The five-month-long strike in the platinum belt, which brought the mining industry to its knees and crippled South Africa’s already reeling economy last year, and a subsequent four-week-long strike in the metals and engineering sector are examples of the impacts that a dysfunctional relationship between business and labour can have on the country and its economy.

But, will labour and business ever work co-operatively together in South Africa’s interest?

That is the topic that will be debated robustly at the last plenary session of the inaugural Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba scheduled to take place on 28 and 29 May.

Answering that question and sharing their insights on the topic will be speakers and panelists:

  • NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim;
  • SEIFSA Operations Director Lucio Trentini;
  • Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis;
  • Former NEDLAC Executive Director Alistair Smith;
  • Duys Engineering Executive Chairman Henk Duys;
  • And MEIBC General Secretary Thulani Mthiyane.

The high-calibre panel, made up of revered players in the South African economy and the labour relations landscape, will dissect the topic and debate everything related to labour relations in Southern Africa in general and the manufacturing sector in particular. Panelists will also field questions from the floor.

The Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba will be attended by policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector in the Southern African Development Community region. It will focus on the following topics, among others:

  • Does Manufacturing Have a Future in Southern Africa?
  • Striking a Healthy Balance Between International Competition and Dumping
  • Transformation in the Metals and Engineering Sector
  • International Competitiveness and Intra-African Trade
  • South Africa and the National Development Plan
  • Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How To Finance It?

Organised and hosted by SEIFSA, the Indaba is aimed at encouraging growth in the sector, which has under-performed over the past five years.