The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has dismissed local scrap metal exporter SA Metal Group’s request for leave to appeal the High Court’s decision to uphold the State’s scrap metal export provisions, known as the price preference system, as well as the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa’s (Itac's) decision to refuse to issue export permits to the company, in accordance with the price preference system.
The ConCourt noted that it had no reasonable prospect of success.
This brings to an end almost four years of litigation over the lawfulness of the price preference system.
Itac’s legal action was first initiated after Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel issued a trade policy directive requiring the commission to administer a price preference for local foundries and steel mini-mills on all scrap metal collected locally before they were offered for export.
The policy directive was part of government’s plan to promote local industrialisation and the beneficiation of local scrap metal, following significant job losses and de-industrialisation in the steel industry.
It was also introduced to support the national infrastructure plan and to support lower carbon emissions in the making of steel products.
Patel said that Monday’s ConCourt decision showed that rational decisions by the State in favour of job creation and industrialisation would be upheld by the courts.
“Our Constitution enables government to intervene in support of legitimate public purposes. Government will act to ensure that our industrial base and employment are supported,” he said.