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SEIFSA Steel and Engineering

A MILLION JOBS BY 2027 POSSIBLE IF CHINESE INVESTMENT EFFECT IS WELL MANAGED

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Johannesburg, 21 September 2018 – Business and Government need to work together to increase demand for locally-manufactured products if the creation of one million jobs, in the manufacturing sector, by 2027 is to be realised, Manufacturing Circle CEO Philippa Rodseth said at the Metals and Engineering Indaba, in Sandton this afternoon.

“We need demand side interventions. Without demand, we cannot produce at full capacity, we cannot attract investment and we cannot create jobs. We, therefore, need to increase aggregate demand by buying locally-manufactured gods, replacing imports where possible and increasing local producers’ exports to markets outside South Africa.

Last year, the Manufacturing Circle launched its “Map to A Million New Jobs in a Decade” plan, with the organisation’s chairman André de Ruyter saying at the time: “If manufacturing can expand to 30% of GDP, between 800 000 and 1.1 million direct jobs can be created, with 5 to 8 times that number in indirect jobs,” he added. “Our ‘Map to a Million’ puts forward detailed proposals to deliver a million jobs in manufacturing in the next decade.”

SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said while the Map to a Million Jobs in a Decade plan was a good one, it was silent on some key points – including the Chinese effect. He said China was increasingly shaping global discourse and economic development including jobs, in key regional and global markets, and will grow in significance within a decade and can’t be ignored.

He said recipients of huge Chinese investments/loans risked piling up dangerous amounts of debt. This, in turn, provides a strategic hold by China over the indebted countries.

“The Chinese loans are often shrouded in secrecy, raising fears that local politicians may benefit more than their people. Chinese projects often make use of lots of Chinese workers (even on menial jobs), increasing their productive efficiency to the detriment of indigenous labourers,” Dr Ade said.

He added that although Chinese investments bring a different flavour and level of enthusiasm in some industries, it was a catch-22 situation in the labour intensive industries of the manufacturing sector (including its diverse M&E cluster), because of its perceived negative effects on job creation.

To mitigate the China effect, Dr Ade proposed that Chinese SOEs, development Banks and its investors partner to collaborate with South African businesses on all fronts in new projects.

“A win-win collaboration should be pursued with the intention of creating jobs and ensuring that locals are given first preference for jobs and where skills are lacking or unspecialised, efforts should be made to train or transfer skills to the locals.”

Dr Ade said the Manufacturing Circle plan also lacked detail on how to directly support black businesses. He said manufacturing needed to encourage and empower the participation of black people in the economy by securing inclusive growth.

Inspite of the plan’s oversights, Dr Ade said it was possible to create one million jobs provided that the China challenge is well managed and provided that beneficiation is systematically pursued across sub-industries within the cluster, with specific focus on upskilling and re-skilling to create new jobs, as some industries were more labour intensive than others.

In conclusion, Dr Ad said South Africa faced extraordinary challenges in dealing with the crisis of unemployment which is compounded by inconsistent growth levels and prevailing low demand. These aspects posed huge challenges in actualising the proposals made by the Manufacturing Circle plan.

“Realising the Manufacturing Circles plan of creating a million jobs in a decade will require a different mindset from captains of industry. It also needs flexibility, co-operation, hard work and above all serendipity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Economic Development Deputy Director General Zeph Nhleko said, the one million jobs didn’t have to come directly from the manufacturing sector but the sector should enable the creation of jobs in other sectors such as the services sector.

 

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

SEIFSA Steel

LACK OF SKILLS, LOW ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SATURATED MARKETS CONSTRAINTS TO INVESTING IN METALS AND ENGINEERING SECTOR

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Johannesburg, 21 September 2018 – Lack of demand in the form of large infrastructure projects, expensive input costs, lack of skills required by the metals and engineering (M&E) sector as well as policy uncertainty, low economic growth, low returns on existing investment and a saturated domestic market are some of the factors identified as constraining investment in South Africa’s M&E sector.

Speaking at the Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Southern African Institute of Steel Construction CEO Paolo Trinchero said other factors identified as barriers to investing in the sector include lack of trust between government, business and labour, lack of collaboration in pursing sustainable industry solutions and lack of innovation.

Echoing Mr Trinchero’s sentiments, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa Chief Economist Michael Ade said there has, over the last decade, been a lack of both green and brown fields investment into the sector owing to low demand, among other factors.

