One of South Africa's leading textile producers, Da Gama Textiles, is to lay off 761 workers - nearly two-thirds of its workforce - according to local media reports today (3 September).

The company, known for producing the 'Shweshwe,' South Africa's traditional ethnic-print indigo cloth, has blamed the move on higher operational costs and cheap foreign imports.

According to the Dispatch Online, 761 of its 1164 staff will lose their jobs. The company, which is known as the The Good Hope Textile Corporation but trades under the name Da Gama Textiles, earlier retrenched about 1,000 workers in 2004, and shuttered its East London branch in July this year.

Da Gama Textiles has been producing cotton and cotton/man-made fibres since 1948, supplying local and export markets for workwear and fashion.