Speaking ahead of the 2nd Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, SEIFSA Chief Economist Henk Langenhoven said that the metals and engineering sector – with its symbiotic relationship with the auto, mining and construction industries – was going through a structural correction on its development trajectory and innovation in terms of business solutions, hence political and policy certainty and better social cohesion were urgently needed in order to prevent these four strategic sectors from withering away.

Mr Langenhoven said that as a group, the four strategic sectors directly contributed 17% (R570 billion) to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 and, depending on the indirect and induced multipliers, up to twice this number. They export and earn up to 80% of the country’s foreign exchange and directly employ about 1,7 million people.

“Therefore, it goes without saying that we must go out of our way as a country to ensure the survival and sustainability of these sectors, which contribute immensely to the country in terms of the GDP, employment and the payment of royalties and various taxes,” Mr Langenhoven said.

The link between the metals and engineering sector and the mining, construction and car manufacturing industries will come under scrutiny at the 2016 Indaba scheduled to take place on 26 and 27 May at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Conference Centre in Sandton.

Assessing the nature of the symbiotic relationship between the metals and engineering sector and its competitiveness as a customer and supplier to the mining, construction and car manufacturing industries will be:

  • Cadiz Corporate Solutions Mining Director Peter Major;
  • SEIFSA Chief Economist Henk Langenhoven;
  • Master Builders South Africa Executive Director Patrick Roy Mnisi; and
  • National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa Director Nico Vermeulen, among others.

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 (SADC) region, and will focus on the following topics, among others:

  • Government Policy Interventions for a Sustainable, Globally-Competitive Steel Sector
  • Partners, Not Adversaries: How to Forge A Stronger Partnership Between Business and Labour to Improve Southern Africa’s International Competitiveness
  • Parasitic or Symbiotic: Relations Between Small Business and Big Business in the Metals and Engineering Sector
  • Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How to finance it.

Organised and hosted by SEIFSA in partnership with the IDC, the Indaba is aimed at encouraging growth in the metals and engineering sector, which has underperformed over the past five years.

The list of the 2016 Indaba speakers and panelists includes Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, International Monetary Fund Senior Resident Representative Dr Axel Schimmelpfennig, Executive Chairman of the EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southern Africa Mr Stefan Sakoschek, US Embassy Economics Minister Mr Laird Trieber, National Empowerment Fund CEO Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa and Massmart Chairman Mr Kuseni Dlamini.