Is it better to import clothing from outside of SA or to...

Is it better to import clothing from outside of SA or to buy clothing manufactured locally?


The South African clothing industry is the most labour-intensive segment of South Africa’s manufacturing industry. As such, it struggles to compete successfully against imports from low-wage countries such as China.

However, SA consumers are starting to consider quality and not only price when making purchasing decisions, and all too often cheap imports don’t deliver on the quality front.

Also bear in mind that if you choose to import clothing, you will have to source reliable overseas suppliers, which will probably entail trips to their factories.

Legal requirements for imports

In order to import goods into South Africa, you are required to register as an importer with Customs. To do this you can either collect the necessary forms from any Customs branch office or complete the forms on the SARS website before printing them.

The forms you need to complete include:

  • DA 185 – Application from: Registration/Licensing of Customs and Excise Clients
  • DA 185.4A1 – Registration Client Type 4A1 – Importer

The forms then need to be submitted to the Customs office.

For more information or to download the forms visit the SARS website.

SA manufacturing sector

If you visit the Manufacturing Circle’s website you’ll be able to find out more about developments in the local manufacturing industry.

  • Marzelle Fineberg

    Hi, how does one go about doing such a business. I am very interested. I am epileptic and can not find work, and this is the first option that i have actually seen that might work for me