SOUTH AFRICA’s pivotal steel sector will get some much-needed attention at the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa’s (SEIFSA’s) Mainstreaming the Steel Master Plan Conference to be held in Kempton Park on May 19 and 20.
“Steel forms the foundation of any modern economy and is essential to every single industry sector; our steel sector urgently needs policies to instil confidence in its viability to attract both local and international direct investment,” says SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini.
The Steel Master Plan (SMP) — which was launched almost a year ago on June 11 2021 — provides a roadmap for the industry to follow in order to re-energise itself and expand production of the sector.
The SMP contains the “practical steps that need to be implemented progressively by all stakeholders across the steel and fabrication value chain. Without greater focus and prioritisation, the SMP will remain captive to high levels of ambition with limited real-world effectiveness,” warns SEIFSA COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza.
Trentini points to the issues — both immediate and longer term — that the plan outlines, which will be addressed at the conference. “There are burning issues that threaten the immediate viability of the sector versus the longer-term growth initiatives for the sector.
A prerequisite to growing the sector is saving the existing capacity from further contraction. The long-term growth drivers of the sector are vested in the country’s infrastructure drive, development of industry value chains and the greening of the industry to make it resilient in the climate change debate,” he says.
These concerns, including the supply of scrap metal, the development of an industry support fund and considerations of input costs, are just some of the topics that will be addressed at the conference.
Department of Trade, Industry and Competition officials, representatives from the Steel Oversight Committee, Business and Labour leaders will provide insight and analysis of the progress of the SMP, along with commitments that will lay the foundation for the development and growth of the M&E sector.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel will deliver the keynote address, after an opening address from Elias Monage, SEIFSA President. Other speakers include Dr Bernie Fanaroff, Special Adviser to the DTIC Minister, Irvin Jim, the General Secretary of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), and other notable industry leaders and role players
Large corporates, SMEs, company executives, public servants and anyone eager to attend or just find out more can visit the conference website (https://www.seifsa.co.za/product/steel-master-plan-conference/) for all the details of the Mainstreaming the Steel Master Plan Conference.
Image (Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel).