The Inclusive Society Institute has embarked on an extensive economic research project, which will culminate in a comprehensive ‘Blueprint for rejuvenating South Africa’s economy’. The methodology includes a series of dialogues with various sectoral stakeholders and policymakers. These dialogues each have two parts to them: (i) Gaining an understanding from the particular sectors perspective as to what the country needs to correct policy wise, and (ii) what new initiatives / policies should be introduced to shift the economy onto a higher growth trajectory.
This dialogue formed the 2nd part of the manufacturing sector engagement.
A number of initiatives were proposed, amongst others:
The primary steel manufacturing needed to be more competitive, either through the improvement of the existing and/or the introduction of new investors with more efficient technology. Old and inefficient technology should not be protected via protective duties.
As regards the steel industry, where protective duties are currently in place, whilst the local producer seemingly has an inability to provide sufficient product, proposals for a USA-type exemption system was proposed. Similarly, the current basket-price mechanism has to be revisited.
On protection mechanisms: One cannot protect the primary producer, without protecting the downstream industries.
A number of examples for the removal of red-tape and the labour law overhaul were made.
Revitalise the previous rural industrial development parks, also considering the past-incentivisation mechanisms.
Greater efforts on stimulating demand, with special emphasis on creating markets beyond the local. Local markets are too small. Products need to be geared to be internationally viable.