He said, as a result, domestic producers were under pressure to shed jobs, which in turn lead to low productivity in the sector – this created a negative vicious cycle, which is bad for the economy.

However, there was hope that working in collaboration, and working with the countries’ young people, South African companies could find solutions to the challenges they face.

“There is definitely great potential in a huge pool of young, enthusiastic young people that can be trained and enabled to contribute towards our sector. There is also a need to enhance partnerships and collaborations between companies so that they approach these challenges as a collective. Industry needs to stop working in silos and work together in seeking solutions required to address constraints to investing in our sector,” Mr Trinchero said.

According to Dr Ade, interventions required to address challenges facing the sector include increasing aggregate domestic demand by committing to supporting designation and local procurement; reconsidering administered prices to put money back into the pockets of consumers, pursuing  import substitution by actively promoting collaboration between producers across all value chains to enhance in-country value addition,  improving port efficiency and considering re-instating rail subsidies for export competitiveness through implementation of export incentives.

Meanwhile, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Senior Investment Officer Paul Mukasa said the IFC, which had a long track record of providing long-term investment in the metals sector had invested billons in the sector in more than 50 countries across the globe.

He said when considering investing in a country, the IFC focused on reliable access to energy; the sector’s global competitiveness, energy efficient producers and best practice.

ArcelorMittal South Africa General Manager for Africa Overland Alph Ngapo said South Africa was yet to take full advantage of growth opportunities presented by the rest of the African continent. He said South African companies needed to specifically focus on East and West Africa as well as the SADC region where hundreds of billions in infrastructure projects will be spent.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

ANC AND DA OUTLINE THEIR PLANS FOR ECONOMY AT THE METALS AND ENGINEERING INDABA

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Johannesburg, 21 September 2018 – The ruling party is cognisant of and appreciates challenges facing South Africa’s metals and engineering (M&E) sector including lack of demand, proliferation of illegal imports, high input costs, unemployment and lack of investment, its head of Economic Transformation Committee Enoch Godongwana said this morning.

Speaking at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba currently taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Mr Godongwana said in response to the challenges currently facing the M&E sector, Government’s industrial policy needed to reverse the deindustrialization trend, focus on labour intensive sectors to create jobs and, in collaboration with the private sector, invest in vocational training to address the shortage of skills in the sector.

Mr Godongwana said he also believed that Government needed to incentivize business owners who reinvested their profits into labour intensive production.

“Massive investment also needs to be made in capital infrastructure projects to reverse the challenges facing the M&E sector, particularly lack of demand. We also need to tighten the framework for localization but all these efforts must be done in a manner that enables Black people to participate in the economy to ensure social cohesion,” said Mr Godongwana.

On the same plenary session, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry Geordin Hill-Lewis unraveled DA’s plan to turn South Africa’s economic fortunes for the better. He said the plan involved splitting power utility Eskom into smaller business units, allowing cities and municipalities to buy electricity directly from producers. This, Mr Hill-Lewis, believes will immediately cut input costs and boost the economy.

“We also need to privatise non-strategic State-owned entities such as South African Airways because it has been proven that the private sector is more efficient in running businesses,” he said.

He added that the DA’s plan also advocates for the protection of property rights, defending independent institutions such as the Reserve Bank; the shelving of policies that make it unattractive to do business in the country. In this regard, he said the DA welcomed progress made in the Mining Charter.

Mr Hill-Lewis said policy makers needed to exempt small business from bargaining agreements negotiated on their behalf.

“The State also needs to pay invoices owed to businesses. There are currently billions of rands  worth of invoices owed to business owners, and payment of those invoices would provide an immediate stimulus to the economy.”

He said the Democratic Alliance’s plan demonstrated that the party understood that Government needs to create an enabling environment for the economy to grow in order for businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

SEIFSA Steel and Engineering

METALS AND ENGINEERING INDABA CONFERENCE DELEGATES PASS A RESOLUTION CONDEMNING MINISTERS’ FAILURE TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – Delegates attending the 4th Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba organised by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton firmly resolved to express their bitter disappointment at the inability of some high-ranking government officials to attend important and relevant sessions.

The delegates said these sessions presented a unique opportunity for the various individuals to interact with members of the community, labour and academia and preeminent researchers to get direct insights into challenges facing the economy.

An invitation was extended to both Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to attend the sessions on working together to improve South Africa’s Sovereign Credit Rating and a reflection on what needs to be done to end or contain public corruption and corporate malfeasance in South Africa. Both Ministers declined the invitation.

