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The Art of the Possible - Sustaining Local Manufacture and Transformation
A cluster of South African OEMs and smaller manufacturers in the mining supply chain are proving that resilient management can sustain technical excellence and empowerment through stormy times. Outreach and collaboration are key to (re)building a manufacturing industry ready for further change and growth.
There is no denying the challenges currently faced by South African manufacturers, as highlighted by SEIFSA’s recent State of the Metals and Engineering Industry report. Lockdowns, border closures, steel shortages, and other market and supply chain disruptions demanded unprecedented agility over the past year.
Nevertheless the manufacturers that are part of the MEMSA industry cluster have continued manufacturing and supplying quality mining equipment to local mines as well as export markets. Further creativity is required as the focus shifts to Recovery and Reconstruction, and a partnership approach is more crucial than ever. In the coming year, the cluster will be working to deepen its collaboration with a range of private and public sector partners, in SA and the continent.
Technology and IP are at the core of the industry, and the range of mining technology designed and manufactured locally is showcased on the recently-launched Mining Technology Availability and Readiness Atlas (TARA), an online platform developed by the Mandela Mining Precinct. The platform aims to bring greater awareness on local mining technology to SA and international markets, as well as the mining RDI community linked to the Precinct.
With high levels of local content and significant achievement in the area of transformation, the impacts of MEMSA’s members extend well beyond what they supply to SA’s mines. Mining Charter III set the bar of B-BBEE Level 4 and 25%+1 HDI ownership. By the end of 2020, 85% of the cluster’s 35 members had met both these targets, with more than half achieving 51% or higher black ownership.
Looking ahead, MEMSA recognises that successfully navigating the digital transition in mining is key to manufacturers’ sustainability and success, and is offering a series of free webinars entitled ‘Unpacking 4IR’ in collaboration with the Real Time Information Management Systems (RTIMS) programme at the Mandela Mining Precinct. The webinars aim to bring South African mining equipment manufacturers up to speed on the basic and more sophisticated concepts needed to engage meaningfully with 4IR in mining and manufacture.