Members of the South African Iron and Steel Institute (SAISI) have come out in full support of the proposed six-month ban on the export of scrap metal from South Africa.
SAISI members include ArcelorMittal South Africa, Cape Gate, Columbus Stainless, Force Steel, Scaw Metals, SA Steel Mills and Unica Iron and Steel.
The temporary ban has been proposed by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) as part of a broader three-phase intervention to tackle high levels of metals theft, which is estimated to be costing the economy about R187-billion yearly.
The proposal is for the phased implementation of several measures.
In the first phase, the government is seeking to establish an inter-departmental Metal Trade Task Force. It has also proposed a permit system for exporting semi-finished goods and non-ferrous metal products and importing furnaces or other machines capable of transforming metal and disguising its origin.
Among the proposals in the second phase is for a permit system to be applied to scrap exports, an enhanced registration regime, and restrictions on who can sell copper scrap and semi-finished copper products.
Phase three will seek to prohibit the use of cash in scrap metal transactions while also allowing for the blacklisting of offenders.
Trade, industry and competition minister, Ebrahim Patel told lawmakers the temporary prohibition on exports of waste and scrap metal, and the creation of a permit system for the export of semi-finished metal, would lead to a material reduction in the theft of metal from the country's infrastructure as it will ‘eliminate or reduce one of the avenues for monetising stolen metal, that is its exportation’.
Patel also denied that the export prohibition would have a significant negative impact on legitimate local upstream collectors and recyclers as the volumes of waste and scrap that are currently legally exported can be sold locally.
“The temporary, two-month, prohibition on the export of scrap in 2020 did not cause serious harm.”Ebrahim Patel, trade, industry and competition minister
“The temporary, two-month, prohibition on the export of scrap in 2020 did not cause serious harm.”
SAISI agrees, arguing that the proposed intervention should ‘lead to a material reduction in the theft of metal from the country’s infrastructure’.
“These interventions will divert significant volumes of scrap metal to the local market, leading to lower prices, which will likely disincentivise theft and vandalism of infrastructure.”Charles Dednam, SAISI secretary-general
“These interventions will divert significant volumes of scrap metal to the local market, leading to lower prices, which will likely disincentivise theft and vandalism of infrastructure,” SAISI secretary-general Charles Dednam stated.