Six years ago, the Government adopted the National Development Plan (NDP), a blueprint for how South Africa could eradicate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 – with business and other stakeholders enthusiastically welcoming the initiative.
While the NDP drew criticism from some labour formations, many other stakeholders – among them the business community – hailed it as a solid foundation upon which inclusive economic growth could be achieved.
But, six years on, just how much of the plan has been implemented to date – and just how relevant does it continue to be? That is the burning question that Minister in the Presidency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, University of the Free State Visiting Professor JP Landman, Manufacturing Circle CEO Philippa Rodseth and Wits School of Governance Professor Patrick Bond will grapple with on the first day of the Fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, which will take place on 20-21 September at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton.
“The NDP and its 18 strategic infrastructure projects (SIPs) held much promise for the country, but not much seems to have been done in terms of the actual implementation and South Africa – embattled by slow growth, unemployment and a continually widening gap between the rich and the poor – does not seem to be on the trajectory to eradicating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030,” Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said.
He said that it is against this backdrop that SEIFSA, as the conference organizer, felt it necessary to provide a platform for policy makers and other stakeholders to meet and spell out what has been done, where the bottlenecks to implementation have been and what needs to be done to move forward.
“We remain of the view that, if implemented correctly, the NDP and its SIPs have the potential to help South Africa turn its economic fortunes around. The Government’s expenditure on the projects would revive industries such as the construction and our very own metals and engineering, which have been in doldrums for years. We, as the business community, stand ready to work with the Government to contribute towards the successful implementation of the plan,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Other topics that will feature prominently on the 2018 Indaba agenda include:
- The Continental Free Trade Area: How Much Progress Has Been Made to Date?
- Exploring and Leveraging the Link Between the Metals and Engineering Sector and the Mining, Construction and Auto Manufacturing Industries
- Constraints to investing in the Metals and Engineering Sector and improving trade on the African continent
- Radical Economic Transformation, the Black Industrialists Programme and the Metals and Engineering Sector
- Innovation and Excellence as Strategic Levers for Global Competitiveness
- Administered Prices As Factors Negatively Affecting South Africa’s International Competitiveness: Can we Change the Situation?
President Cyril Ramaphosa is billed to deliver the opening address. Among the high-profile speakers expected to address the conference are:
- Cabinet Ministers like Dr Zweli Mkhize, and Pravin Gordhan
- Business leaders like Black Business Council CEO Kganki Matabane, ArcelorMittal General Manager: Africa Overland Alph Ngapo, Africa House Director Duncan Bonnett, Africa@Work CEO Dinna Games, Hazleton Pump International Managing Director Mathys Wehmer, former Atlantis Foundries CEO Pieter du Plessis, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama, PWC South Africa Director Andrew Shaw, National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA Director Nico Vermeulen and Master Builders Executive Director Roy Mnisi;
- Policy makers and civil service representatives like Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) Director-General Lionel October, and Dti Chief Director for Africa Multilateral Economic Relations Wamkele Mene;
- Representatives of global organisations like World Bank Group Lead Economist John Gabriel and International Finance Corporation Senior Investment Officer Paul Mukasa;
- Civil society leaders like Council for Scientific and Industrial Research CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini; Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse Executive Director Wayne Duvenage and Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo
- Politicians like ANC Economic Transformation Head Enoch Godongwana, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry Geordin Hill-Lewis and DA Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone; and
- Academics like University of Stellenbosch Social Justice Chair and former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela