In January, economist Dr Roelof Botha published a refreshingly optimistic article about the resilience of the South African manufacturing sector. To be fair, to manufacture anything in South Africa, you must be resilient. The ability to recover from setbacks is an essential part of life in a country beset by power cuts, crime, corruption, impotent leadership, inflation, you name it. In this issue of Manufacturing, we look at research that shows resilience is actually a great predictor of future success, but it requires leadership that is conscious of how their responses to crises affect others. That sort of consciousness is at the heart of the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, which aims to mitigate the negative impacts of the switch to renewables on communities dependent on the fossil fuel value chain. Nowhere is that more important than in Mpumalanga, the coal-mining and -burning heart of the country, so we explore the province’s options moving forward.
Energy is a burning topic for all businesses, which are feeling the pain not just of load shedding, but also of soaring electricity tariffs, the effects of which we examine. We also look at how enterprise resource planning systems can help to manage power cuts while maintaining operational efficiency. Technological innovations continue with our probe of the impact of fourth industrial revolution technologies on local manufacturers, particularly in the automotive sector, where we’re also seeing new investments in our special economic zones.
Finally, you can’t manufacture anything without food on the table, so we look at what food producers are doing to keep the lights on when the lights go out.