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Sassda’s  involvement in Steel Master Plan drives several projects

By Sassda executive director Michel Basson

The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) is one of the most active stainless steel industry associations in the world and has, since 1964, been involved in increasing the awareness and use of stainless steel in Southern Africa. 

The association provides a platform for Sassda members and the South African stainless steel sector to collectively promote the sustainable growth and development of the industry with the main emphasis on stainless steel converted within the South African economy. 

This year sees the 60th anniversary of the Association and the South African stainless steel industry.

It is important to ensure that any initiative for growth will be sustainable in order to be of any future value. Stainless steel can be described for many reasons as a “green” engineering material. 

It is 100% recyclable and has a global recycling rate of 96% – even higher than that of plastics. Using stainless steel can therefore contribute to a sustainable future for all. Complete sustainability can only be achieved if there is economic, social, and environmental sustainability. 

It was therefore important for the South African stainless steel sector to become involved with the Steel Master Plan since the research into such a plan started. 

Sassda supports this initiative, but also accepted that the plan would not be without stumbling blocks and problems since it would be the first time that industry would interact at such a broad front with the government on an industry growth program.

 It was also accepted that industry and government would make mistakes as the process rolls out and that these mistakes should then be regarded as learning opportunities to be addressed in process. 

 Through Sassda’s involvement in the Steel Master Plan as official voice of industry the following projects flowed from the plan:

o Beer kegs: The local production of stainless steel beer kegs is an opportunity to develop a new local industry to address the fact that all beer kegs used by the major as well as craft brewing industries are being imported. This will contribute to job creation and the increased used of locally produced material.

o Hollowware: Sassda is working with members and the retail sector to localise 10 000 tons of stainless steel hollowware such as pots, pans, cooking utensils and cutlery that is imported yearly into South Africa. The aim is to revive a local industry that has dwindled over the past 15 years due to the import of dumped product and sub-standard items.

o Structural profiles: It is strategised to get the utility grade stainless steel 3CR12 included in the national standards for electrical transmission towers and rural bridges. This and the requirement for government procurement from local suppliers can drive the requirement for general structural profiles in 3CR12. This will open further markets for structural profiles and possibly even exports. Whereas kegs and hollowware can be regarded as job creators, structural use will be tonnage generators.

These initiatives are still moving forward albeit at a slow pace. Sassda believes that the resilience and tenacity of the industry will eventually see these projects to success and that stainless steel will in future continue to show itself to be simply brilliant.

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