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From the editor's desk: The future is hopefully looking brighter

EMP 2023 Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook News


Peter Howells, Editor

After having some time off over the Christmas period, without any deadlines to attend to, I managed get away to a bushveld hideaway. No cellular signal, no electricity, filtered water directly from the nearby river. It was bliss not to have to deal with the rat race. To be able to light a fire, grab a cold one and put my feet up is a wonderful feeling. That got me to pondering life in general and actually how good we have it here, despite the problems.

And of course, problems we do have in abundance in SA. From the poor water quality in many rivers and seas, the lack of electricity generation, the non-existent infrastructure like a rail system or well-maintained roads, and the list goes on. But we are not alone. Many countries worldwide have worse infrastructure than we do, and yet, they are fantastic to visit. This sentiment struck home for me when I spent time with a friend visiting SA after having left a few years ago.

He absolutely loved coming ‘home’ for two major reasons: number one was the weather. Being able to spend time outdoors, swimming in rivers, and not having to get ‘dressed up’ even when raining was a bonus. And I think everyone in SA could agree – we do certainly have fantastic weather.

The second reason was the freedom we have in SA. Freedom to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle wherever we are. Where he is (no names mentioned), for example, lighting a fire to have a braai is simply not an option. So, like everything in life, we suffer the bad here in SA for the greater good.

Another positive we can take is that our education system is improving, if the results are anything to go by. Irrespective of what formula you applied to calculate the ‘real’ pass rates, no one can deny that across all provinces the Matric results were an improvement – and to think that this class of 2022 were the ones who had to suffer through either none or reduced teaching because of COVID and school closures, during grades 10 and 11 (two very important years, in my opinion). I take my hat off to all the educators who had a hand in making this happen.

In terms of industrial manufacturing, we can also be proud of what our ‘smallish’ electronic engineering community can boast. Although engineering in general has experienced a decline in recent years, top-class engineers and technicians still drive a vibrant industry that is an important part of the South African economy. The worldwide chip shortage that occurred last year due to the drastic slowdown of industry caused by the coronavirus outbreak, has largely been resolved. This bodes well for our design and manufacturing sector.

The revenue on the electronics segment on a global scale is projected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15,6% for the next five years from 2023 to 2027. Here’s hoping that government increases support of our local engineering industry.

To start the year off on the right foot, here’s wishing everyone both a happy and a prosperous year. I, for one, am quite positive about the year ahead and believe that the start of all major changes takes a lot of very positive small steps.


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