Conference delegates also expressed concern that Eskom Group Chief Executive Phakamani Hadebe – who also declined the invitation – had missed an opportunity to engage robustly and frankly with the delegates in search of solutions on how administered prices can be better managed to make South Africa competitive as an international exporter.

 

The sessions went on with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) CEO Tanya Cohen, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse Executive Director Wayne Duvenage and a senior Transnet executive who stood in for CEO Siyabonga Gama.

However, all delegates resolved to explicitly articulate their disappointment with the failure by the Ministers and the CEO of Eskom, a strategically important power utility company to be part of the conference.

One of the delegates proposed that the joint position be made known.  Accordingly, the conference adopted a resolution saying: “We are very disappointed that Ministers of two key government portfolios – namely Finance and Public Enterprises – which are important in strategically providing certainty and attracting investments in the private sector could not attend to gain an intrinsic understanding of the challenges faced by businesses.

“We are also concerned that Mr Hadebe could not avail himself to shed more light to stakeholders from business and labour communities on some of the challenges facing the entity and its efforts to contain ballooning operational costs,” the resolution said.

Master Builders South Africa Executive Director Roy Mnisi – who was one of the speakers at the Indaba – resoundingly supported the resolution, informing delegates that the construction industry also had its annual conference in the Eastern Cape over two days last week and “we could not get a single Government Minister or even the Director-General to attend our conference,” the resolution adopted by the delegates said.

The Indaba also passed a resolution expressing gratitude and appreciation to Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for her attendance of the conference. Dr Dlamini-Zuma was the main speaker in the session dealing with the National Development Plan.

The resolution unanimously passed by the delegates echoes concerns raised by SEIFSA CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba when he made introductory remarks in the morning  when he said: “While we have deeply appreciated the involvement of Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, then-ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize, Ministers Mildred Oliphant, Pravin Gordhan, Lindiwe Zulu, Ebrahim Patel and, this year, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, hitherto we have struggled to get the President of the country, the Deputy President of the country, the Minister of Trade and Industry, other key Ministers, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to show the metals and engineering sector the respect worthy of them by participating in this conference.”

He added that while the business community welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment, during his inaugural State of the Nation Address in February, that the Government will place an emphasis on manufacturing, business was deeply concerned that a higher level of commitment to the metals and engineering sector from the Department of Trade and Industry and other parts of his Government (including the Presidency itself) was yet to be seen.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

Domestic Manufactures Must Work Together To Survive

DOMESTIC MANUFACTURES MUST WORK TOGETHER TO SURVIVE

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – The global trade war between two of the world’s largest economies has the potential to render global growth less synchronised, less certain and less supportive of emerging economies. Moreover, weaknesses in the global economy would make it even more difficult for South Africa to accelerate its fortunes and for the metals and engineering (M&E) cluster, the mining and construction sectors and the auto manufacturing industries to maximise their potential, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa Chief Economist Michael Ade said this afternoon.

Speaking at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, Dr Ade said the four sectors needed higher growth levels underpinned by better productive efficiency. He also said that instead of continuously depending on government to boost demand via various interventions, stakeholders in these sectors needed to rally to support each other.

“Proactivity rather than reactivity is needed to take advantage of promising regional prospects, where healthy GDP growths have been projected. Targeted growth in lucrative markets of Asia and Europe should also be taken advantage of, in order to increase market share,” Dr Ade said.

He said that the four groups can leverage on existing linkages. “The M&E cluster should support the mining sector more by increasing its current procurement spend in the mining sector to over 63%.”

Alternatively, Dr Ade said the construction sector should support the M&E cluster by increasing its current share of procurement spend to over 35% and; likewise, the Auto industry should increase its current procurement spend from the cluster’s intermediate products to over 33%

Commenting on constraints to leveraging on existing opportunities, Dr Ade said the extent to which total domestic demand in the M&E cluster is satisfied by imports has increased to 54.1%, as important component manufacturers shut down; high importation of intermediary inputs, and the vulnerability to imported inflation along with depreciating currency-induced price increases.

“There is a cocktail of high costs due to issues of high logistical and transport costs, low relative labour productivity and high energy costs,” Dr Ade said.

In response to these challenges, Dr Ade said policy makers should target individual interventions to various sub-components of manufacturing and not treat manufacturing as a homogenous lot.

