Sphere Holdings (Sphere), the established black-controlled investment company, is latest top company to throw its weight behind Southern Africa’s manufacturing sector by sponsoring the inaugural two-day, Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba.  

New Sphere Executive Chairman Jabu Mabuza said, “The reasons to invest in SA’s manufacturing and industrial capacity are there. Africa and South Africa have massive infrastructure needs. The region’s economy is growing and it is urbanizing fast. Someone will supply Africa’s economic hardware, the rail, the ports, the power, the city infrastructure and meet our states, citizens and business’s needs. We think South African industry can do this. But everyone who is committed to SA’s industrial success needs to work together. We need to meet and agree on what do about electricity, about regulations, about meaningful transformation, about supporting our industries, about skills, about financing and about making the real changes that will turn South Africa into an industrial champion. This is why we are sponsoring the Metals and Engineering Indaba; because we are excited about contributing to these conversations, and because we mean to do business.”

Sphere is an established black-controlled and managed investment holding company with a diversified portfolio of successful companies focused on industrial and business servicing the rail, power, and manufacturing sectors though its diverse holdings which include Babcock (engineering), Babcock Target (crane and plant hire), Honeywell (automation and control systems), Pandrol (rail fastenings) and Greif (industrial packaging) amongst others.  

Organized and hosted by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), the Indaba brings business, government, labour and civil society together to hammer out a better future for Southern Africa’s metals and engineering sector.

SEIFSA Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said he was very pleased to see captains of industry come out in full support of the Indaba, a conference that will become a major feature on the calendar of the steel and engineering sector in the Southern African Development Community.

“It is very important that businesses operating in the manufacturing sector come together with policy makers and labour representatives to engage and provide solutions that would help our sector rise out of the current doldrums and prosper,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

Sphere CEO, Itumeleng Kgaboesele said: “South African industry needs private sector investment as much as it needs State and SOE support. With the right partnerships between investors and business, and between business, SOEs and the state we can create an exciting and competitive industrial economy. Because Sphere believes in this future, we are investing in industrial, manufacturing and business services and look forward to meeting more players in these sectors.”

Other sponsors of the Indaba include the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council, merSeta and Arcelormittal.

The Indaba, to take place, at Emperor’s Palace will bring together business owners, trade unionists and policymakers from across the Southern African Development Community to deliberate on turnaround strategies.

Among the key focus areas of the inaugural conference will be an update on and concrete plans related the Government’s ambitious National Development Plan.

The list of the Indaba speakers and panelists include Ministers Rob Davies and Mildred Oliphant, NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim; Business Leadership South Africa Chairman Bobby Godsell; South African Institute of International Affairs Deputy Chairman Moeletsi Mbeki and Pan African Capital Holdings Chief Executive Officer Dr Iraj Abedian.