Stakeholders representing government, labour and industry have today launched the Medical Technology (“MedTech”) Master Plan committing themselves to jointly implementing concrete interventions that will improve the industrial performance,  sustainability and competitiveness of the sector. The launch and signing ceremony, which took place at the Industrial Development Corporation offices in Sandton today, follows the success of Master Plans in several sectors, including the Sugar Value Chain, Automotive, Poultry, Retail–Clothing Textile Footwear Leather and Furniture.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Minister Ebrahim Patel, said the signing of the MedTech Master Plan set the foundation and commitment for the development and growth of the medical technology sector.

“The medical technologies sector offers a unique and significant opportunity for growth in South Africa. The sector has emerged as an increasingly innovative sector, developing technologies that can service both our local market and abroad. With the modalities for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreed, the African market provides a significant opportunity for growth in the sector. The African continent is currently a significant importer of medical technologies, with much of this demand within the scope of South African producers.”

He explained that the long-term viability of the South African MedTech value chain was a priority for the country and the continent as a whole. The MedTech industry is currently valued at R21 billion, with more than R4 billion in exports. The industry has the potential to be an important economic contributor, not only because of its economic impact but also because it helps to develop security of supply in key medical products. Over the next 3-5 years, the Master Plan seeks to expand the numbers of workers in the sector by at least 1 000 jobs with an opportunity to localise up to an additional R1 billion worth of goods that are currently imported.

Work has already started in the implementation of the plan, since the MedTech Master Plan was approved in December 2023, and would get even harder as all stakeholders began to collectively tackle actions that are very difficult but necessary for the long-term development of this industry.

Minister Patel further remarked:

“This action-oriented plan is based on identified competitiveness improvements, measures to reduce levels of imports, drive demand and re-position the industry to become resilient under the intense global competition and pressure. The master plan places greater attention to effective implementation and impact to improve industrial performance and enable the sector to become more sustainable and competitive,”

The MedTech Master Plan was intended to establish a stable and predictable trajectory for the industry, so that businesses and investors can invest with confidence in building production capacity, innovation, skills and expertise.

The master plan encompasses a partnership and joint commitments of all the social partners across the value-chain, including Government, represented by both the dtic and the National Department of Health; manufacturers and procurers of medical technologies; and organised labour, to work towards a sustainable, globally competitive and job-rich value chain.

The master plan will be implemented over a five-year period under the stewardship of the MedTech Executive Oversight Committee. Stakeholders across the value-chain in the sector have committed to working together to achieve five pillars of the plan, namely Regulatory Framework; Market Growth; Skills Development; and Research, Development, Innovation and Data.

The objectives of the MedTech Master Plan are to:

  • Grow a proficient and competitive medical technology industry over the next three years, with a special focus on small business development, that will supply domestic and international markets.
  • Reduce the trade deficit by 5% over the next five years.
  • Generate employment and build productive and technical skills with the aim of creating 1000 new jobs over the next three years.
  • Digitalise and use artificial intelligence to enable proficient regulatory processes.

Signatories to the MedTech Master Plan included the dtic, National Department of Health, Medical Device Manufacturers of South Africa (MDMSA), South African Medical Technology Industry Association (SAMED), Southern African Laboratory Diagnostic Association (SALDA), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Hospital Network (NHN), Lenmed Group and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

The MedTech Master Plan is the 12th master plan to be finalised since the start of the administration, and 8th dtic-administered master plan to be finalised.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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