He said Government also needed to regulate pricing of key inputs from sole suppliers; continuously enable competition in electricity generation and reconsider administered prices for example, food and petrol, to put money back into consumers’ pockets.

Meanwhile Minerals Council South Africa Economist Tafadzwa Chibanguza said the mining sector was currently buying more than 70% of products from local suppliers, he cautioned that local suppliers were, however, not local manufacturers.

He said there was, therefore, a real need for concerted efforts by mining companies to create a market for locally-manufactured goods but warned that Government needed to diversify the economy in order to ensure sustainability for industries that supply to the mining sector.

Commenting on South Africa’s Automotive Masterplan 2035, National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa Director Nico Vermeulen said for the plan’s vision to be realised, policy certainty, stable industrial relations environment, effective beneficiation strategy and reduction in infrastructure, logistics and other input costs were needed.

Master Builders South Africa Executive Director Roy Mnisi said there would always be demand for metal and steel by the construction sector even in tough economic times however, the M&E sector needed be internationally competitive, act locally and think globally.

“The M&E sector must also protect its territory by guarding against sub-standard products entering the market,” he concluded.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: meindaba.seifsa.co.za

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN STILL RELEVANT DESPITE SLOW PACE OF IMPLEMENTATION – DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) was still relevant despite the slow pace of its implementation, Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba this afternoon.

“We have not made sufficient progress as far as eradicating the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, but we still feel strongly that the NDP is still relevant but needs to be approached differently, with us having learned from the last six years. We also think that there was an oversight to think we could implement without breaking it down into five-year implementation plans. This is what we will begin to do with the remaining years of the NDP. We will also use the last two years of the plan to monitor and evaluate,” Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.

Going forward, the Minister said Government needed to improve planning generally, not only across all departments, but also across different spheres of Government.

“Lack of integrated planning slows down projects and makes implementation harder. It is not easy to implement when we have not planned together,” Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.

The Minister said the Government has realized that it had too many priorities. Going forward, it would ensure that there were fewer priorities that would have maximum impact.

“What we have also realized is that it would not be enough to align planning across spheres and departments, but we also need the private sector to play a role in the actual planning of the NDP. Lots of activities such as the creation of jobs and growing the economy will be driven by the private sector, so we have to touch base with the private sector as we plan and implement the NDP,” she said.

She said collaboration with the private sector would also not be enough if the country is not producing the skills required for the implementation of the infrastructure project within the NDP.

“It is, therefore, equally important that at some point we also involve institutions responsible for the production of skills because there is currently a mismatch between the skills required by the labour market and the skills produced by institutions of higher learning,” she said.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma said partnerships and collaboration needed to be strengthened at sector-specific level. She said that, as part of monitoring and evaluating, the Government would look at specific targets and timelines, but cautioned that that could only be achieved by a capable State with people with relevant skills.

In conclusion, Minister Dlamini Zuma said the economy needed not only growth in terms of GDP, but also to find ways of creating jobs and reducing poverty and inequality

Manufacturing Circles CEO Philippa Rodseth said she concurred with the Minister that there was a mismatch between the skills demanded by the economy and the skills produced. She also concurred that better collaborations between business, policy makers and institutions of learning was important for better implementation of the NDP.

Professor Patrick Bond of the Wits Business School cautioned against the prioritization of projects that would have little benefit for the country, but would create opportunities for corruption. He also warned against Chinese colonization of the country.

 

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY TO DEAL WITH PUBLIC CORRUPTION AND CORPORATE MALFEASANCE

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – State capture needs to be dealt with urgently to restore public confidence in the State, the constitutional framework and the rule of law. This is the view of Council for Advancement of the South African Constitution Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo.

Speaking on the first day of the two-day Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Mr Naidoo said to end or contain the cancer of public corruption and corporate malfeasance in South Africa, the country needs a fit for purpose anti-corruption agency focused on enforcement, prevention and education. The agency would be buttressed by a strong political will.

Speaking on the same panel, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse Executive Director Wayne Duvenage said state capture was a serious matter which had allowed creative accounting to take place, unchallenged, at State-owned entities.

He called upon the audit industry to review its code and board members of State-owned entities and the business community at large to play a bigger role in combating corruption.

“Business is missing in action. We hear business leaders saying Government is not taking them seriously enough but I think we need to see the business community stand up more often. Business needs to stand firm and strong in the fight against public corruption and corporate malfeasance,” Mr Duvenage said.

