Dozens gather for Baisch auction

The closure the Baisch Knitwear factory is evidence of the crisis facing the local industry.

Baisch knitwear sale. Picture: Chantall Presence/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The contents of one of Cape Town's last remaining knitwear factories has gone on auction.

The closure of the Maitland factory is evidence of the crisis facing the local industry.

Dozens gathered at the Baisch Knitwear Factory to buy machinery.

Almost everything was on sale.

Over lockers, chairs and even boards where workers once clocked in are being sold for between R50 and R1,000.

Few remember the over 200 workers who lost their jobs when the factory closed.

The South African clothing industry is increasingly threatened by the growth in illegal Chinese imports.

According to Fin24, 2011 research by the Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa (Amsa) revealed that some 6,000 informal Chinese shops operate in South Africa.

At the time, Amsa executive director Johann Baard said South African clothing retailers have between 200 and 1,000 shops nationwide, selling 50 percent locally produced products.

According to PEP group commercial director Louis Brand, the retailer has more than 1,300 shops in South Africa.

Over the past seven years, the group has however seen an increasing number of Chinese shops mushrooming around its branches.