The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) on Thursday night paid homage to companies in the Annual Metals and Engineering Sector Awards for Excellence Event in Randburg. This year SEIFSA partnered with the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA), to celebrate the excellence of the local mining equipment manufacturing sector.
SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini, with the help of holographic technology, welcomed guests to the ceremony, saying, “We believed that, notwithstanding the many challenges faced by the sector, there are companies within the metals and engineering (M&E) sector that are doing fantastic, innovative work that must be recognised and celebrated. Companies in the sector have demonstrated that they are capable of innovating, and fostering good relations with their employees, suppliers, customers and the communities around their operations. SEIFSA is not only honoured to be associated with each and every entry but, more importantly, privileged to recognise and acknowledge excellence.”
MEMSA CEO Lehlohonolo Amos Molloyi said he was happy to join SEIFSA in celebrating excellence, adding: “While most of our members form part of the steel value chain, their products and services are specifically aimed at meeting the needs of the mining industry, with its own unique and complex requirements. MEMSA are thankful to SEIFSA for allowing us to share the stage with the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence this year, we regard this event as an excellent context for the launch of our awards.
“The SA mining equipment industry is well respected for its technological and innovation advancement; however, the pandemic and lockdowns presented a test to our ingenuity and resilience. It is in the midst of these challenges that we witnessed some excellence in innovation, structuring of work and manufacturing processes, and we are proud to report that not one MEMSA member company, which was actively manufacturing for the mining industry, permanently closed its doors during or since the pandemic.”
Kobus de Beer was awarded the Lifetime Contribution to the Industry Award. He is the current Chairman of International Steel Fabricators of South Africa and the Structural Steel Export Cluster and a Commissioner on the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa. SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini mentioned his “incredible career and invaluable contribution to the metals and engineering industry” when announcing the award.
De Beer expressed surprise that he had been recognised, adding: “Thank you to SEIFSA and MEMSA. I am very impressed with all the enthusiasm I have seen tonight, and I see huge potential for the future.”
Michelle Austin, the group financial director at Keegor South Africa, was named Business Woman of the Year. Trentini made mention of Austin’s appreciation for diversity when presenting her award. “Michele has come to realise that diversity inside and outside of the boardroom brings differing perspectives, opinions and insights; and makes for better decision making.”
Austin said she felt very privileged to receive the award. “What we have focused on over the past few years is employee engagement and we have realised that this has helped us achieve what we have.”
The pandemic has brought a new appreciation for resilience in business and Vesconite Bearings showed it had the grit and determination to withstand the enormous challenges it brought, winning the Business Resilience of the Year in Responding to Covid-19 Award.
Vesconite CEO Dr Jean-Patrick Leger said: “Pandemics are actually normal, what is not normal is that there was about 100 years since the last one. It will happen again, so let’s be prepared for the next one.”
Keegor also received the Workplace Health and Safety Award, which was sponsored by Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA). The company has displayed a commitment to health and safety, with not one Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) contravention since COO Marno Jacobs was appointed in 2019.
Jacobs said: “When I started at Keegor I noticed that the leadership team was very engaged with health and safety, and this helped a lot. We know that our biggest asset is our employees, so we invest a lot in training and ensuring they are kept safe, as one injury is too many.”
The MEMSA Member Manufacturer of the Year Award to recognise excellence in local mining equipment manufacturer was awarded to Bell Equipment.
Bell Equipment director Bruce Ndela accepted the award and thanked MEMSA for “recognising the achievements of Bell over the years”.
The pandemic left so much loss in its wake, and the industry lost many people to Covid-19. For the first time in the history of the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence an in-memoriam section was included to remember those who passed away.
Other awards that were presented at the ceremony include:
- Best Customer Service Award: Macsteel
- Most Transformed Company of the Year: Pamodzi Engineering.
- Environment Stewardship Award: MSC Technical.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Electrolux South Africa
- Young Entrepreneur of the year Award: Caleisle Ngwenya, the director at CeeWay Engineering.
- Industry Apprenticeship Award: ArcelorMittal.
Other awards presented by MEMSA include:
- Customised Customer Service: ProProcess Engineering
- Localised Supply Chain: Buraaq Mining Services and Rham Equipment
- Manufacturing Solutions: NTGR Engineering Projects
Trentini also acknowledged the SEIFSA Sponsored Graduate Class of 2021, as well as Bursar of the Year, Karina Sewsunker, who is completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
SEIFSA is a national federation representing 18 independent employer associations in the metal and engineering industries, with a combined membership of over 1 200 companies employing over 170 000 employees. The federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.