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Manufacturing Indaba 2015 “surpassed all expectations”

Although only the event’s second instalment; the 2015 Manufacturing Indaba, held on the 29th and 30th June at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni, surpassed all expectations.

The number of attendees this year almost doubled compared to last year’s 240 delegates. According to Liz Hart, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Indaba, the role of Partners, through an active Steering Committee and sponsors was critical in catapulting the event to success. 

“This kind of success for such a new event is unheard of. We are incredibly proud of the growth of this year’s Manufacturing Indaba, which was built on the firm foundation of last year’s inaugural event. We have worked very hard with our partners in government to bring the nation’s manufacturers an event which is a bridge between various manufacturing role players so that we can facilitate job creation and the growth of South Africa’s manufacturing sector,” said Hart.

“The massive growth in both private sector attendance and greater support from a number of government departments and entities in addition to our original partners at Ekhuruleni is demonstrative of at least three key facts. Firstly, the Manufacturing Indaba is now the premier annual conference on manufacturing in South Africa. Secondly, recognition of the importance and support for the resilience and growth of the sector are to be found in numerous quarters outside the sector in both business and government. Finally, the dti is on the mark with its support for the manufacturing sector and that other government departments are starting to recognise this,” said Coenraad Bezuidenhout, Executive Director of the Manufacturing Circle.

With strategic partnerships with the dti, the City of Ekurhuleni and the Manufacturing Circle and partnerships with Deloitte, NCPC-SA, the Department of Science & Technology and the Department of Public Enterprises, the Manufacturing Indaba played a pivotal role in bringing together the highest calibre of public and private sector executives to debate and deliberate the future of South Africa’s manufacturing industries. The Manufacturing Indaba Exhibition ran concurrently to the conference and was open to the public to visit and view.

Those from government who are responsible for the economic policies that pertain to manufacturing were present in large numbers including the dti Minister, Dr Rob Davies and the dti Deputy Minister, Mr Mzwandile Masina. The dti Director General Mr Lionel October moderated a session with international speakers who are all experts in the field of manufacturing. As representatives of the host City of Ekurhuleni, the Mayor of the city, Cllr Mondli Gungubele addressed delegates and the dti Deputy Director, Mr Garth Strachan, who is responsible for the country’s Industrial Development Policy also delivered his insights. Members of government from the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) as well as industry CEOs and executives were there taking part in the high-level workshops and plenary sessions.

A press conference was held with Dr Rob Davies and Cllr Mondli Gungubele with the Chairman of the Manufacturing Circle, Bruce Strong, jointly answering questions from the large media contingent.

Speaking at the closing keynote address of the fully packed Indaba, Premier David Makhura told delegates and the media, “Next year we want to be a full partner of the Manufacturing Indaba and work closely with key manufacturers because we have a vision of transformation, modernisation and revitalisation of our economy, and manufacturing is at the heart of this vision.”

The Gauteng provincial government is hard at work to ensure the revitalisation and re-industrialisation of South Africa’s manufacturing sectors, which have declined from contributing 27% of the nation’s GDP to 19%.

The announcement comes as the Premier spoke of the importance of working together with the private sector in the manufacturing industry. “We remain committed to work closely with the private sector in our province especially with those in the manufacturing sector, but also to focus them on Africa,” he said.

“We are the critical manufacturing centre for sub-Saharan Africa. If we don’t ensure that Gauteng’s economy pumps, we will undermine South Africa’s position in the continent,” said Makhura.

Robust debate and discussion were the order of the day at the event with delegates from government departments, the private sector, manufacturing industries and the broader African continent debating the role of government policy in boosting South Africa’s manufacturing industries. Speakers included City of Ekurhuleni management, senior macro-economists, dti specialists, global mining managers and manufacturing business experts.

This year’s Manufacturing Indaba achieved the following numbers:

  • 486 conference delegates
  • 68 conference speakers
  • 74 exhibitors
  • 1,216 exhibition visitors
  • 34 media houses present
  • Total AVE value across all media platforms: AVE value: R 10m
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