Scrap metal industry faces a ban in an effort to fight metal theft

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The South African Government has published policy proposals for public comment on measures to address scrap metal theft. This is in a bid to combat widespread theft and vandalism of public infrastructure.

CEO of XA International trade advisors Donald Mackay, weighs in on how the ban may affect the industry.

 Government drafts policy on ban of export of metal scrap

According to the government, research by the Trade and Industry Department has found that the economic cost of copper theft alone is estimated to be more than R45 billion annually.

The Trade department says the theft of copper cables, railway tracks and other metals negatively affects power supplies and freight rail services, leading to Eskom and Transnet being unable to operate at full capacity.

6 months trade ban

Government has among others proposed a six-month ban on the export of scrap metal in a bid to combat theft and vandalism of public infrastructure.

The county’s borders have been cited as not adequately equipped to prevent the export of stolen scrap and semi-finished metal products.

The public will have 21 days to give input on the proposals that come in three phases. Phase 1 will be a 6-month temporary ban.

The Department says, “Phase 2 will see the introduction of a permit system and phase 3 being the potential amendments to legislation which will amongst others see the blacklisting of scrap metal offenders. This move also forms part of commitments by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his 2022 SONA on decisive steps that will be taken in the country to address damage to infrastructure and the negative impact on the country’s economy.”