The South African electrotechnical industry is made up of a large number of technical industries including IT, communication, electronic and electrical manufacturing. Each of these is made up of various sub-sectors with their own areas of specialisation. However, they have in common a high level of technological and knowledge application with a significant value addition to the South African economy.

The industry structure can be summarised into the following categories:

The focus of the sector desk in the Industrial Competitiveness and Growth division is on supporting the development of the manufacturing of the products and components in the above sub sectors, particularly the first three.

The sector has an important role to play in the South African economy because of its direct and indirect contribution to high value production and highly skilled employment, as well as its contribution to increasing the competitiveness and value-add of related sectors such as the automotive, defence, power generation, power distribution and aerospace sectors. There is also an internal interdependence within the sector, with outputs of one sub-sector providing inputs or complementary services to other parts. The sector is an important global sector that is likely to represent significant future growth opportunities.

The future development of the local Electrotechnical industry is dependent on its adapting continuously to new technology applications and market opportunities, growing exports and manufacturers securing large contracts in public, private and multilateral markets.

Objectives of the directorate

The work done includes developing and reviewing sector strategies and action plans, monitoring progress on implementation and continuously engaging stakeholders to strengthen the ability of the sector to create employment, retain existing jobs and increase value addition and competitiveness in both domestic and export markets. In addition, the purpose is to address various Industry challenges and to take advantage of opportunities that arise within these two sectors. Transformation is central to the work of the directorate as most of the sub sectors require it. This is done through convening and chairing various fora which have been established in partnership with the industry. Currently the existing fora include the Cables forum, the White Goods Manufacturers forum and the metering forum. We continually conduct research in house and on an outsourced basis and partner with Industry Associations and export Councils on initiatives to grow and protect the local manufacturing industry.

The objective is also to support the development of both human and technological capabilities by the industry and enhance the competitiveness of the sector to contribute to economic growth, employment creation and transformation. This includes:

  • Regular research and analysis of the industry
  • Supporting the local electronics manufacturing industry to take advantage of the growing aggregate demand for electronics products.
  • Supporting the development of local ICT manufacturing capability and capacity to drive modernisation of both domestic and global economies.
  • Building high-level human and technological capabilities associated with the sector and the knowledge economy.
  • Promoting safety, quality and recognised certification/accreditation requirements for the sector.
  • Facilitating investments in activities that are under provided in the market, such as technological infrastructure upgrading, skills development and alignment.

Key focus areas for the next three years

Building on past achievements, the directorate will prioritise the following:

  • Producing an annual Electro technical sector profile.
  • The implementation of the White Goods Supplier Development Programme.
  • Review of the White Goods export development strategy in order to get White Goods manufacturers to participate in the global especially the African supply chain.
  • Conducting regular market studies for the cables industry, possibly on an annual basis.
  • Designation of tablets (especially educational tablets), laptops, Smartphones and All-In-One PCs.
  • Conduct a review and impact assessment of the local procurement designation of Cables and Metering (Electricity and Water).
  • Annually publish the Electro technical sector profile.
  • Develop an Industrial Strategy for the Printed Circuit Board (PCBs) industry
  • Re-visit the designation report on LED lights to protect and ensure growth of the local LED light industry.
  • Contribute to the finalisation of the local procurement circular for the designation of Lead Acid Batteries.
  • Support technical quality and safety within the industry through the facilitation of working relationships with other agencies such as South African Revenue Services, International Trade Administration Commission, South African Bureau of Standards and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications to ensure an effective regulatory framework that counters illegal and substandard imports;
  • Continue working closely with a number of industry associations through fora, such as the Association of Electrical Cable Manufacturers of South Africa (AECMSA), the Metering Industry (both Electricity and Water) and the White Goods manufacturers forum, including the South African Domestic Appliances Association to grow, transform and increase exports within the sectors; and
  • Strengthening partnership with the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) to drive export opportunities for domestic manufacturers. One of the programmes which is being implemented through this partnership is the development of a White Goods export programme and implementation of the White Goods Supplier Development Programme.


  • Establishment of the White Goods Manufacturers Forum, the South African Metering Forum and the Cables Forum.
  • Designation of the following products for state procurement from local manufacturers:
  • Water Meters at 40%. This designation excludes Bulk Water Meters and smart water meters and the current review will seek to incorporate these.
  • Pre-Paid and Post-Paid Electricity Meters at 70%
  • Smart Electricity Meters at 50%.
  • Medium Voltage Switchgear at 50%.
  • Two-way communication radios at 60%.
  • Electrical and Telecoms cables at 90%.
  • Set Top Boxes at 30% at the back of the Digital Migration programme
  • Implementation of the White Goods Supplier Development Programme under the auspices of the White Goods Manufacturers Forum.
  • Participation in the introduction of the first African made smartphone manufacturing facility at the Dube Trade Port, following an earlier launch by the same project in Burundi.
  • Launch of a High Voltage Cable expansion at the COEGA Special Economic Zone in Port Elizabeth.

Contact details:

Jafta Mlambo: Assistant Director JMlambo@thedtic.gov.za

Petrus Shabangu: Deputy Director PShabangu@thedtic.gov.za

Ntokozo Mthabela: Director NMthabela@thedtic.gov.za

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