Cabinet approves measures to restrict scrap exports, but details yet to be released

18th November 2022

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Cabinet has approved a “comprehensive package” of policy measures to restrict trade in scrap metal to limit damage to public infrastructure, including the ongoing theft of copper cables, which is said to be costing the economy R46-billion yearly.

Details of the measures have not yet been released, but it has been confirmed that they will involve restrictions on the trade of waste scrap and semi-processed metals.

On August 5, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel published draft policy proposals for public comment and government subsequently received significant feedback, including from those opposed to the implementation of trade restrictions.

Briefing the media on the outcome of the Cabinet meeting held on November 16, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said details of the measures to be implemented would be provided in a statement, which would be published once the necessary legal work had been finalised.

These measures would be processed for publication in the Government Gazette by the relevant Ministries involved, he added.

“South Africa will also engage with the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the Southern African Customs Union to ensure a coordinated approach to fight this crime collectively as a region,” Gungubele reported, indicating that regional alignment on the policy was required to address the problem.

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Stephen Hanival described the package as “the least intrusive” interventions possible in a context of seeking to address the problem of ongoing cable theft.

He also reported that it had secured both domestic legal opinion and the opinion of trade specialists based in Geneva, Switzerland to ensure that the interventions were in line with South Africa’s rights and duties as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He said these opinions had given government “comfort” that the quantitative restrictions being pursued were in line with South Africa’s rights under the WTO legal framework.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter





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