President engages steel sector leaders

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Government is determined to build a local steel sector that is strong, competitive and well positioned for the future, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The President’s comments come following a meeting with business leaders in the steel and engineering industries earlier this week.

In a statement following the meeting at the Union Buildings, the President said the steel sector is at the heart of the economy, as it has a significant multiplier effect and is one of largest job creators in the manufacturing sector.

“Our infrastructure drive should be the catalyst that propels its recovery and growth. We are determined to build a local steel sector that is strong, competitive and well positioned for the future,” President Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

The purpose of the meeting was to deepen engagement between government and this strategic sector of the economy. The meeting was the first direct engagement between a South African Head of State and the sector since SEIFSA’s formation almost 80 years ago.

The President met with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) led by Chairperson, Elias Monage to discuss measures that government, the industry and other social partners  will take together to grow the sector and ensure its future sustainability.

In the first State of the Nation Address of the sixth administration, in 2019, President Ramaphosa directed that the sector be given specific focus through the development of a steel and metal fabrication master plan.

In June 2021 the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition signed the sector master plan, which provides a blueprint for the industry to revitalise and expand production.

The master plan is a key part of the reimagined industrial strategy which President Ramaphosa has championed to unleash private investment and support inclusive growth.

During the meeting, the President outlined the actions being taken to achieve energy security, improve the performance of the freight logistics system and tackle corruption and crime, which have received strong support from business leaders.

Government and industry representatives discussed opportunities for local steel in the effort to rehabilitate the rail network, expand the national transmission grid and build water infrastructure, as well as the need to invest in skills development.

The SEIFSA leadership expressed its support in working with government and other social partners to address the country’s challenges and unlock investment in the