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Sectoral Master Plans playing a vital role in reviving SA manufacturing

Posted on 2021-07-05 12:39:23


Sectoral Master Plans playing a vital role in reviving SA manufacturing

By Eustace Mashimbye

LAST MONTH the latest in the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) series of Sectoral Master Plans was signed, this time for the Steel and Fabricated Metal Industry.

To date, the dtic and its key stakeholders, including the private sector and organised labour, in the poultry, clothing, textile, footwear and leather, automotive, sugar and furniture sectors, have signed agreements designed to assist these job intensive industries to overcome a variety of challenges that they have faced as part of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.

The master plans have targeted specific action points relating to the respective industries, but there are also generic objectives including a change in ownership and production patterns within each sector. This means, for example, transforming and assisting small-scale farmers in the poultry and sugar sectors, bringing more blackowned cut, make and trim plants in the textiles sector online and assisting new entrants into original equipment manufacturing in the automotive sector.

The master plans aim to increase localisation which will lead to re-industrialisation and growth, as well as to reclaim domestic markets lost to imports. The poultry sector is under threat from immorally dumped chicken principally from Brazil and the EU, but their master plan as well as adjustments to import tariffs are beginning to yield results and the sector is making a slow but sure recovery.

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    The Multiparty Democratic Fund is a fund into which private companies or individuals who wish only to fund the political and democratic process, but no single specific party, can contribute. The disbursement formula is the same as that of the RPPF.

    The third funding method is private donor funding, and this now comes with new terms and conditions designed to make the sources of funding more transparent.

    Provided these rules are adhered to, we do not concern ourselves with who funds which party for what motive, but we do believe that the multiparty or public funding should come with local procurement stipulations for any materials purchased related to election campaigning.

    Putting aside the many ideological differences on the political spectrum, it is impossible to imagine that any party would reject the need for a policy that promotes job creation and strategies that will put our economy back on track. Therefore, it is impossible to imagine that any party would object to having local content thresholds imposed on them for the procurement of their election paraphernalia, since buying local is recognised as a driver of job creation and economic growth.

    Any party seeking political office on the back of claiming they can turn the tide on unemployment should be obligated to spend at least a proportion of their public or multiparty funding on locally manufactured goods and services. It would be hypocritical of parties to want to do anything different, and would make it difficult for voters to believe that they are putting South Africa first.

    During the 2018 election cycle, we hosted a town hall debate in Cape Town as well as a panel discussion during our Buy Local Summit & Expo between a number of parties when we questioned their intentions regarding election spending. We also visited the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) Ops Centre post elections and went as far as to check labels in party officials’ T-shirts and track suits to find out which ones had been as good (or not!) as their word.

    The responses across the board were varied, with some parties declining to commit to how or where they spent their money and others wholeheartedly agreeing that buying local was necessary.

    We would say that when choosing where to place your X on election day on October 27, make sure you are supporting a party that has your best interests and those of the country at heart.

    Simply put, a party that does not say one thing and do another. Buying local is not a political act, it’s an economic one with the potential to impact positively on the cycle of poverty and inequality that still persists in South Africa.

    The unemployment and economic growth challenge is a war, as expressed by the talented songstress Kelly Khumalo in her song Empini loosely translated meaning “at war”) The most recent unemployment figures stand at a record high of 32.6 percent with women and the youth worst affected.

    Things are bad, people are hopeless and we need the political parties to lead us in this cause. Buy local to create jobs and support a party that says and does the same.

    Eustace Mashimbye is the chief executive of Proudly South African

    *The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites

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