What have been SACEEC’s most significant milestones over the last two decades?

Over the past two decades, SACEEC has achieved several significant milestones. Originally established in the late 1990s as a mining cluster, we have experienced substantial growth. Today, we have over 160 members who are exporting their products worldwide, and we have evolved into the capital equipment, machinery, and equipment export council. Our market focus has expanded beyond mining to include other industries, and as an export council, our primary objective is to identify and pursue opportunities abroad.

How is South African-made equipment and machinery perceived internationally?

South African equipment and machinery are highly regarded globally, particularly in the mining industry. Our machines are known for their robustness and ability to operate effectively in extreme environments. Many of our members have formed partnerships with European companies to access advanced technologies. The reliability of the machines we manufacture has been proven, and we are observing a growing preference for our products in markets like Latin America, where customers are willing to invest more for increased reliability. Our niche market approach, tailored to meet specific customer needs, is appreciated by clients who value the reliability, quality, and after-sales service we provide.

How does the South African government support the rise of South African-made equipment and machinery?

In terms of financial support, South African companies manufacturing equipment and machinery do not receive adequate assistance from the government. Most companies either rely on self-financing or seek support from international partners. While the government offers moral support and aims to promote exports, financial backing is limited. Access to capital, particularly for pre-shipment finance, remains a challenge in South Africa, hindering growth. However, the Department of Trade and Competition is actively promoting South African exports.

When competing internationally, South African companies face the challenge of competing with countries that have access to low-interest bank loans. Additionally, the prices and supply of steel, a vital raw material, pose challenges for manufacturers. However, we are hopeful that the high prices of metals will positively impact the South African economy, leading to a domino effect that benefits manufacturers.

How would you describe the overall health of the South African mining industry?

The South African mining industry is not experiencing the growth it should be, and there is a lack of new expansions and developments in greenfield projects. Various factors, such as the mining charter and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) regulations, have contributed to a decline in investment, leading to a slowdown in mining operations and production. In contrast, mining industries in other African countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, the DRC, and Ghana continue to grow, presenting opportunities. South African mining companies have found success in other regions, including Africa, Australia, South America, and Canada. We are also exploring opportunities in the expanding Russian market.

What are SACEEC’s priorities for 2021?

In 2021, our primary focus is to ensure our members have access to their customers despite the challenging times. We will be actively participating in events such as the DRC Mining Week and hosting our first local manufacturing expo in South Africa in November. Additionally, we will continue running our exporter of the year award to recognize the achievements of our members, even in the midst of a pandemic. SACEEC remains committed to promoting our members globally, whether through physical or virtual platforms.

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