Wednesday 01 July 2020; The South African cement industry, represented by The Concrete Institute (TCI), welcomes the outcomes of the much-anticipated Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDS) that took place last week. The symposium was convened by Dr Ramokgopa Kgosientso, Head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency. TCI welcomes the support of President Ramaphosa and the recognition that infrastructure build is of critical importance to South Africa’s economic recovery. Of importance, SIDS has prioritised cement-intensive network industries such as energy, water and transport, particularly given their multiplier and job-generative effects. In addition, TCI is encouraged by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille’s comments that, “infrastructure is key to growing and building our country in every sense.”
TCI MD, Bryan Perrie, comments, “While we are highly-encouraged by the SIDS and look forward to partnering with government, the time is now ripe to turn words and policies into actionable and investable projects as identified in the SIDS’ ‘new infrastructure pipeline’. The South African cement sector is absolutely ready, willing and able to meet the infrastructure and build requirements of the SIDS.”
Perrie notes that South African cement is of the highest certified quality and has been used to build the modern infrastructure of our economy. Schools, hospitals, airports, roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, such as the Gautrain, have all been built on world class, high-quality certified South African cement. Many key economic sectors ranging from mining to agriculture are dependent on high-quality cement.
Perrie adds, “In addition to the high-quality and certified nature of South African cement, local companies are major employers, significant tax payers, BEE complaint and contribute significantly to local economic development.”
The South African cement sector faces an existential threat, however, from the vast quantities of cheap cement imported offloaded into our ports every month.
Perrie comments, “TCI members have the capacity to produce all of the country’s cement requirements and to do so responsibly, sustainably and in a fully compliant manner. But unless these infrastructure projects make use of our certified South African cement of proven quality, rather than cheap imported cement, the sector will remain under threat. The decline of the local cement sector would lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, B-BBEE investment and considerable tax payments to the fiscus. In other words, the use of South African cement is key to the success of the SIDS,but is also vital to the broader South African economy.”
“The State President, the Minister of Trade and Industry, as well as the Minister of Public Enterprises have all affirmed the importance of buying local in order to restart the post-Covid economic recovery in South Africa. We now need to put these words into action by ensuring that locally-produced, high quality, certified and fully-compliant cement is utlised in this massive infrastructure build programme. A failure to do so would constitute a terminal blow to the South African cement industry and its extensive value chain.”