Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Darren Bergman MP.
On the 15th of May 2023, a notice was issued in the Government Gazette by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, calling for comments on extending the ban on the trade of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metals. Such an extension would also allow the Department to use this time to move into phase 2 of its project – a digital transformation of the waste and scrap metal industry with the intent to amplify compliance and automation.
Tuesday, the DA questioned the ITAC in a portfolio committee meeting, suggesting that the basis on which they were using their information was agreeing that crime was not necessarily down due to the measures taken by this ban. However, what could be conclusively proven was that trade was negatively affected and that it took its toll on the overall GDP of this country at a time when our country could ill-afford to introduce any more counter-productive measures on exports with our current self-sabotaging efforts of load shedding, being greylisted and the recently unravelled Russiagate scandal.
The DA has maintained its stance against the ban in the past. We see this as a diversionary tactic by the government, a veiled attempt to shift blame onto the business sector for its own shortcomings in combatting crime and corruption, and the lack of innovative solutions to safeguard our copper cables and infrastructure.
In Tuesday’s discourse with ITAC, it was conceded that the feedback received on the ban so far has been elusive and hard to decipher. While Transnet reports a decline in criminal activity, as a result of their own increased security measures, our municipalities have not observed a similar decrease in theft or damage to their infrastructure.
With Tuesday’s meeting and the short period allowed for comment from the public and the businesses involved, the DA will be calling for an extension in the commenting period; making a comprehensive submission that would benefit the economy of our country and put the responsibility of fighting crime and corruption on the shoulders of government. We will voice our disapproval of the ban extension but lend our support to the second phase of the project.