For the very first time in its 72-year history, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) has elected a woman as its President and Chairperson of its Board of Directors.
Transman founder and Chief Executive Officer Ms Angela Dick made history when she was elected President of SEIFSA at the organisation’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Friday, 9 October 2015. She replaces Scaw Metals Group Executive Chairman Mr Ufikile Khumalo, who was at the helm of the SEIFSA Board for two years.
Commenting on her appointment, the deeply appreciative Ms Dick – who is also the Vice President of the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector, a Director of Business Unity South Africa and for seven years Chairman of its Trade Policy Committee – said: “I am truly humbled that a giant such as SEIFSA would consider and ultimately appoint me to this important position. It is a task that I accept and will embrace wholeheartedly.”
Although Ms Dick acknowledges that the road ahead will not be easy given the challenges currently facing the metals and engineering sector, she is adamant that as long as the Government, labour and business work together, there is hope that the fortunes of the sector can be turned around.
“The road ahead is certainly going to be a very challenging one, but the key is not to give up. We must work together with all the stakeholders within the sector to find solutions that will ensure growth and sustainability of the sector,” Ms Dick said.
SEIFSA Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba welcomed Ms Dick’s election and thanked Mr Khumalo for his “excellent service to the Federation and the sector”.
“Ms Dick is a very accomplished business leader who will certainly make a major contribution to the industry in her new capacity as President. SEIFSA will benefit immensely from her enormous experience and her wealth of contacts in various business sectors. My colleagues and I look forward to working with her.”
“In the same breath, I would like to thank Mr Khumalo for his excellent leadership of the Federation during his presidency,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Ms Dick’s Vice Presidents are Babcock International Company Secretary Mr Neil Penson and Macsteel Services Centres Chief Executive Officer Mr Hannes van der Walt. Other board members are of Zimco Aluminium Company Sales and Marketing Director Mr Bob Stone, ABB South Africa CEO Mr Leon Viljoen, Scamont Engineering Director Mr Ross Williams and Southey Holdings Technical Director Mr Ben Garrad.
Meanwhile SEIFSA outgoing president Ufikile Khumalo has cautioned that downscaling by South African primary steel producers was “unavoidable” despite recent protection measures.
Khumalo is also chairperson of Scaw Metals, which confirmed in August that it was considering a restructuring programme that could impact as many as 1 000 of its employees.
South Africa’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa is also likely to retrench workers at its Vereeniging facility and was reviewing prospects for its Vanderbijlpark Works.
Delivering his presidential address in Johannesburg, Khumalo said protection measures already approved, or in the pipeline, for the basic steel industry would help, “but these will not be enough”.
“Primary steel producers are in such distress that short-term downscaling is unavoidable. South African production costs are higher than the lowest cost quartile of producers in the world, who are simply overrunning our market.”
Domestic producers have been particularly vocal about the rise in “subsidised” steel imports from China, where there was significant overproduction in light of the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) had imposed 10% duties on zinc-coated steel, aluminium-zinc coated steel and colour-coated steel and was fast-tracking several other applications for other steel grades. Steel producers were also considering submitting applications for anti-dumping protection to Itac. Government had indicated that it would support greater protection for the domestic steel sector, but said its support would be conditional on it receiving employment, investment and pricing commitments from the steel producers.