The Western Cape Government says that they are devastated by the news, announced today by ArcelorMittal South Africa, that the steel works plant in Saldanha will be wound down and put into a state of care and maintenance.
We have been in regular contact with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, the Chief Operations Officer of ArcelorMittal South Africa, Jake Olivier, and the General Manager, Juan Pedro Jimenez Navarro, of the steel works plant since the mid-year announcement of a possible restructuring of the company to try and prevent the closure of the steel works plant in Saldanha.
We have urged national government to assist the company by reducing electricity and freight costs, by exploring alternative energy sources, and by including the company in the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. We have also provided water tariff relief via the Saldanha Bay Municipality to assist the company to reduce costs at the steel works plant in Saldanha.
However, in the end this does not appear to have been enough to save the company, which will now be wound down and put into a state of care and maintenance, and which will be a blow to the regional economy in Saldanha.
We will work hard, together with the municipality and business stakeholders, to continue to grow other sectors in the regional economy, and we will be in contact with the company to discuss the assistance we can offer, especially to the employees who are likely to be affected in Saldanha.