The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association held its annual AGM in July this year. Bill Scurr, the association’s newly appointed Executive Director, opened the meeting with a reminder that the association’s purpose was “to provide a platform for Sassda members to collectively promote the sustainable growth and development of the industry, with the main emphasis on stainless steel converted within the South African economy”.
Bernard Maguire, the chairman of Sassda’s board, summed up the challenges and opportunities facing the stainless steel industry in the past year.
“The manufacturing sector of the South African economy grew by 2.4% in 2011, according to the African Economic Outlook,” said Maguire. “And the sector got off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2012 with real value added growing by 12.8% quarter on quarter at an annualized rate.”
“In the stainless steel industry South African apparent consumption grew by 14% from 2010 to 2011; and World Crude Stainless Steel production increased by 3% according to the ISSF,” he said.
Maguire believes “unfair imports” of finished goods into South Africa have become a serious threat to local manufacturers during the course of the past couple of years. Maguire summed up the countervailing initiatives implemented by the government and other parties. The government plans to review tariff and non tariff barriers to protect local manufacturing as well as designate certain industries of “critical importance” to local manufacture by organs of state and public entities. Maguire also believes the government is assisting with initiatives such as the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Program (MCEP), which aims to support manufacturing enterprises in upgrading their plant and thereby support the value-add process.
Sassda has also been working with Unido (United Nations Industry Development Organisation) in profiling and benchmarking Sassda members so that they are included on a central database of preferred suppliers for Eskom, Transnet, PRASA and the like. The Department of Science and Technology recently identified eleven companies that have been benchmarked and which they wish to assist in improving their technology. Three of these companies are members of Sassda, namely: Falcon Engineering, Calculus Products and Fabrinox.
Maguire said that the past twelve months had been interesting as Chairman of Sassda but believes the appointment of Scurr on the 2nd of April 2012, had been a positive step in the right direction. “Scurr’s brief is to get Sassda back to basics and in essence that is serving the industry and following the needs of the members,” said Maguire.
Scurr, in his new capacity, reported back on the developments at Sassda. This included the continuation of the Quarterly Stainless Steel Magazine; a presentation by Michel Basson at the Ferro Alloys Conference, which was held in September last year; a presentation by Sassda members at ICDA Conference in November last year including Rimex, Styria, SJM Flex, Columbus Stainless and Sassda.
Scurr also highlighted the successful Sassda events, such as sports days; the 2011 year-end functions; and various Columbus Mill visits. Sassda released various reports over the past year, including one on local apparent consumption and another on the consumerware, hospitality and catering sector.
Sassda continues to provide its Stainless Steel Courses and a new course for non-technical staff is being developed. Sassda’s technical desk has also been busy with numerous ad-hoc technical queries; NIASA membership; as well as Unido benchmarking and profiling.
Scurr then went on to highlight the way forward for Sassda in the year ahead under his new guidance. He gave a realistic assessment of challenges and opportunities facing the association and has developed a strategy to be implemented at Sassda called “The 5 Rs”.
Scurr says that the first priority is to Reinvigorate the sectors. “We must identify the key current sectors and after establishing what their needs are, set targets, which Sassda will provide dedicated resources for,” he says.
Other priorities are to Refresh education and training; Reinforce the technical profile, which includes increasing the technical content of the Stainless Steel magazine as well as increasing the involvement with other technical institutions and associations; Rebalance government interaction; and Resurrect Sassda’s visibility.
Sassda then went on to vote in the 2012/2014 main committee. The members are as follows:
1. Bill Scurr, Sassda;
2. Bertus Griesel, Columbus;
3. Gary Crawford, Styria (Import Sector);
4. Jason Naude, Rimex (Architecture, Building and Construction Sector);
5. Peter Viljoen, Stainless Fabricators (Fabsec);
6. David Bowrin, Hendler & Hart (Consumerware, Hospitality and Catering Sector);
7. Tom Rice, Bohler (Welding Sector);
8. Mike Campbell, NDE;
9. Bernard Maguire, Cronimet;
10. Charles Cammell, Macsteel VRN:
11. Ross Cowing, Euro Steel;
12. Wendy Turton, Elcarbo;
13. Andre Visser, Fabrinox;
14. Paul McNally, Lasercore;
15. Dave Braithwaite, Steel Studio International;
16. Nash Soni, Hendler & Hart