Johannesburg, 21 September 2018 – The ruling party is cognisant of and appreciates challenges facing South Africa’s metals and engineering (M&E) sector including lack of demand, proliferation of illegal imports, high input costs, unemployment and lack of investment, its head of Economic Transformation Committee Enoch Godongwana said this morning.
Speaking at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba currently taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Mr Godongwana said in response to the challenges currently facing the M&E sector, Government’s industrial policy needed to reverse the deindustrialization trend, focus on labour intensive sectors to create jobs and, in collaboration with the private sector, invest in vocational training to address the shortage of skills in the sector.
Mr Godongwana said he also believed that Government needed to incentivize business owners who reinvested their profits into labour intensive production.
“Massive investment also needs to be made in capital infrastructure projects to reverse the challenges facing the M&E sector, particularly lack of demand. We also need to tighten the framework for localization but all these efforts must be done in a manner that enables Black people to participate in the economy to ensure social cohesion,” said Mr Godongwana.
On the same plenary session, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry Geordin Hill-Lewis unraveled DA’s plan to turn South Africa’s economic fortunes for the better. He said the plan involved splitting power utility Eskom into smaller business units, allowing cities and municipalities to buy electricity directly from producers. This, Mr Hill-Lewis, believes will immediately cut input costs and boost the economy.
“We also need to privatise non-strategic State-owned entities such as South African Airways because it has been proven that the private sector is more efficient in running businesses,” he said.
He added that the DA’s plan also advocates for the protection of property rights, defending independent institutions such as the Reserve Bank; the shelving of policies that make it unattractive to do business in the country. In this regard, he said the DA welcomed progress made in the Mining Charter.
Mr Hill-Lewis said policy makers needed to exempt small business from bargaining agreements negotiated on their behalf.
“The State also needs to pay invoices owed to businesses. There are currently billions of rands worth of invoices owed to business owners, and payment of those invoices would provide an immediate stimulus to the economy.”
He said the Democratic Alliance’s plan demonstrated that the party understood that Government needs to create an enabling environment for the economy to grow in order for businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs.
Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725
Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za