  12. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Well from what I have learned (I supplied merchandise to CSA for 5 years) there is no real middleman.

    Its manufacturers who mostly market their own produce. Then there is the licensing agent (signet/octagon/sail etc) who offer the brand the biggest return per item sold, and the onl way to do this is to squeeze the supplier for all its worth.

    Its almost blackmail. They say “you give it to us at this price or we go to China”. They care very little for the quality of the product. Its all profit.

  13. avatar Kat says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Cosatu is part of the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance with very strong links to China. The Gov loves China. Funny how this plays out in the textile industry. SARU sends business the way of the Gov’s best buddies and get in trouble with Cosatu … LOL!

  14. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Reply to Kumbaya Bokke! @ 11:29 am:

    In this case Signet is the middle man, who sounds like he grasps the concept of capitalism very well.

    Unless SARU has a clause saying they want local products then there is nothing to be done about it. Welcome to the business world.

  15. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Reply to Kat @ 11:44 am:

    And China loves Africa, especially when it can start cashing in on it’s promises made by despot leaders/agreements/investments it has made in the continent.

  16. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Reply to Ollie @ 11:45 am:

    the middleman should in a normal economy be the guy who sells the stuff at the stadium. But in our case, especially in rugby the poor sods make very little as the payment to Signet pushes the price so high that no-one will buy it if the seller also has to put a big profit on.

    In soccer its a free for all. They just dont care for the laws.

    I must say all the fake jerseys you see on the street should be regulated by a body but I know the guys and they dont give a shit anymore – at least the fake jerseys generate income for the street sellers, and the products are also made in China.

    The small economy thus benefits from fake jersyes, and so do the consumer.

    Its an odd situation.

  17. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    So it is ok to pay 3 times the price as long as it is made in SA? You guys already bitching about the retail price of the goods so what would it cost if made in SA?

    When I buy kit for the club I look at the best deal – as in PRICE. I would love to be able to buy according to my concience but the club can’t afford it.

    Buying Kit for the club cost us 65Euro for complete kit (Jersey matching shorts and Socks) this was a good deal at the time and got the transport thrown in because I ordered two sets (home and away) and it was from SA.

    The current Kit I did differently: bought pre made Addidas jerseys at 17Euro a piece and had the Logo’s and Numbers added for about 10 Euro each – then socks at 5 Euro and Shorts at 7 Euro = Total costs for complete Kit 42Euro incl taxes and transport! We needed to do this to save time – all done in 10days in stead of the regular 8 weeks!
    We also got some Kukri kit from CN for about 60 Euro each which took 8 Weeks – not doing that again! :bangheadt:

  18. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Reply to Kat @ 11:44 am:

    Quite ironic, yes.
    BTW I remember an outcry concerning
    SACP T-shirts Made in China a few
    years back.

  19. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Reply to Kumbaya Bokke! @ 12:02 pm:

    I have heard rumours that sometimes the “fake” and “real” licensed stuff gets made in the same factory off the same production line just with a few different ingredients…

    Okay that was a colleague who was looking at undercutting local paint manufacturers by importing from there and even setting up a partnership.

  20. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Bought some underpants from Woolies last
    year, like I’ve been doing for decades.

    Discovered their front opening was badly
    designed for the general Saffa male.

    Also that they were Made in India.
    Had to take a scissors and cut a decent
    opening at the right place.

    Woolies is not what it used to be, and
    that includes wrong labelling, like
    trousers 97/79 turns out to be 95/79

    And they are always oversupplied in the
    small and X-large categories and
    undersupplied in the medium ranges.

    Used to buy without fitting, now I even
    have to fit their shirts labelled Large.

  21. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    You should try their kak kids clothes!!!

    You buy a 6-7 dress that has a 3-4 waist, 7-8 chest and a 12-13 arms..

    No kidding I swear

    We bought a military jacket when that was in style for my the 3-4 year old that had a waist too tight, a chest fine, throat too big and arms like a monkey…

    To make matters worse the staff was like …

    “Heeheehee seh… thees sizes… eish there is nothing we ken do”

    I told her ther was something I could do… NOT BUY AT WOOLWORTHS AGAIN…

  22. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 12:17 pm:

    Dude read the post

    The local apparel guys actually priced themselves to be competitive with the Chinese manufactured stuff.

  23. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Reply to DavidS @ 1:42 pm:

    read? me? :Dawie:

  24. avatar Timeo says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Reply to DavidS @ 1:42 pm:

    That’s what they say but it is unlikely to be true, else they would have received the contract.

