It is well documented that the state of the South African economy is a source of grave concern to most of the SAFPA membership this year. Indications are that most members have experienced a decline in sales revenues and each and every one is monitoring expenses very closely. The decline is evident across the entire product spectrum of fluid power supplies, being hydraulics, pneumatics and hose and fittings.
With no immediate respite expected before next year, the overall business mood is at an historical low. Continued political and economic anxiety adds to the concerns and therefore investment decisions are put on hold. Until such time as there is political leadership shown from the most senior level, the trend will continue. There is one small glimmer of hope, and that is that some companies have experienced a better second half in 2016, versus the first half. Long may this continue.
The SAFPA membership has remained steady during the course of the year. We have had two resignations from the outlying regions, citing financial stress. We have had applications for membership from Gauteng. There has been a pleasing amount of interaction with members, some offering ideas and proposals for projects going forward. We welcome this input as a Council, together we can improve our service offering and grow our industry.
Proposed pressure vessel legislation
The above legislation has been in the planning stage for the last four to five years. It commenced with draconian standards and has since been watered down at the behest of the major end-users. The products involved in the fluid power supply chain are accumulators, of which there are in the region of 10 local suppliers.
SAFPA’s concern with the latest proposal currently on the table is that safety has not been adequately provided for. At the pressures that accumulators are subject to, legislation has to be promulgated to safeguard the user and the employee. Once an incident occurs, the finger pointing will commence.
To this end, SAFPA plans to convene a public technical gathering during November to discuss this matter in detail. It will be chaired by an industry professional and a decision will be sought before we approach the authorities to raise SAFPA’s concerns
Education and training
The planned roll out of the training initiative with JFa2 is on track. Six students have enrolled and commenced their training from mid-September. JFa2 has approached numerous member companies with a view to offering the practical training portion of the programme. This has met with a positive response and early indications are that all the students will be accommodated and mentored at companies in the next few months.
One appeal we are making is to those companies that have obsolete stock or surplus training material to donate these items to the college for hands on training. With an historically aged installed base in South Africa, any products will suffice for training.
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