There is no doubt that there has been a growing presence of Chinese-manufactured products in South Africa and Chinese business leaders have invested in numerous sectors of the South African economy, including renewable energy, retail as well as the metals and engineering sector.
But how will the influx of Chinese-manufactured products impact on local businesses and employment and how should local manufacturers respond? Those are some of the questions that panelists and delegates to the 2019 Southern African metals and engineering Indaba will deliberate on.
Commenting on the Chinese factor, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa Kaizer Nyatsumba said China is increasingly shaping global discourse and economic development and that the presence of Chinese-manufactured goods is set to increase even further in years to come. He said local Chinese projects often make use of Chinese workers, even on menial jobs, to the detriment of indigenous workers.
“Although Chinese investments bring a different flavour and level of enthusiasm in some industries, it is a catch-22 situation in the labour-intensive industries of the manufacturing sector where there is a negative effect on job creation,” Nyatsumba said.
Making an assessment of the implications of a growing presence of Chinese-manufactured products in South Africa and its implications for local businesses will be BRICS Business Council Chairperson Busi Mabuza, International Trade and Economic Development Division Deputy Director General Xolelwa Mlumbi- Peter, ANC Economic Transformation Committee Head Enoch Godongwana and Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busisiwe Mavuso.
Now in its fifth year, the Indaba is organized and hosted by SEIFSA. Its core objective is to provide a platform for policy makers, labour representatives and businesses operating in the metals, engineering and related sectors to discuss the challenges facing the sector and collectively to devise sustainable solutions aimed at ensuring its sustainability.