    All this buying local is bunk. It’s just a transfer of money from the local consumer to an inefficient industry. A small group benefit at a net loss for society as a whole.

  25. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:05 pm:

    I’m not a financial guru, so I can’t figure out how South African Rands going to China can be better than it staying in the country, even if to an inefficient sector? Or is your “society as a whole” the world?

    In which case I still can’t see how it benefits anybody as the factory workers in China surely don’t see much of the money.

  26. avatar Treehugger-shark says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 12:51 pm: Whats up with Woolies clothing ? it used always be such good quality and has really gone down hill. When i get the there little magazines in the post advertising, it tells you to buy South African, but unfortunately the quality has really suffered.

    There food is still good though, they get audited all the time, I get some of my monkey fruits from the farms that supply woolies and it virtually has to look like wax fruit, so my monkeys get excellent quality stuff like you buy in pick n pay and spar, but not good enough for woolies quality.

  27. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Reply to Treehugger-shark @ 2:15 pm:

    My personal bugbear that, throwing away food just because the shape isn’t right. Same in the EU at the moment but apparently they are trying to do something about it.

  28. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Reply to Kat @ 11:44 am:

    The Chinese play the African Nations like a fiddle…

    “from the farms that supply woolies and it virtually has to look like wax fruit,”

    That’s never a good thing…

    Back to topic… I had no idea Canterbury would be out-sourcing their wares to China… must be why their the Aussies have dumped them for their home grown ‘KooGaa’ brand…

    Or is this a BEE licensed RSA branch of CCC?

  29. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Reply to Ollie @ 2:25 pm:

    I remember there being an EU ruling on bananas
    that had to have the correct bend.

    Woolies has really gone d-o-w-n. I once moaned on
    the hello.peter site about them not doing a simple
    thing like displaying the size on the coathanger
    stickers, are having the wrong info displayed.

    Got a phone call response, next time I walked in
    all the sizes were displayed correctly.

    Now Woolies have opted out from hello.peter, as
    has a long list of businesses.

  30. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 2:46 pm:

    Eish, I still have a woolies shirt from over 10 years ago, still looks good.

    The problem isn’t only in SA though, I bought 2 Marlboro shirts here a few years ago, the 1 cam loose when the cuff joined the sleeve and the other showed signs of wearing through on the cuff within the first year. Never bought there again.

  31. avatar KingPaul says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 12:51 pm:
    Kla jy of brag jy??

  32. avatar Timeo says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Reply to Ollie @ 2:13 pm:

    It is called the principle of comparative advantage and was established by guys like Adam Smith and Ricardo more than 200 years ago. You can easily find a simple to read book on basic economic principles and free trade at your local library that explains it.

    Basically says that each country (or person) should specialize in what they do best and buy the rest from others that can produce it more efficiently.

    The society as whole that benefits is the country that engages in free trade because local consumers are not forced to buy products made by an inefficient local industry.

  33. avatar Treehugger-shark says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Reply to Ollie @ 2:25 pm: For me its a good thing, it already costs me a couple of thousand a month to feed over 40 monkeys, so going down the road to get the pawpaws,bannanas avos, kiwi ruit and the occasional box of pomegranits if wonderful, have a fat healthy troop and it keeps them away from foraging on neighboring properties 90% of the time so they stay safe.

    Some human charities get first pick though, but they can only use so much, thank goodness.

  34. avatar Morné says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Reply to Treehugger-shark @ 3:09 pm:

    “Some human charities”

    Haha, LOVE IT.

    Spoken like a true animal activist!

    You go!

  35. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Reply to KingPaul @ 3:04 pm:

    Nee, die opening het so gesit dat
    jy die meneer nie om die nek kon
    beetkry nie.
    Miskien is die Rietkappers anders

  36. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 3:09 pm:

    Got it, thanks for the lesson.

    One problem in the whole thing….. humans.

  37. avatar Ollie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Reply to Treehugger-shark @ 3:09 pm:

    There’s enough food to go around for all, and the farmers wouldn’t worry as much about the monkeys if they new they could sell more of their fruit.

  38. avatar Treehugger-shark says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 3:15 pm: :weed:

    Reply to Ollie @ 3:30 pm: Farmers, and just people in general are total arseholes, they poisoning and shooting monkeys and baboons on site all the time, thats why all the rescues, The people i associate with are truely amazing, the things they see is to devastating, imagine having a wild monkey dieing in your arms but still holding onto your hand knowing you trying to help or a mother with her dead baby shot with pellet gun and she is still carry the little body around days later, truely heartbreaking stuff, ok thats enough from me.

