Perspective – November 2022


This is our last edition of the Stainless Steel magazine for 2022 and since it is November, it forces us to reflect on a year that seems to have flown by. It has certainly been busy, not only for Sassda’s staff and collaborators but also for our industry as it returns to yet another ‘new normal’ after COVID-19. This new normal has also seen a new set of challenges such as the conflict in Ukraine and the resultant turmoil in Europe and the uncertainty of energy supply on the local front.

At Sassda, our return to post-pandemic normality included “mothballed” activities such as physical training and meetings, but in general, we continued with our efforts to promote the use of stainless steel and to increase the tonnage that receives added value through local fabrication. We remained true to our mandate to fulfil these requirements with the end result of protecting current jobs and exploiting the potential for new job creation.

Vital networking

Sassda is not alone on this mission and our collaboration with other industry stakeholders such as Business Unity South Africa, the Manufacturing Circle, and others as part of the Steel Master Plan (SMP), is starting to pay dividends. Through strong lobbying Sassda has pushed local demand side opportunities to the fore at the highest levels of the SMP during 2022.

For example, research into the localisation of beer kegs has shown vast potential for manufacturing for local demand and also for export markets. We believe that some tangible results will start to show on the initiative during the next 12 months and can lead to the start of a whole new industry in our economy.

Research also confirmed that the cutlery and hollowware sectors have good potential for the use of stainless steel that will result in job creation, albeit that the tonnage of material used might not be as high. In light of this, Sassda is currently working on finding the synergies between potential government procurement and demand in the private sector through the major retailer organisations within our borders. Once again, part of the vision for the localisation of cutlery and hollowware will see boosted exports into Africa. As with the beer kegs, we trust to give you good progress reports through the course of 2023.

Training reaches new heights

As mentioned earlier, we also re-activated all our training products which had to be halted due to the rules of the pandemic. The take-up on our practical in-house courses as well as our Advanced Stainless Steel course was surprisingly high. We have exceeded our expectations by enrolling close to three times the historic number of students at this year’s presentation of the Advanced Course which included a Columbus mill visit. We presented our Fundamental Course five times during the past year with full attendance each time.

This good attendance at our formal courses as well as the high interest in our weekly webinars shows that there is a strong drive in our industry to learn more and to stay abreast of all things stainless steel. The Sassda promise to our members and industry for 2023 is clear: Sassda will continue to be the source of quality information and technical assistance in the future.

Enhanced communication

Sassda also learned lessons during the past year, and we will incorporate this into our thinking as we move into the new year. One of the important lessons was that the growth of our industry and economy is a team effort based on effective communication between all stakeholders so that all efforts can be focused on a national goal.

To this end, we have developed strong relationships with our peers, and we are looking forward to 2023 as a year of allowing the momentum gained in the Steel Master Plan boardroom to spill over into the fabrication sector to start to yield results on getting the South African steel industry on a growth path again.

Enjoy this final Stainless Steel magazine issue for 2022, have a peaceful and restful holiday period, and we will be back next year to support you in all things stainless.

Michel Basson
Sassda Executive Director