The maintenance and development of South Africa’s manufacturing sector was critically important at this stage of the country’s economic history, Bronkhorstspruit-based specialist foundry Steloy Castings CEO Danie Slabbert said in Johannesburg, Gauteng, earlier this month.
He was speaking at Steloy Casting’s thirtieth anniversary celebration.
“If the country cannot withstand the headwinds of the current low demand and threats from uncompetitive imports, and cannot capitalise on the existing private and public spending programmes, we are all doomed,” he said.
There was enough backbone in industry, business and the public sector to overcome the current challenges and develop a thriving engineering and manufacturing industry in future, Slabbert added.
He noted that one of the biggest, current challenges that South Africa faced was to transform businesses through training and skills development, adding that Steloy Castings placed a high premium on this aspect.
“We run a decentralised apprentice test centre for the training of apprentices, which is approved by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education Training Authority.”
He stated that the company was not reflecting on the past, but rather focusing on future expectations, noting that Steloy Castings was strategically positioned to serve the local manufacturing and engineering sector for the next 30 years.
“We have developed into a company that provides a complete engineering service, from drawing to manufacturing final components,” he pointed out.
Slabbert added that the company had various International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) accreditations, including ISO 90001and ISO 14 000, as well as OSHAS 18 000. He noted that Steloy Castings was also accredited with a PED, or pressure equipment directive, to supply pump and valve parts to the European Union countries.
“We were also accredited with the Iris standard this year, which is the international rail industry standard, and we are the only foundry in the country with that accreditation,” he said.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) director Donald Mabusela said at the event that it was a major issue when the manufacturing sector encountered challenges and that the sector provided the DTI with a good platform to implement several growth initiatives run by government.
“Developing small businesses depends on a thriving manufacturing sector; when it thrives, grows and creates opportunities, we are able to support small and medium-sized enterprises and to help them to grow.”