Peter Bruce Editor-at-large & columnist

Trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel’s drive to “localise” more manufacturing in SA is having some predictable consequences. Battle-weary local manufacturers are lining up outside his office for protection.

From imports, that is. And the minister is there to help. Hulamin got its break in the last days of 2020 when its plea for import duties on coil imports were gazetted. Scaw Metals got the steel scrap regulations it asked for. In August 2020, Arcelor Mittal SA (Amsa) secured another year’s renewal of an 8% “safeguard” duty on imports of hot-rolled coil. This while it had actually shut down all its blast furnaces because of the lockdowns. Amsa has just reported a small profit for last year, meaning it made money because it didn’t make any steel...

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