Business confidence in the local valves industry seems to be rising; however, some concerns remain, says South African Valve and Actuator Manufacturers Association (Savama) chairperson Pamela du Plessis.
“The concerns include the exchange rate volatility, generally low productivity levels amid increasing labour costs, rising production costs, stagnant demand and declining net operating surpluses.”
Several factors are exacerbating the situation, but Du Plessis believes that a predominant cause is the political situation with the prominence of bribery and corruption not creating easy trading opportunities throughout Southern Africa.
“Instead, more products are being imported and this is not beneficial to the industry, as it is a risk that no individual or company can mitigate on their own. The local industry is unable to compete.”
Du Plessis tells Engineering News that Savama aims to inform industry about products and services provided by local valves manufacturers, as well as to drive training, South African standards, and import and export tariffs.
The association meets on a regular basis under the auspices of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa, of which Savama is a member. These meetings are held to relay messages to the industry regarding the association’s objectives and challenges that the valves industry faces, she mentions.
Further, Savama offers online courses that cover an introduction to valves, working with valves and control valves. A total of 63 active candidates are doing the courses. The courses are open to anyone and not only to association members.
Some of the association’s member companies – which account for about 80% of the valves and actuators manufactured and/or assembled in South Africa – have taken the initiative to incorporate the courses into their working environment. Du Plessis enthuses that “this has definitely enhanced the level of skills in our industry”.
Savama plans to investigate accreditation options for the courses and how to roll the courses out to more candidates and create a greater impact on the industry, Du Plessis concludes.