Seifsa president vows entity will continue to advance the metals sector

7th October 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has retained president Elias Monage and CEO Lucio Trentini on its board for another term, as well as COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza, who had been newly appointed as of March.

Seifsa also retained prior board members MphoNo Energies MD Nonhlanhla Ngwenya, Frigoglass South Africa human resources executive Ryan Haynes, Reinforcing Steel Contractors director Ernest Volschenk, South African Mint Company MD Honey Mamabolo, Actom group CEO Mervyn Naidoo and Dynamic Fluid Control CEO Tumi Tsehlo, as well as former Murray & Roberts CEO Malcolm McCulloch and Atlantis Foundries CEO Pieter du Plessis, while Invincible Vales MD Pam du Plessis has been appointed to the board anew.

Speaking during the organisation’s yearly presidential breakfast on October 7, Monage said Seifsa’s leadership would continue with efforts to advance the metals and engineering industry, particularly by bringing their dynamism, experience and wisdom to the task.

Monage further recognised that this year had marked a period of challenging global and local conditions, with the former the result of bad policy choices and economic mismanagement.

He said Seifsa must continue playing its role of keeping government accountable.

He added that South Africa’s severe economic challenges, from load-shedding to the inflationary effects of the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruption, meant it was more important than ever for Seifsa to advocate for a more business-friendly environment.

Monage said the country’s envisioned economic recovery and reconstruction currently remained a “pipe dream”. 

Seifsa’s guest of honour at the presidential breakfast, political analyst and veteran journalist Justice Malala, agreed.

He said South Africa was experiencing a crisis of confidence, with confidence among consumers and businesses alike "in a dismal state".

Malala attributed the country’s confidence crisis in part to the transitions that were happening in the country, saying “morbid symptoms” arose whenever change, such as that of switching to clean energy, was under way.

Additionally, he explained that the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), was experiencing an identity crisis, with its “liberation dividend” running out.

“The party is fighting within itself and is increasingly unclear in its characterisation,” Malala stated.

He said the key risks for South Africa in the near term were more social unrest, as witnessed in July 2021, since its underlying cause and culprits were never determined and therefore were likely to reoccur; the high youth unemployment rate; the ANC's internal divisions; increased xenophobic attacks; and the loss of trust in institutions, including in the South African Police Service, the Public Protector and the South African Revenue Service.

Malala said it was important to instil trust in institutions and government, particularly given the low voter turnout rate witnessed in the 2021 local government elections. He explained that 26-million people are registered to vote, out of 40-million people that are eligible to vote. About 13-million people were eligible but did not register to vote, while 14-million people did not vote despite being registered. This leaves the 12-million people that actually voted at the end of 2021.

Malala agreed with Monage in saying that organised labour and business should continue doing what they can to raise confidence levels to usher in investment and create conducive conditions for economic growth and job creation.