Featuring high-profile speakers and panelists such as Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, Business Leadership South Africa Chairman and mining veteran Bobby Godsell, ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Officer Paul O’Flaherty and NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim, among others, the Indaba is aimed at
deliberating on and coming up with sustainable solutions to address challenges currently facing the manufacturing sector.
Delivering his opening remarks, SEIFSA Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba was an industry conference intended to afford all stakeholders with an interest in the survival and success of manufacturing, but especially the metals and engineering sector, in Southern Africa an opportunity to devise ways to revive the sector.
“The intention is to build it from strength to strength in the years to come until it equals or exceeds in importance the Mining Indaba that takes place in Cape Town in February each year,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
He added that the conference would concretely advance the interests of the metals and engineering sector and, in the process, the interests of South Africa and the Southern African Development Community.
The metals and engineering sector represented a third of all manufacturing in the country and contributed 6% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Mr Nyatsumba said that in order for this strategic sector to overcome the challenges it currently faces it was of critical importance that Government, labour and business work in collaboration, instead of pulling in different directions. Among the challenges faced by the sector are unfair competition from highly-subsidized countries, high input and administered costs and electricity outages.
“We believe firmly in the need for a strong partnership among government, business and labour if South Africa and our region are to achieve their economic potential. It is our contention that none of us alone can reverse the worrying decline that has been so evident in manufacturing and in metals and engineering in recent years.”
Mr Nyatsumba said he looked forward to the respective inputs of all stakeholders and their collective wisdom in the course of the discussions over the next two days.
“We look forward to honest, robust but constructive discussions that will move the sector forward,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Mr Nyatsumba also expressed his appreciation to the conference sponsors, partners exhibitors and speakers.
“Our heart-felt thanks and appreciations go to our wonderful sponsors, partners, exhibitors and speakers who, despite this being the inaugural year of the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, believed in us and took a giant leap to support us. We look forward to their continued support,” Mr Nyatsumba concluded.
Attended by policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector in the SADC, the Metals and Engineering Indaba will, today, focus on the following topics:
- Does Manufacturing Have a Future in Southern Africa?
- South Africa and the National Development Plan
- Striking a Healthy Balance Between International Competition and Dumping
- The Metals and Engineering sector and the absence of women
- South Africa’s Electricity Constraint and its Impact on the Economy
The conference is attended by business owners, labour leaders and policymakers from
across the SADC region.