Ind­aba to fo­cus on slow­down in metal, en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Sizwe Dlamini

THE CON­TRAC­TION in the met­als and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor will be the fo­cus of the 3rd an­nual South African Met­als and En­gi­neer­ing Ind­aba in Septem­ber.

The ind­aba, to be held at the In­dus­trial Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (IDC) Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Sand­ton from Septem­ber 14 to 15, is set to take place against the back­drop of neg­a­tive sen­ti­ment about the South African econ­omy be­cause of, among others, fall­ing gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) and con­trac­tion in the se­condary sec­tor in the first quar­ter of this year.

Ac­cord­ing to the SA Re­serve Bank’s Quar­terly Bul­letin June 2017, man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­duc­tion con­tracted for the third suc­ces­sive quar­ter in the first quar­ter of this year.

Pre­sented by the Steel and En­gi­neer­ing In­dus­tries Fed­er­a­tion of South­ern Africa (Seifsa) in part­ner­ship with the IDC and the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try, the ind­aba is an op­por­tu­nity for busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and trade union rep­re­sen­ta­tives to col­lab­o­rate to­wards ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges fac­ing the sec­tor.

Seifsa chief ex­ec­u­tive Kaizer Ny­at­sumba said that in ad­di­tion to tack­ling the chal­lenges in the sec­tor, the con­fer­ence would con­sider the steps nec­es­sary to re­verse the con­trac­tion in the met­als and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor. Ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics SA, the met­als and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor has shrunk in each suc­ces­sive year since 2013.

“We need to ur­gently turn around that trend be­cause the steel and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor is an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to the GDP and job cre­ation,” Ny­at­sumba said. “This re­quires col­lab­o­ra­tion between gov­ern­ment, labour and busi­ness. With un­em­ploy­ment cur­rently at un­ac­cept­ably high lev­els, South Africa needs a vi­brant and com­pet­i­tive steel and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor.”

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