South Africa

Saldanha Bay task team formed to mitigate effects of ArcelorMittal plant closure

Saldanha Bay task team formed to mitigate effects of ArcelorMittal plant closure
Cape Town - Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has formed a task team to mitigate the impact of the expected closure of the ArcelorMittal SA (AMSA) plant in Saldanha Bay.

The stated aim of the task team is to ensure all stakeholders that have invested in Saldanha Bay and the West Coast region are in frequent contact to minimise the impact of the possible closure of the steel plant, support workers who might be affected, and continue to drive the growth of the economy of the region and create jobs.

Saldanha Bay Mayor Marius Koen said the team was “actively working on identifying possible buyers of the AMSA plant and supporting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in encouraging AMSA to consider these, and other options, for the plant”.

The team, which includes officials of Saldanha Bay municipality, the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) and Wesgro, was also set to “look at measures to make sure that the workers and businesses who may be affected by the possible closure have access to the necessary information and support to help them adjust and transition quickly to new jobs or economic opportunities, and accelerate efforts to attract investors to the SBIDZ and into the wider municipality”.

Koen added: “We are really pleased that the construction of the facility of a local investor, West Coast Corrosion Protection, began in earnest this past month.

“Based in White City in Saldanha Bay, the workshop will see West Coast Corrosion Protection (WCCP) nearly double their workforce, as they position themselves to grow their already established business with the support of the SBIDZ and the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Fund in the SEZ Programme.”

A local firm in the corrosion-protection and support services industry, WCCP services a range of vessels at a number of South Africa ports.

“Next year, construction on two more tenant buildings at the SBIDZ will begin,” Koen said.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the province has urged the provincial government to include national departments, especially the DTI and Department of Small Business Development, in the task team.

ANC spokesperson on finance and economic opportunities, Nomi Nkondlo, said: “It is within this context that we call for placing ArcelorMittal under business rescue if such option is still feasible, including placing these operations in the market to find local buyers to continue and turn around the business.

“Such could be opportune for small and medium-sized South African enterprises to participate in the steel industry to improve transformation and the competitiveness of our economy.”

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Cape Argus