Numsa warns of backlash on industries’ reliance in importing foreign artisans

June 26, 2007

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has strongly warned of a backlash on overseas recruitment drive for 60 000 artisans while most industries continue to frustrate local artisan training programmes.

It is not surprising that massive construction and engineering projects are to generate benefits with the industry making frantic moves for 60 000 overseas artisans to be brought into the country instead of dealing with critical skills shortage through accelerated skills development programmes.

An important priority for us at this time when massive projects amounting to over R24 billions throughout the country are steaming ahead with significant progress in preparations for the 2010 soccer games, is to develop human resources in order to effectively tackle brain drain.

For example technical artisans are reported to be in short supply with most businesses increasing artisans’ wages up to R30 000 a month in an effort to retain the few skilled employees.

South Africa as the world’s largest ferrochrome producer is fast approaching a crisis, but most businesses are dilly dallying with developing especially black trained and experienced artisan assistants, with only Tata Steel among a few others taking training initiatives of its own artisans.

“We would be far ahead in dealing with artisan skills shortage crisis if most companies took the initiative taken by new Indian-based Tata Steel,” Malebo Mogopodi, Numsa national training co-coordinator has said.

Tata is employing and training young unemployed township matriculants for fitter, boiler- making and process operators training courses,

Creating a new local pool of artisans will address, in turn the large percentage of unemployment in the country.

Government should have long entered into partnerships with industry institutions in making training accessible to tens of thousands of unemployed youths, instead of helping construction companies to bring 13 000 overseas artisans to the country.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

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