He also said that the country needed new board members and Director Generals in Governments to investigate and challenge all past contracts; drive new energy throughout Government and business for moral courage and strong anti-corruption values.

In conclusion, Mr Duvenage said a stronger civil society that actively challenges wrongdoing and holds Government to account was also needed.

 

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

Economic growth

GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS AND POLICY CERTAINTY KEY TO IMPROVING SOUTH AFRICA’S SOVEREIGN CREDIT RATING

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – The prioritization of economic growth, global competitiveness and policy certainty and predictability are key to improving South Africa’s Sovereign credit rating, so said Massmart Holdings Chairman Kuseni Dlamini.

Speaking at the fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba currently taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Mr Dlamini said South Africa needed to be fully aligned on the growth imperative if other socio-economic goals such as employment creation, investment attraction and retention are to be achieved.

He said the country also needed to embrace global competitiveness as part of a national culture.

“The success of the country’s automotive manufacturing industry, the renewable energy independent power producer programme and the country’s world class financial services sectors are concrete examples of global competitiveness at work which must be replicated in other sectors,” he said.

In addition, Mr Dlamini said South Africa should attract and retain foreign direct investment. This, in turn, required a concerted and sustained collective effort by SA Inc. through the alignment of messaging on the country’s attractiveness as an investment location of choice.

“South Africa is guilty of sending confusing and incoherent messages at best or negative and unhelpful messages at worst to the foreign investor community.  Most of the negative news about South Africa emanates from South Africans either at home or abroad.  This is an area of opportunity to turn around and costs nothing but a paradigm shift,” he said.

In conclusion, Mr Dlamini said the private sector must show confidence by investing in the local economy for the medium to long term.

“South African companies have over R1 trillion of lazy capital that should be invested to grow and expand the local economy but they are not investing.  If we don’t show confidence by investing in our own economy why should foreign investors do? We need to lead by example.”

Speaking on the same plenary session, Business Unity South Africa CEO Tanya Cohen said through Nedlac much had already been done to improve South Africa’s sovereign credit rating. This included forming a Task Team, which had succeeded in getting Governance right at ESKOM and contributed towards labour relations stability, among others.

“But more needs to be done to improve South Africa’s credit rating including ensuring that there is policy certainty and that there is certainty as far as the land issue, the Mining Charter and the National Health Insurance are concerned,” Ms Cohen said.

Meanwhile, Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Marius Croukamp said in order to improve its credit rating, South African Government needed to significantly reduce its expenditure by reducing its currently bloated cabinet; refrain from bailing out state-owned entities; drop the national health insurance and not expropriate land without compensation but protect property rights.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.meindaba. seifsa.co.za

SEIFSA Mathews Phosan

SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS COHERENT AND WELL-EXECUTED ECONOMIC STRATEGY TO GROW – DR MATHEWS PHOSA

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Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – A change in attitude towards the metals and engineering sector from Government, particularly the Department of Trade and Industry and the Gauteng Provincial Government is urgently needed, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said this morning.

Speaking at the fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place at the IDC Conference Centre today and tomorrow, Mr Nyatsumba said the Indaba has not yet had to the full extent the enthusiastic support of Government.

“While we have deeply appreciated the involvement of Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, then-ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize, Ministers Mildred Oliphant, Pravin Gordhan, Lindiwe Zulu, Ebrahim Patel and, this year, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, hitherto we have struggled to get the President of the country, the Deputy President of the country, the Minister of Trade and Industry, other key Ministers, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to show the metals and engineering sector the respect worthy of them by participating in this conference,” he said.

He added that while the business community welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment, during his inaugural State of the Nation Address in February, that the Government will place an emphasis on manufacturing, business was deeply concerned that a higher level of commitment to the metals and engineering sector from the Department of Trade and Industry and other parts of his Government (including the Presidency itself) was yet to be seen.

“They were all invited to this conference but waited until the eleventh hour to inform us that, once again, they would not bother to join us. We find that deeply concerning and hope that there will be a change in attitude after next year’s elections,” said Mr Nyatsumba.

He said SEIFSA believed in working in collaborative partnership with all stakeholders, starting with the three spheres of government, regardless of whichever party is in power in that sphere at the time.

“We want always to have healthy, constructive relations with our elected governments and our labour partners. That is why we get deeply concerned when elected officials who are accountable to us as personal and corporate taxpayers do not take as important a sector of the economy as the metals and engineering cluster seriously.”

