Restrictions on scrap exports

Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes new government plans to curb the export of scrap metal which could be better used in South Africa to help manufacturing industries and create jobs.

In terms of the proposed new regulations, there will be a ban on cash payments for scrap and all scrap metal that has been approved for export will be funnelled through the Port Elizabeth harbour where it will be easier to monitor and control. The chamber has been campaigning for years to restrict scrap exports and we are delighted that some of our suggestions are to be implemented.

In a letter to the International Trade Administration Commission of SA, the chamber welcomed the ban on cash payments for scrap metal and the insistence on the use of bank transfers as the method of payment. This will create a record of transactions and make it easier “to follow the money” in cases where the scrap may have been stolen or otherwise illegally obtained.

It will also bring the small scrap-metal traders into the formal sector and subject them to normal business disciplines and the payment of taxes.

In the past the chamber has recommended a ban on the export of scrap or a tax on these exports, a measure successfully used by many other countries.

The proposal to make Port Elizabeth the only harbour that may be used for scrap exports, is a reasonable alternative to an outright ban.

There will probably be complaints about inconvenience and extra transport costs but there will also be gains from using a quieter harbour where everyone understands the correct procedures.

We hope the new proposals are adopted and that copper theft will decrease. This is a crime that has done massive damage to our economy and productivity has suffered while jobs have been lost.

We believe that genuine copper scrap can be better used in South Africa to make products like solar water heaters and create jobs both in factories and for installers in many towns and cities throughout the country.