South Africa: The Time for Corporate Welfare in the Steel Industry Is Over

opinion

Monopolies do not work -- they are only successful in raising prices and diminishing quality. The latest example of this is in the steel industry, which urgently needs reform.

The announcement on 11 November that ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) intends shutting down its plant in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, is another blow to our ailing economy. This will lead to a further 900 job losses - something the economy can ill afford with an unemployment rate of 29.1%. It exacerbates the damage of 2,000 job losses announced by AMSA in July 2019.

It doesn't help for Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel to ask the company to sell it to a competitor rather than shut down. Rather, the industry at large requires reform.

The shortcoming of statistics is that they tend to reduce human lives to mere numbers. The reality is that the majority of breadwinners in affected communities are left hopeless, with no idea of where their next meal will come from. This is what should matter to our politicians and government officials. However, one cannot escape the fact that these job losses are largely the result of a lack of meaningful macroeconomic reform.

For far too long...

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