He said in the four years of the Indaba’s existence, the Conference, has not once had the privilege of the Minister of Trade and Industry or the Director-General in that Department addressing – let alone attending it.

“This is particularly disturbing when one considers, to the best of one’s knowledge, that, quite correctly, there has never been an annual Mining Indaba without the presence and active participation of the Minister of Mineral Resources, whoever the incumbent has been at the time.”

Meanwhile, delivering the Indaba opening address, former ANC Treasurer-General and the inaugural Premier of Mpumalanga Dr Mathews Phosa said South Africa needed an economic strategy that is coherent, well-conceived and well-executed.

“We also need real leadership and real leadership signifies that you should be willing to take short-term decisions that are unpopular but will benefit your country and its people in the long term by creating policy stability, a positive view from local and global investors, and incentives for local entrepreneurs to take risks,” said Dr Phosa.

He said South Africa’s current situation needed policy stability that is devoid from incoherence and populistic, vague statements; a strengthened economic and patriotic pact between government business and labour; large scale deregulation of the small business sector; large scale deregulation of all manufacturing sectors; private public partnership to replace the current wholly-owned state companies, a total revamp of the National Prosecuting Agency so that South Africans and foreigners can take pride in the stability of the country’s justice environment and improved, detailed and specific communication with the South African nation and the global community regarding the expropriation of land.

 

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: meindaba.seifsa.co.za

Kaizer Nyatsumba

SOUTHERN AFRICAN METALS AND ENGINEERING INDABA 2018 OPENING ADDRESS

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OPENING REMARKS

Thank you, Melissa.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba. Our inaugural conference took place at Emperors’ Palace at Ekurhuleni in 2015, before we concluded a strategic partnership agreement that saw us meeting here at the IDC Conference Centre over the past two years. This is now the third conference here at the IDC, and we are immensely grateful to the Corporation.

Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your support and patronage. It always means so much to us to have you turning out in such numbers at this important industry conference. The starting point in arranging a conference is getting the right topics and relevant speakers to address them, but the most important is ensuring that there is an active, participative audience to engage meaningfully with the speakers and the topics under discussion. Therefore, this conference would not be the success that we would like it to be without your presence.

We are immensely grateful to all our Speakers, all of whom are busy men and women who have put time aside to be with us in the course of today and tomorrow. Quite a number of them have become regulars, and have addressed the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba at least once or even twice before. They are the lifeblood of this annual conference: without them, there is no conference.

From our inaugural year, we have been very fortunate to get top-quality speakers for this Indaba. We thank each one of them – those already here with us this morning, and the many others yet to join us in the course of the day and tomorrow.

As always, our Partner, the Industrial Development Corporation, and our Sponsors are richly deserving of our appreciation and gratitude. As with some of our speakers, quite a number of our Sponsors have come to be reliable, regular Partners of ours when it comes to the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba. MerSeta and Standard Bank have been with us from the very beginning, and over the past two years we have been delighted to welcome Sanlam, Investec, Novare, Kagiso Asset Management and SMS Group on board. We are delighted to welcome Rand Mutual Assurance on board this year.

We are immensely grateful to and appreciate all our sponsors, but wish to acknowledge, in particular, the 100-year-old Sanlam, which is our Gold Sponsor this year, and which was also our Primary Sponsor for the annual SEIFSA Golf Day last month. We know that Sanlam has expressed a wish to grow that partnership with SEIFSA stronger from year to year, and we eagerly look forward to that.

Finally, we also acknowledge and appreciate our media partners: Engineering News, Independent Newspapers and Classic FM.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 2019 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba. Coinciding as it will with SEIFSA’s 76th year, we have every intention of making it our biggest and best conference ever. To accomplish that goal, we will need the dedicated support of all our delegates, our Strategic Partner the IDC and all our Sponsors. Indeed, we will need the active support of the governments that we and our compatriots elected at local government level and will have elected next year at provincial and national levels.

Regrettably, the only thing that the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba has not yet had to the full extent is the enthusiastic support of our democratic Government. While we have deeply appreciated the involvement of Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, then-ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize, Ministers Mildred Oliphant, Pravin Gordhan, Lindiwe Zulu, Ebrahim Patel and, this year, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, hitherto we have struggled to get the President of the country, the Deputy President of the country, the Minister of Trade and Industry, other key Ministers, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to show the metals and engineering sector the respect worthy of them by participating in this conference.

