by Maurisha

Proudly South African has for 21 years sounded a clarion call to all the citizens of the nation to come together and join the pursuit of stimulating local procurement through influencing consumers to buy local and stimulate job creation within our country. It is through this shared passion of localisation that we as a campaign are honoured to announce that Macsteel, the steel giant that boasts over 100 years of being in the steel industry has joined the Buy Local movement as one of our newest members and has committed to help create jobs by driving localised steel use.  

With the unemployment rate in South Africa at a staggering rate of 32.7% and youth unemployment at an excess of 45.3%, meaning that 2 in 3 youths are unemployed, this calls for aggressive action. The numbers paint a dreary picture for the country and almost make it seem as if the nation does not have any hope to turn this discouraging situation around. However, true to the nature of South Africans, there is almost always a rainbow after a storm.  

Macsteel is the proverbial rainbow that exists within the steel sector. The company’s tagline “Pursuing Reinvention” rings especially true for two reinvented business units within the group Macsteel Express and Harvey Eco Tile – on their journey to enhance job creation by diversifying their product ranges and driving entrepreneurship through providing working capital and competitive steel prices, to boost businesses to grow and remain sustainable. 

“Since the establishment of Macsteel in 1904, the steel giant has proven itself to be a tried and trusted player in the steel industry, with a rich history of manufacturing, merchandising, and distributing steel and value-added steel products. Macsteel boasts a network of over 40 service centres, branches, and warehouses and a whopping workforce of almost 3000 people, Macsteel walks the talk in creating jobs for communities within Southern Africa. Macsteel also currently sources 85% of its steel products locally and has all its production done locally,” says Mike Benfield, CEO of Macsteel. 

This of course, is great news considering that the steel sector represents 1.5% of the country’s GDP and that iron and steel is one of our country’s top ten exports. South Africa’s investment promotion agency Invest SA says that in 2022 South Africa exported iron and steel to the value of US $6.58 billion. For every 1 000 tons of steel produced locally, it adds R9.2million to the GDP; provides three jobs directly and three indirectly; enables domestic procurement spend of R5.3 million, of which half a million rands is spent with SMMEs; and gives rise to products that contribute to industrialisation. This gives us a clearer picture of the importance our iron and steel sector within the context of job creation and potential alleviation of poverty and unemployment in our country.  

Said Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly SA, “We are proud of the commitment Macsteel has made to the localisation movement and to helping combat the rife unemployment that takes away the dignity of our people, perpetuating social ills in our communities and pushing youth into dangerous lifestyles of crime and drug use. We urge other businesses to follow in their footsteps and to ringfence substantial amounts of their budget for local products only. That is how we can make a change in our economic landscape. It takes a communal effort to effect change within our society, and as role players of our country’s economy, not one of us can afford to not make an effort to turn the tide on our country’s unemployment challenges. We simply have no choice but to buy local to create jobs, concludes Mashimbye.”

For more information on Proudly South African, visit www.proudlysa.co.za

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