- Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition Ebrahim Patel said government would have a draft policy on scrap metal by the end of July.
- In his budget vote in Parliament, Patel said his department and the Department of Public Enterprises worked with industrialists to enhance planning around business' infrastructure needs.
- He said the past year's competition settlements allowed 100 000 more employees to become shareholders in their employer firms.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel told Parliament that South Africa could expect a draft policy to address the illegal trade of copper cable and scrap metal by the end of July.
Patel tabled a R10.9 billion budget vote for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in Parliament on Friday.
The government has been grappling with the illegal trade of scrap metal, which has largely been fed by the theft from the country's freight and passenger rail network.
Earlier this month, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan called for a temporary ban on the sale of scrap metal in the country to eliminate the external market for infrastructure that has been vandalised and stolen.
On Friday, Patel told Parliament that he and Gordhan were working together to build support structures for industries to address challenges, including energy challenges and stopping scrap metal syndicates. He said a scrap metal policy was in the works and would be drafted soon.
"We are building an enabling environment for industrialisation [that] requires securing our key network infrastructure, such as energy and logistics, and protecting our electrical grid and rail network from the continued threat of scrap metal syndicates.
"By the end of July, we will have developed and tabled a draft policy on scrap metal, which will introduce a blend of domestic and export measures to address illegal trade in copper cable and scrap metal," said Patel.
Patel said he and Gordhan agreed to launch a forum to unite Eskom, Transnet and other entities with industrialists to "enhance collaboration, advanced planning, and problem-solving".
The minister also highlighted department interventions aimed at supporting disadvantaged businesses and transforming the ownership of large corporations.
Patel said thanks to five competition settlements, 100 000 more workers at Shoprite, Burger King, and Imperial Logistics secured shares in the firms that they worked for in the past year, bringing the recorded worker shareholding in the economy to over 400 000 to date.
"To fuel the economic recovery and deepen industrialisation, the department entities together will offer R22 billion in customised support packages to companies over the next twelve months. This will be complemented by strategic support to deepen implementation of our master plans, including the launch of a new R400 million Furniture Growth Fund in partnership with manufacturers and retailers," said Patel.
Patel said to support localisation efforts, the department would aim to achieve a R40 billion increase in the production of targeted local industrial output. He said this would bring South Africa closer to the government's five-year target of R200 billion worth of local industrial output.
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