South Africa Develops Master Plan to Support Steel Industry
South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has signed the steel metal Master Plan. The plan aims to implement the re-imagined industry strategy, reconstruction and recovery plan launched by President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020. The steel Master Plan will focus on localising the industry and promote export and to lay a strong foundation for the development and growth of the Metals and Engineering sector. The new agreement will see steel manufacturers benefit from government procurements through its reindustrialisation and recovery plan programme. Manufacturers will also benefit from the Africa Free Trade Agreement and exposure to international markets. The Master Plan aims to boost job creation.
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Mr Ebrahim Patel expressed confidence in the future of the steel industry despite some of the current challenges that it’s facing. He said “State capture and corruption deeply damage industries and economies. It leads to loss of jobs and lower GDP and the steel industry saw that if we divert the money to boost the industry the demand drops which means fewer jobs and less output.”
The National Union of Metalworkers has welcomed the newly signed Steel master plan. Numsa General Secretary Mr Irvin Jim said “This is a platform in our view to play a critical role to stop the current job loss, blood bath and in the same breath create the most desperately needed jobs in our country today. We think it’s a platform where we should basically engage robustly amongst each other as business and labour, and also engage with government on the kinds of measures that are critical to ensure that we take forward manufacturing and industrialisation of our country.”
South Africa’s steel industry contributes 1.2% to GDP from the 12% that the manufacturing sector adds to the economy and over 200 000 people are employed in the steel sector.