Instructions from the South African government that require public buyers to source locally-made clothing and footwear have been described as a "significant development" by the country's main clothing workers' union.

Under the new guidelines, if any government department and any state-owned enterprise (SOE) purchases clothing, textile, footwear and leather products, they must be 100% locally made. The inputs to these products must also be 100% locally made unless there is no domestic source for the raw material.

"The implementation of these regulations is a boost for local jobs in the domestic CTFL (clothing, textile, footwear and leather) industry because it now directs millions of state spending towards local manufacturing," said Andre Kriel, general secretary at the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU).

"This means that when the Post Office buys uniforms, it will have to buy it from a local clothing manufacturer, who has sourced its inputs made in a local weaving mill. Or if the armed forces buy boots, the leather uppers to those boots will have to come from a local footwear manufacturer who has sourced its inputs from a local tannery.

"These now statutory local purchases directives to government departments and SOE's will result in major job creation and job retention in the domestic CTFL sector, we expect. It is a major boost for local production."

The new local procurement regulations are a key component of plans by South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to boost domestic manufacturing and jobs.