Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – A change in attitude towards the metals and engineering sector from Government, particularly the Department of Trade and Industry and the Gauteng Provincial Government is urgently needed, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said this morning.

Speaking at the fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place at the IDC Conference Centre today and tomorrow, Mr Nyatsumba said the Indaba has not yet had to the full extent the enthusiastic support of Government.

“While we have deeply appreciated the involvement of Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, then-ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize, Ministers Mildred Oliphant, Pravin Gordhan, Lindiwe Zulu, Ebrahim Patel and, this year, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, hitherto we have struggled to get the President of the country, the Deputy President of the country, the Minister of Trade and Industry, other key Ministers, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to show the metals and engineering sector the respect worthy of them by participating in this conference,” he said.

He added that while the business community welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment, during his inaugural State of the Nation Address in February, that the Government will place an emphasis on manufacturing, business was deeply concerned that a higher level of commitment to the metals and engineering sector from the Department of Trade and Industry and other parts of his Government (including the Presidency itself) was yet to be seen.

“They were all invited to this conference but waited until the eleventh hour to inform us that, once again, they would not bother to join us. We find that deeply concerning and hope that there will be a change in attitude after next year’s elections,” said Mr Nyatsumba.

He said SEIFSA believed in working in collaborative partnership with all stakeholders, starting with the three spheres of government, regardless of whichever party is in power in that sphere at the time.