Deputy President Paul Mashatile met the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Board and Executives as well as the sectors top CEOs at a breakfast roundtable at the Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre at OR Tambo on Friday, 14 July 2023 with the aim of opening the channels of dialogue between the Deputy President’s Office and this strategic sector of the economy.

The event gave CEOs the opportunity to engage government on working together in partnership to removing obstacles to economic growth and job creation. In addresses from the Deputy President Mashatile, SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini and Federation President Elias Monage, as well as during an open question-and-answer session, the dominant theme of the event was the dire need for greater collaboration between government and business in removing obstacles to growth and job creation.

Mashatile, who took over as Deputy President in March 2023, stressed the importance of restoring business and investor confidence in the industry, as well as the wider economy. He said government is committed to implementation and to creating strong ties with industry. The breakfast roundtable was the beginning of a process of engagement between the two parties, he said.

Monage said SEIFSA has made real headway in developing an integrated approach to dealing with the country’s many challenges. He emphasised the need for government and business to co-operate in order to properly address issues such as low economic growth, stubborn unemployment and to be open to new collaborative efforts. “We need to be doing things differently to get different results,” he said.

In his welcoming address to the roundtable, Trentini said South Africa was not close to meeting its potential, so “there is no time to waste in jumpstarting economic growth.”

“The stark reality is that three decades into our young democracy – the overriding story of the South African economy remains one of a country that is not reaching, let alone fulfilling, its potential in many areas – in short, the country’s current economic growth, job creation prospects and industrial development efforts are less than encouraging,” he said.

This initiative builds on the success of the meeting held with President Ramaphosa on 18 April 2023 where SEIFSA and Government agreed on the need for an urgent collaborative solution-based approach aimed at reigniting economic growth and securing the metals and engineering sectors future sustainability. Immediately following this meeting three priority workstreams were established focusing on demand creation, increasing exports into Africa and skills development.

The meeting with the Deputy President, as the leader of Government-Business relations, is aimed at strengthening and deepening this collaborative partnership and facilitating movement beyond policy formulation to project implementation.

To read the full government press release click here.