The designation of power pylons as local content under government’s preferential procurement rules would create an estimated 1 500 new jobs, Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) industry development executive Kobus deBeer told Engineering News.
Under Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) regulations, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) could stipulate sectors and products that departments, agencies and State-owned enterprises had to procure from local manufacturers, or providers.
Besides power pylons, the ‘first wave’ of designated products also included rolling stock, buses, canned vegetables, clothing, textiles, footwear and leather products and set-top boxes.
Further designated products would follow this year.
De Beer said SAISC submitted an application and motivation to the DTI for power pylons to be given ‘designated’ status, as imports were hurting the local industry.
SAISC calculated that the new procurement requirements would result in between 1 200 and 1 500 full-time jobs being created. These jobs represent a variety of skills, including, among others, boilermakers, welders, electricians, millwrights, drilling operators, cropping machine operators, plasma cutters, cutting torch operators, slingers, forklift drivers, galvanizing plant operators, crane drivers, handlers and truck drivers, as well as various services such as security, dispatching and cleaning.
“Many further skills are required for the building of the power lines, as well as the fitting of ancillary equipment,” he noted.
De Beer added that the designated sectors under the PPPFA were not intended to take the place of the various other government efforts to encourage local procurement and supplier development strategies, but rather to support these.
The designation also set out specific recommendations for ensuring competition among domestic producers and value for money for the State.
“It is important that producers continue to strive for competitiveness to encourage all clients investing in infrastructure to create decent local jobs through local procurement,” De Beer said.