Metals, Machinery, and Mining Equipment Industries in South Africa
Structural Transformation in South Africa
The metals, machinery, and mining equipment industries have been at the heart of South Africa's industrial ecosystem. Their central position is associated with the long-term importance of mining, with which there are extensive demand- and supply-side linkages. This chapter reviews key turning points in the development and restructuring of these value chains in post-apartheid South Africa, from 1994 to 2019. The overall record is of a basic steel industry that performed better in terms of value
... dded relative to the more diversified downstream industries, despite government industrial policy targeting more labour-intensive downstream industries. The downstream machinery and equipment industry struggled to compete with imports in the 2000s and 2010s and only partially engaged with digitalization. In explaining these developments the grand bargains struck by the state with the main company producing basic steel and the use of procurement as a demand-side industrial policy are critically examined. The chapter also provides micro-level evidence of the evolving relationships between mining houses; engineering, procurement, and construction management services companies; and input suppliers along the value chain. Overall, it is argued that the relatively poor performance of this industry grouping in South Africa has been due to power asymmetries along the value chains, upstream concentration, high levels of fragmentation in the domestic ecosystem, the lack of key institutional ingredients, and poor policy design. Lessons for resource-endowed middle-income countries are discussed, and policy challenges for upgrading and diversification are presented.