In mid-January we saw reports of the ‘killing’ of the solar water-heater industry, resulting from the DTI’s insistence on 70% local content in the collector tubes and tanks used in the manufacture and installation of solar hot water systems. At risk is the mass provision of such systems and thousands of jobs in manufacturing and installation. Also relevant is the loss of savings in electricity in these days of load shedding.
Today,11 Feb, we see news that the DTI has again thrown a spanner in the works, this time with respect to what prices the mining industry may charge for their products. This is to provide cheaper materials for local beneficiation and manufacturing. The DTI appears to have pressured the Dept of Mineral Resources to change the language of the ” Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill”. This bit of news was let out of the bag at the Mining Indaba yesterday.
If one examines what is happening to mining and manufacturing in South Africa these days, one may see that production and profit levels are a bit strained. Labour legislation, industrial relations issues, world markets and political ideology uncertainty are contributing to a climate that discourages job creation and direct foreign investment. These two examples of the DTI’s doings creates an impression, a perception, that the people heading the DTI maybe do not understand enough.