Trade union Solidarity has welcomed Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel’s trade policy directive, which proposes an investigation into measures to help support the South African metals industry, which is facing significant challenges.
The directive, which was published last month, follows as the amount of available scrap metal that is extensively used by local steel mills has been drastically reduced and the price of scrap has increased sharply.
The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) has been tasked with investigating market conditions, as well as the demand and supply imbalances of scrap metal, to formulate measures to help protect local foundries and steel mills.
“The impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown had a devastating effect on the South Africa steel industry. Ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, which is an important raw material for foundries and steel mills, are in short supply and the price of scrap has increased significantly,” Solidarity Strategic Institute deputy general secretary Marius Croucamp said in a statement on July 14.
No ferrous and non-ferrous scrap may be exported for the period of the investigation unless Itac determines that the scrap will not be required by the local industry.
Croucamp says policing scrap trade flows in South Africa is challenging with significant circumvention of regulations reportedly taking place.
“Solidarity supports the Minister . . . to order an investigation into the trade and supply of scrap metal. The sustainability of the industry and job security is at stake and urgent measures must be taken to address this,” he said.