During the first session at the conference this morning, delegates – made up of business and labour leaders – also called on the Government to impose necessary tariffs to protect local manufacturers from cheap, subsidized imports from Asia.

“While recognizing the need for local manufacturers to be more competitive, delegates nevertheless call on the Government to do much more than it does at the moment to support manufacturing in South Africa,” read the resolution.

The delegates’ concerns come on the back of recent developments that saw State-owned companies awarding multi-billion-rand tenders to foreign companies and, most recently, out-sourcing Cuban engineers to help with service delivery in the Free State.

The Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, organized and hosted by the Steel and Engineering Industries of Southern Africa, is attended by policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector from across the Southern African Development Community region.