ARANDIS – Dantago clothing factory in Arandis suffered a major setback last week Friday when management temporarily closed its doors for business after the factory’s sole client, the Woolworths Group, terminated their contract with the company earlier this month.
For the past nine years Dantago had the Woolworths Group as their only client. Dantago manufactures garments.
The garments are sewed at Dantago’s Arandis factory and then transported to Woolworths premises for distribution to Woolworths’ various branches.
However, Woolworths has been involved in a systematic process to buy back all its Southern African Development Community franchises as part of restructuring its business model on the continent.
According to the owners of Dantago clothing the ongoing Woolworths restructuring negotiations and process had a direct impact on the factory as it solely relied on the contract with Woolworths for the past nine years.
One of the owners of Dantago clothing, Colin Williams, last Friday told New Era the decision of Woolworths to terminate its contract with Dantago was sudden and created job insecurity for close to 425 employees.
“The termination of the contract negatively impacted our operations to such a extent that we had to temporarily close our doors and put jobs on hold while trying to secure other contracts as well as look at other business ventures,” he explained.
Although they lost their sole client he immediately looked for other partners in South Africa.
“During the same week Woolworths terminated our contract I myself went to South Africa to negotiate with prospective clients and managed to secure possible contracts with Pick n Pay Clothing, the Foschini Group as well as Truworths. We are currently in the final stages of finalising the contracts and hope to start with production as soon as possible,” he explained.
Williams said they learned a valuable lesson. “One should never put all your eggs in one basket and it’s probably one of the most valuable lessons we have learned. It has been an eye-opener for us,” Williams said.
He said that they are also in the process of negotiating with international clients such as Walmart and other Namibian investors.
“We are keen on having more than one client as it will only be beneficial for the company and will secure long-term security for our employees,” he elaborated.
Some of the employees on Friday afternoon told New Era they were shocked about the situation as they had not seen it coming.
“We were just told on Friday before lunch-time that we don’t need to return to work again. Some temporary employees had their contracts terminated on Friday. We only hope that the situation is resolved as soon as possible so that we can return to work, as we have bills to pay and creditors will not understand,” one of the workers at the factory said.
By Eveline de Klerk