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  • Is a duly registered trade union, registered in terms of the relevant provisions of the Labour Relations Act in South Africa.
  • Has 99 697 members, making it the dominant union in the fashion manufacturing industry, locally, and the biggest in our industry globally.
  • Has an 85% union density rate in our sector in South Africa.
  • Organises workers in the clothing, textile, leather, footwear, distribution and allied industries.
  • Is the 10th largest affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and is an affiliate of Industriall (the global manufacturing union federation)
  • Is the largest manufacturing trade union in Cape Town, Botshabelo, Mogwase, QwaQwa, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Isithebe and many other towns.
  • Has its origins in the organisation of Afrikaner woman in Johannesburg (1920 s), African textile workers in the Eastern Cape (1940 s), Indian workers in Durban (1940 s), the strikers of the hugely significant 1973 Durban strikes and the unionisation of workers in Cape Town in the 1980 s.
  • Organises 1493 South African workplaces or companies in our sector.
  • Has 18 offices across the country in Salt River, Atlantis, Paarl, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Tongaat, Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Pinetown, Isithebe, Port Shepstone, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Botshabelo, and QwaQwa


SACTWU members make:

  • Jackets, pants, dresses, suits, children s wear, cotton fabric, jerseys, knitted fabric, shoes, underpants, raincoats, school uniforms.
  • Tanned leather for car seats yarn, chemically-based fibres, geo-textiles, beekeeper suits, bikinis, clothing labels, shirts, jeans, foam, handbags, cooler-bags, shoes, handbags, blinds.
  • Non-woven fabrics, polymer chips, feather products, lanyards, ties, hats, caps, panties, t-shirts, worsted textiles, table cloths, blankets. Curtains, toilet-seat covers, carpets, ropes, police uniforms, overall socks, vests, seat covers, sachets, briefcases, leather diary covers, sandals.
  • Cotton-wool, medical textiles, rugby jerseys, bed sheets, electric blankets, cricket gear, wallets, mattress covers, belts, cushions, cotton thread, corporate gear, banners, swimming pool covers.

SACTWU members can be found in:

  • Spinning mills, woolwasheries, factory shops, clothing factories, CMT operators, small business hives, footwear factories, cotton gins, laundries, tanneries, weaving sheds, finishing operations, dye-houses, retail outlets, warehouses, home operations.
  • Products made by SACTWU members can be found in:
  • Cars, hotels, shops, factories, gold mines, boutiques, shopping malls, bedrooms, hospitals, dining rooms, offices, schools, army barracks, sportsfields, beaches, farms, aeroplanes, trains.

SACTWU members work in:

  • Salt River, Woodstock, Cape Town, Epping, Maitland, Diep River, Wynberg, Observatory, Bellville, Parow, Elsies River, Brackenfell, Atlantis, Darling, Mamre, Paarl, Worcester, George, Oudtshoorn. Port Elizabeth, East London, King Williams Town, Gcuwa, Jefferys Bay, Despatch, Uitenhage
  • Durban, Phoenix, Mobeni, Pinetown, Tongaat, Mooi River, Estcourt, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Port Shepstone, Isithebe, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Johannesburg Central, Jeppe, Doornfontein, Pretoria, Mogwase, Bronkhorstspruit, Babelegi, Botshabelo, Kimberley, Kroonstad, Phuthaditjhaba.


     National Secretariat Unit
     Organising and Bargaining Unit
     Education Department
     Media Department
     Finance Department
     Worker Health Project
     Social Welfare Program
     SA Labour Research Institute
     Edupeg Programme
     Winter School
     Computer School
     Bursary Department


