The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Devel- opment Association’s (Sassda’s) role is to grow the conversion of stainless steel into finished and semifinished products to create employment, says Sassda chairperson Sampie van Rooyen.
This will be achieved through assisting in developing manufacturing enterprises of identified products, developing skills and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to achieve synergy and source funds, which are essential in increasing the volume of stainless steel consumption, he adds.
He explains: “Historically, the association has concen- trated on growing the membership of the association, but recently it is moving towards active participation of its members.”
He adds that Sassda has changed its focus from the past, given the unequal ratio of member participation in its programmes – for example, often only a few members would become involved in an initiative.
The association recently has created structures such as interest groups. For example, if there is a solar water heating project, they will invite members who can participate in that specific project and workshop what the project entails and what is expected from members.
The response is steady and the association remains opti- mistic, despite members being wary of change, compounded by the global financial crisis, which has created a cloud of uncertainty owing to the losses suffered during this time, he adds.
While some of the members view the potential change as positive, there are a few members who perceive this move as negative.
He emphasises that it is imperative for the association to have good relationship with government and labour associations.
Developments in the stain- less steel industry include a major petrochemicals project in the pipeline. This is by far the biggest project this year, he adds.
The association also focuses on the smaller sectors, such as the stainless steel cutlery producers. Sassda is in discussions with the city of Johannesburg and aims to establish a cooperative in Gauteng as a pilot project. In this instance, raw material will be sourced from larger companies’ stainless steel cutoffs, which are recycled and remanufactured into teaspoons. These projects, along with several others, provide great employment and skills development opportunities for the industry, he concludes.