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The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and rugby kit manufacturers Canterbury have called on the public not to buy fake Springbok gear, saying this hampered development of the game and damaged the local economy.
For every 10 supporters' items sold over the last weeks, eight were counterfeit, said Dave Linder, managing director of Canterbury International SA (Cisa) on Tuesday.
He said though it was tempting to purchase a fake rugby shirt for under R200 at a traffic light, compared with the R499 for a female supporters jersey at TotalSports, it held negative consequences for South African rugby and the local clothing manufacturing industry.
The quality of the original was superior and 15 percent of the sales from the originals went to SA Rugby for rugby development in South Africa, he said.
About half of the stock of the originals was made in South Africa, with the other half made in New Zealand, China, the US, Portugal and Turkey.
Fakes were usually smuggled in with no customs duties or VAT paid.
Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich said if the fakes were allowed to be sold, workers making the formal product - about 300 employed in the Western Cape - would lose their jobs. In January Cisa plans to launch a cheaper range of clothes. - Sapa