Despite its well established, diversified and competitive base and contributing over 15% to the country’s GDP, the South African manufacturing sector seems to be biting the dust day after day.
Problems such as unending labour strikes fomented by trade unions that appear to holding the country to ransom, flooding of unfairly incentivised imports by ‘voracious’ Chinese companies into the country’s markets, among others, seem to have slowed down the once prosperous sector.
The growth of other emerging economies and the cheap labour they offer in countries such as China, Pakistan and India is also said to threaten the growth of this sector.
Analysts said these misfortunes had led to the situation whereby local producers of goods that use locally sourced raw materials face serious barriers to competing fairly in the global and regional manufacturing sectors.
Seemingly, many quarters have called for desperate measures to be applied in these desperate times.
Therefore, an events and marketing firm Siyenza has teamed up with the Manufacturing Circle to launch the Manufacturing Indaba
Indaba is the Zulu word for Forum or Conference.
The organisers said the first Manufacturing Indaba will be held on 12-13 November 2013 at Gallagher Estate Convention Centre in Midrand in the commercial capital Johannesburg.
The conference, which will bring together business owners, industry leaders, government officials, capital providers and professional experts, aims at discussing challenges facing the manufacturing industry and brainstorm solutions.
“The launch of this event will bolster existing programmes, such as the important Industrial Policy Action Plan, which prioritises manufacturing as a key growth sector for the future,” Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad Bezuidenhout said in a statement.
“The success of our nation depends on a strong and innovative manufacturing base, and we must continue to work together to promote prosperity through manufacturing, science and innovation,” Liz Hart, event conceptualiser and Siyenza MD, said.
The South African manufacturing industry comprises the following sub-sectors, among others: agriprocessing, automotive, chemicals, ICT and electronics, metals, textiles, clothing and footwear.
Photo: A Mercedes-Benz factory in South Africa. Credit: Bogartier/SA Edition