  • Collective Bargaining   providing wage coverage for over 100 000 workers, or for 600 000 South African family members, through 16 central negotiations and 123 plant level agreements.
  • Job security   negotiating alternatives to closures, retrenchments and liquidations, and lobbying for jobs with government.
  • Member benefits   providing R6 million in funeral and retirement benefits to members and dependents, in 3800 pay-outs a year.
  • Promoting higher education   sponsoring 700 students at universities, institutes of technology and colleges, and contributing about R5 million in bursaries every year.
  • Member complaints   assisting 99 000 members through a network of 1 682 workplace shop stewards at 1493 organised workplaces.
  • Health education   running a unique HIV/AIDS industry service reaching 50 000 workers annually with a focussed awareness message, train 1000 shop stewards every year and deliver a free voluntary counselling and testing programme for members that have seen more than 178 000 workers counselled to date, since inception of this program in 2002.
  • Health services   co-managing 6 clinics in the Cape in residential and industrial areas, covering 100 000 members and dependents, plus a clinic in Johannesburg and Durban each.
  • Building basic education   providing literacy and numeracy programmes at 200 primary schools nation-wide through the Edupeg programme, reaching over 260 000 learners over the last three years alone
  • Developing shop floor leadership   training more than 1500 shop stewards annually in labour law, industry agreements, representation skills and workplace problem solving.
  •      Job advocacy   through initiating the Proudly South African campaign during the 1998 Job Summit negotiation, and launching the Cape Town Fashion Festival.
  •      Promoting vocational and workplace training   through co-managing the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing (FPMA) and  Wholesale & Retail (W&R) Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA s).
  •      Disseminating information and communication technology skills   through partnerships with institutes of technology that have seen worker leaders graduate in our Computer School.
  •      Helping high school students   through a unique Matric Winter School programme that has assisted 4 470 students to date. (From 2000 onwards, when it was first initiated).
  •      Creating employment   through 100% ownership of two factories in the industry that employs a total of 205 workers, through investments in companies that employs in excess of 30 000 workers inside and outside the industry, through contributing to the labour Job Creation Trust, as well as through Policy measures that protect tens of thousands of jobs of the union s membership.


  • Managed a budget of R150million;
  • Taken up more than 2000 cases at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation &   Arbitration (CCMA) or Bargaining Council level;
  • Recruited 73 300 new members, of which 40% was converted to paid up;
  • Paid out R14.5 million in bursaries to over 4200 recipients
  • Held more than 1 360 meetings at either branch, regional or national level;
  • Educated 5 000 shop stewards, in over 200 union education courses
  • Spent R8.5 million to build unionism in Africa
  • Provided over 112 000 members and their dependent’s with HCT



  • SACTWU delegates serve on a number of key decision-making bodies. These include:
  • International Executive of the IndustiaAll
  • SETA's  the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing- and the Wholesale and Retail trade SETA s.
  • Industry policy and advocacy bodies   Cotton Board, Cape Town Fashion Council
  • Social dialogue institutions   NEDLAC.
  • Bargaining Councils   Clothing, Canvass, Laundry (KZN), Textiles and Leather Bargaining Councils, as well as Medical Benefit Committees, Provident Fund Committees and Labour Affairs Committees.
  • Labour Policy Structures   COSATU Central Executive Committee, COSATU National Office Bearers Committee and various Provincial structures of COSATU


Worker Leaders:
     Themba Khumalo:     President
     Beauty Zibula:        1st Deputy President
     Suzan Khumalo:         2nd Deputy President
     Freda Oosthuysen:      National Treasurer

National Secretariat:
     Andre Kriel:             General Secretary
     Chris Gina:                Deputy General Secretary

Head Office:
Cape Town: Industria House, 350 Victoria Road, Salt River, 7925
Tel: (021) 447 4570 Fax: (021) 447 2194; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Regional Offices:
Eastern Cape Region: 15 Green Street, Port Elizabeth, 6056
Tel: (041) 487 2832 Fax: (041) 487 2835 email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Gauteng Region: Garment Centre, 75 End Street, Johannesburg, 2001
Tel: (011) 4022 745/6 Fax: (011) 4028 212  email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Western Cape Region: Industria House, 350 Victoria Road, Salt River, 7925
Tel: (021) 447 4570 Fax: (021) 447 8515 email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Kwazulu Natal Region: James Bolton Hall, 1st Floor, 127 Magwaza Maphulala Street, Durban, 4001
Tel: (031) 3011 351 Fax: (031) 305 103  email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it