Cement is another South African industry hit by predatory imports. Cement producers have long complained about unfair competition from imports, and have applied to the government for tariff protection.
Leading cement producer PPC estimates that imports account for about 10% of cement sales in South Africa.
PPC South Africa and Botswana managing director Njombo Lekula told the Citizen newspaper that imports were the equivalent of a full cement factory employing almost 400 people directly and “a couple of thousand” indirectly.
“That is the impact of imports into our space and the country. Imports threaten the financial sustainability of a vital component of the manufacturing and construction sector, and erode the industry’s ability to maintain employment,” he said.
The industry is struggling at the moment because, instead of seeing the expected benefits of the government’s infrastructure programme, there has been no meaningful uplift in cement sales volumes. In addition, the national roads agency Sanral has cancelled infrastructure tenders worth R17.4 billion.