  39. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    MP says no to China-made Bok jersey
    29 minutes ago
    Independent Democrats parliamentary leader Joe Mcgluwa says he won’t wear the Springbok jersey during the Rugby World Cup because the garments were made in China.
    Then knit one yourself, you twit.
    Surely not ALL the Bok jerseys, tops, T-shirts
    are made in China?
    I’ve seen people wearing a multitude of different ones.

  40. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Reply to Treehugger-shark @ 4:19 pm:

    The other side of the coin is baboons
    making a real nuisance of themselves,
    like in the southern peninsula down
    Morne’s way.
    My cousin in Kleinmond are at times a
    prisoner in her own home, with up to 20
    of them on the roof, running around,
    being mischievous.

    I suppose they were there first, but
    it’s difficult when you are on the
    receiving end.

    One grabbed my wife’s rucksack on a
    hiking trip, helping himself to her
    sandwiches. Fortunately he had no
    taste for her purse and camera.

  41. avatar Treehugger-shark says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    @ 40 lol lol lol ja they big scarey and intimidating but not aggresive, just hungry.

  42. avatar Timeo says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Feeding wild animals is a very bad idea.

    They become dependent on humans, lose their natural fear and then becomes dangerous.

  43. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Must be an Austrian thing…

  44. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Went shopping at PnP this afternoon in Birchleigh.

    All Bok apparel I checked out from tee shirts to hoodies to hates had the following monnikers

    Made in China
    Made in Lesotho

    Not one was Made in SA

    Canterbury Bok jerseys I own

    Old 1999 RWC Nike one = Made in Malaysia (great product that!)
    Two short sleeved ones CCC = Made in China
    One long sleeved one = Made in China

    I stand by what I said in the article.

  45. avatar Treehugger-shark says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    @ 42 true.

  46. avatar Kumbaya Bokke! says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    great debate about something real (or we can debate the article on news 24 about Jean and Jaque being the best centre pair in the world)


    one point: my product, and products by many others, were very close to the Chinese price.


    Signet requires you to pay vast sums of money in advance for products you ‘intend’ to sell and if you sell more you pay more, if you sell less they pay you back 3 months after the financial year.

    Imagine a small company having to pay R100 000 bucks up front – how does this influence cash flow?

    No, its designed to favor the conglomerate from China who is happy to dump tons of substandard quality shite ont the market – as long as SARU gets their money.

    My opinion? Buy fake.

  47. avatar DavidS says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    SARU has responded but I’m sorry they are not telling the truth.

    I will make a more thorough check tomorrow at Edgars and Ackermans and other apparel stores near my house at various shopping centers but at the moment I am yet to find a BOK licensed product made in SA.

  48. avatar Timeo says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 4:10 am

    One can ask why the Chinese made products would cost less than SA made ones. Perhaps because SA workers are overpaid and lazy?
    Does that make them more worthy of receiving your money than Chinese workers?

  49. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:10 am:

    That may very well be the case or generalisation with RSA workers… however the single reason products go to China is their pathetic humans rights and wages in their sweat-shops deeming products stupid cheap to produce by Western (and even African) standards…

    The concerning part when forking out hundreds of Dollars for these products… are that if they are made in China… expect the patterns to automatically be sold into the replica market, the materials to not far off the original… and in many cases the total replica product not far off in overall workmanship however for a 5th of the price…

    The catch 22 is that it’s no urban myth many of these ‘replicas’ come from even worse sweat-shops, fund organised crime and more…

  50. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 7:58 am

  51. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 7:58 am:

    NZ’s own Malema… only a wee bit smarter and far less powerful…

  52. avatar DavidS says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:10 am:

    Because China is a human rights cesspool of individual rights disrespecting pretend socialists …

    As someone else has said… China today is like the USA after the Civil War… just naked capitalism…

    Workers who do nine days on and one off and work 24 hour shifts with no rest and get discarded when their usefulness to the system ends..

    Sorry bud

    Don’t try and hide your lack of a conscience behind a veil of support for capitalism…

  53. avatar Timeo says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 4:54 am:

    It goes ways off course. If you object to buying from China based on morals you should also not sell to them.

    There goes a large part of Australia’s recent prosperity.

  54. avatar Timeo says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 8:17 am:

    I’d be happy to join a boycott based on moral grounds.

    I must have completely missed it in your article. I thought it was all about supporting an unproductive local industry.

    I normally don’t support those because forcing the productive (hard working) to buy from the unproductive (lazy) is against my conscience.

  55. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 1:44 am:

    It’s not that I object at all… I was stating that the sole reason companies go to China is for the cheap price… only obtainable in country with slave labour…

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