[South Africa] Government and stakeholders sign Master Plan for steel and metal fabrication sector
South African Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, along with industry stakeholders from the steel and metal fabrication sector signed a Master Plan for the sector, which provides a blueprint for the industry to re-energise itself and expand production.
The steel industry plays an important role in South Africa’s industrial capacity, both as a direct driver of growth, investment and jobs, and as indirect facilitator of South Africa’s construction, automotive and mining sectors. South Africa is one of the largest steel producers on the African continent. According to the World Steel Association, South African steel manufacturers produced 5.7 million metric tons of crude steel in 2019, second only to Egypt on the continent, and the sector employs around 200 000 workers. Top Steel consuming (mining, construction, autos) industries contribute R600 Billion to South Africa’s GDP (about 15% to GDP) and employs 8 million workers.
The Master Plan sets out practical steps to be implemented progressively by all stakeholders across the steel and fabrication value chain. The Master Plan includes six priority areas: Demand-side measures; Supply-side measures; African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, Transformation, Human Resources and a Shared Vision and; Resource Mobilisation and the Steel Fund.
Ebrahim Patel, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition said, “The signing of the Master Plan sets the foundation and commitment for the development and growth of this important sector. The ceremony offers an opportunity for us to reaffirm the commitment to the steel industry’s social compact and the agreed implementation agenda. Learning from the other masterplans that are in implementation phases, there is a long and steep road ahead of us. Building consensus on the steel masterplan and agreeing on the actions to anchor the implementation was a much easier process. The hard-work has started in the implementation and will get even harder as we began to collectively tackle actions that are very difficult but necessary for the long-term development of this industry.”
To drive implementation of the Master Plan, a Steel Oversight Council has also been established, with thirty-five members drawn from all parts of the industry, including up- and downstream industry players, organised labour and public sector officials. Meetings of the Steel Oversight Council commenced in February 2021, following the adoption of the Master Plan by the industry.