The Director-General of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition: Mr Lionel October, has presented the Annual Performance Reports for the Financial Year 2019/2020 of the Economic Development Department and the Department of Trade and Industry to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry.
The two departments recently merged to form the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) following a decision of President Cyril Ramaphosa to restructure the government. The Auditor General gave both departments clean audit reports for the 2019/2020 Financial Year.
Mr October told the meeting that South Africa is slowly but surely making inroads into the beneficiation field. He referred to the success in the construction of the first fuel cell manufacturing facility at the Dube Trade Port, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the KwaZulu/Natal province. He indicated that this presents opportunities for platinum beneficiation and new green industries. Vodacom already deployed 300 of their fuel cells with the potential for an additional R1 billion contracts with the telecoms (Vodacom, MTN) sector.
One of the strategic objectives of the dtic is to facilitate transformation of the economy to promote industrial development, investment, competitiveness and employment creation. To this end, October revealed that a lot has been achieved.
"In the pharmaceutical sector, local manufacturer of vaccines, Biovac, was awarded 85% of Expanded Programme on Immunisation three year tender, a transversal health contract of Department of Health. This sustained the 318 specialised jobs in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town. In the transition of HIV treatment, local manufacturers were able to access technology to locally manufacture the new treatment," he said.
Director-General October said in the Automotive sector several strides were made which included the launch of the Automotive Industry Transformation Fund in November 2019. The aim of the fund is to seed, develop and grow black-owned companies within the automotive supply chain. It is expected to be fully operational from 2021. He also highlighted several key investments made by international motor manufacturing companies such as Ford Motors, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen for the major investments that they've made into the economy of the country.
One of the key initiatives of the dtic has been the development of Master Plans for different sectors of the economy, with the aim of developing and protecting them to ensure they contribute towards economic growth and job creation. October stated that the Poultry and the Retail-Clothing, Textile and Footwear Masterplans were developed and launched at the Presidential Investment Conference in November 2019.
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) made a commitment of investment to the tune of R1.7 billion, while R7 billion worth of investment was committed to the Clothing and Textile industry.
Other key highlights include interventions achieved to support Black Industrialists. One such intervention was approval of Pick n Pay Nedbank Black Industrialist Programme to assist players that are in the agro-processing space with both financial and non financial support.
This programme will cater for Black Industrialists that are below R30 million current threshold.
On the administration side, the dtic boasted 100 % eligible creditor payments processed well within 30 days and surpassing the 50 % target women representativity at Senior Management level. The department is currently at 54%.