Overview of the national Steel Master Plan

In June 2021, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, along with business and labour from the steel and metal fabrication sector signed a masterplan which aims to “guide the stabilization and progress of the Industry”. The South African Steel and Metal Fabrication Master Plan 1.0 Support for the Steel Value Chain incorporated input from industry, labour and regulators.

According to the published document, the masterplan aims to be a focused set of practical steps which must be implemented on a consistent basis. Although it is not considered an in-depth analysis of the state of the sector, it has taken numerous inputs into account, and will be the plan against which national government measures progress in the sector. The Minister has also set up a Steel Oversight Council for the purpose of monitoring and adjusting the plan where necessary. 

The implementation plan identifies 12 major programmes, each of which will be overseen by a task team made up of relevant sector representatives. These programmes, are in turn divided into three main categories. In the first category, namely Supply-side Measures, the plan has six workstreams: Input cost reduction in the value chain and availability; Establishing industry and product standards; R&D, innovation and the fourth industrial revolution for productivity and competitiveness; Resource mobilization for investment and stabilization; The primary steel industry and steel prices: carbon and stainless steel; and Training and mentoring.

 The Demand-side Measures include Infrastructure programme and localisation; Import replacement; Product value chains; and Exports. Two programmes fall under a Cross-cutting Measures category, namely Industry cohesion and steel industry development fund; and Transformation.

It’s a far-reaching set of goals and issues to tackle, and will take a joint commitment by the many players that are involved. According to the master plan, there is overall consensus on the direction set by the plan and “There is common agreement that that the recovery and growth of the industry requires long-term thinking. The industry is now in survival mode and so focuses on cost cutting. Urgent measures are required to give the industry a breathing space and to ensure its survival.” (pg. 3)

For more information download the plan below or email nftn@csir.co.za