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Cape Town - Some 190 workers lost their jobs when their clothing factory closed down. The company, Kishugu, is undergoing liquidation.

Workers gathered outside the premises yesterday, hoping they would get answers about outstanding payments.

Quality controller and single parent Cheryl Abrahams said she was worried about not being able to support her family.

“We don’t have money. A lot of us are single parents. One of our colleagues is in hospital because of this.”

Abrahams said she still hasn’t received her provident fund money either.

“I could have done something with this R6 500. What must we do? We are the people who are suffering. I was crying last week when I went home and it sunk in that I had a salary at the end of the week, and now I have nothing.”

Machinist and shop steward Linda Evans said: “Are we going to get paid from now up until April 18 when the liquidation starts? We are sitting at home without any money. We can’t look for work because we don’t have any papers, any cards, nothing!”

She added that there is still a four-year government tender that they were working on, “which means there is work”.

Sumayah Kleinsmidt has been working with Kishugu for 29 years and said when they announced the liquidation, R50 was provided to everyone to travel back home.

“We feel they misled us.”

Read also: Clothing workers win 8.5% salary hike

Rob Winter, interim representative of the Kishugu managing director, said the business rescue practitioner Jurgens Steenkamp made the call to liquidate the business.

Mandi Dicks, who resigned as a director from Kishugu in February, said there is still a tender at the company.

“You can’t just take a tender somewhere else, now these people are all unemployed.”

Trevor Abrahams, director of Kishugu, holdings said he is mindful of the workers’ distress:

“We deeply regret that the current trading conditions and management of the company has resulted in Kishugu clothing to file for liquidation.”

A researcher for SACTWU, Simon Eppel, said the economy was not only to blame: “The fault is not entirely external: the way in which companies deal with this context of stress also provides some insight into the capability of factory management”

“The union is keen to pursue a couple of options to ensure jobs are saved,” Eppel said.


CORRECTION: In our report on Tuesday (“Jobs hang in balance for clothing factory workers”) we incorrectly stated that the company Kishugu is facing liquidation. It is in fact Kishugu Clothing which is facing liquidation, and not Kishugu. Kishugu is a 50% shareholder in Kishugu Clothing. We regret the error.