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 14-15 September, 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 South African Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin June 2017, manufacturing production contracted for the third successive quarter in the first quarter of this year. This was mainly due to weak domestic demand and low business confidence.
Presented by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Trade and Industry, the Indaba is an opportunity for business executives, policy makers and trade union representatives to collaborate towards addressing the challenges facing the sector.
Speaking ahead of the Indaba, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer, Kaizer Nyatsumba said, in addition to tackling the challenges in the sector, the conference would also consider the steps necessary to reverse the contraction in the metals and engineering sector.
According to Statistics South Africa, 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.
He added, “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. The Indaba is an opportunity for the different stakeholders to exchange ideas.”