While we welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment, during his inaugural State of the Nation Address in February, that the Government will place an emphasis on manufacturing, we must say, though, that we are deeply concerned that we have not yet seen a higher level of commitment to the metals and engineering sector from the Department of Trade and Industry and other parts of his Government (including the Presidency itself). They were all invited to this conference, but waited until the eleventh hour to inform us that, once again, they would not bother to join us. We find that deeply concerning and hope that there will be a change in attitude after next year’s elections.

I mention this, Ladies and Gentlemen, to make the important point that SEIFSA is not a politically partisan organisation. We believe in working in collaborative partnership with all stakeholders, starting with the three spheres of government, regardless of whichever party is in power in that sphere at the time. We want always to have healthy, constructive relations with our elected governments and our labour partners. That is why we get deeply concerned when elected officials who are accountable to us as personal and corporate taxpayers do not take as important a sector of the economy as the metals and engineering cluster seriously and want to be begged to do the work for which we pay them.

In the past, some in Government, especially at the Department of Trade and Industry, have wanted to lean on us to exclude members of the Official Opposition from the programme before that Department could support us. They have gone as far as wanting to have a say on the composition of the programme and the identification of speakers to be invited. Needless to say, we have rejected both attempts.

Personally, I have been deeply alarmed by such conduct from a Government Department that is meant to be a champion for business in government. That suggests that some people in that Ministry – and, perhaps, in Government in general – have tended to see themselves as deployed party apparatchiks rather than the servants of the people. That, in my view, will explain why, in the four years of this conference, we have not once had the privilege of the Minister of Trade and Industry or the Director-General in that Department addressing – let alone attending – the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba. This is particularly disturbing when one considers, to the best of one’s knowledge, that, quite correctly, there has never an annual Mining Indaba without the presence and active participation of the Minister of Mineral Resources, whoever the incumbent has been at the time.

Clearly, then, Ladies and Gentlemen, we need a serious change in attitude from the Department of Trade and Industry and many others in Government, including the Gauteng Provincial Government which has excelled at making all sorts of promises but has been spectacularly poor at meaningfully reaching out to and working with business – or, in particular, the metals and engineering sector. Over the past three years we have invited both the Gauteng Premier and his Economic Development MEC to this conference, and neither has even bothered to reply to that invitation.

That, I suggest, is simply not good enough. Instead, it speaks of the arrogance that has come to characterise our Government. We must hope, therefore, that the now-fading “New Dawn” promised by an ebullient President Ramaphosa will soon manifest itself, with the President and his Deputy leading by example. We must state clearly that the Government does not do us a favour by engaging with us. Instead, it would be doing its job – and that is all we are asking it to do.

Those in Government must know that, whenever they refuse to make themselves available to address this conference, we will simply extend an invitation to those – inside and outside this Government, including members and leaders of opposition parties – who are willing to engage with us. They are important to us because of the lofty positions that they hold in government, but they certainly do not possess a monopoly on wisdom or insights into what is important for the revival of our economy.

With that out of the way, let me move on to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr Mathews Phosa, former ANC Treasurer-General and the inaugural Premier of Mpumalanga, for bailing us out and agreeing, when we were let down by the Presidency at the eleventh hour, to deliver the Opening Address this morning. I am also equally grateful to the Leader of the Official Opposition, Mmusi Maimane, for similarly accepting our invitation to deliver the Closing Address tomorrow afternoon, after repeated attempts to get Deputy President David Mabuza to do so failed dismally. To Dr Phosa, a veteran businessman and experienced politician, and to Mr Maimane, thank you very much for your continued accessibility.

Finally, I acknowledge the presence this morning of a number of our Board Members, among them Interim President Alph Ngapo, and the Chairpersons and members of our various member Associations. Also acknowledged, with gratitude, is the presence of members of the leadership of the IDC.

We look forward to a fruitful, robust engagement with our speakers in the course of the next two days. At the end of each day, there will proposed resolutions that will be put to you, the delegates, for your consideration and adoption.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we at SEIFSA believe very firmly that, however difficult things may be at the moment, there continues to be a future for Manufacturing in South Africa and our region, and we believe that that future also includes a thriving Metals and Engineering Sector. However, for the sector to realize its full potential, it behoves all of us – in business, Government and labour – to get all hands on deck.

Thank you very much, yet again, for your attendance. Let us have a fruitful engagement that will be seen by future generations to have vital for the continued survival of our Sector.

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