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Sawmilling South Africa – May Update


Roy Southey - Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

Last month, we described the uncertain situation bedevilling the sawmilling industry for a variety of unavoidable reasons. The question on everyone’s lips is when will it ever end? At the Forestry South Africa AGM held in Pietermaritzburg last week, there shone a glimmer of hope.
Delegates are reported to have been encouraged by speeches delivered by JP Landman and Chris Yelland, both of whom were very positive about the prospects for the country’s economy.
While neither made any hard and fast predictions, they did hint at a little light at the end of the tunnel.

The big news this month is that we’ll see the staging of the 14th Sawmilling South Africa AGM on 7th June which will again be held at the University of Pretoria. Due to the current economic climate, it will be a slightly lower key event and we will be gathering at the engineering faculty’s ‘Engineering 4.0 Auditorium’.
There will be a very special guest speaker in the form of Michael Peter, executive director of Forestry South Africa, who as many of you will know is extremely active with matters concerning the broad-based forest industry. Michael has been particularly active with government in trying to find a solution to the energy and logistics challenges facing the forestry sector.
We expect him to give us the inside track on these two major problems, so don’t miss it!
The meeting will be followed by a tour through the faculty’s facilities, where tests and experiments are conducted with timber and mass timber products.
Thomas Craddock of Eltrade will also provide a brief report on his five- month study tour of Wespine/Staxa in Australia. The work that SSA and Eltrade are doing in collaboration with Wespine has progressed impressively, and we believe that it will benefit all sawmillers to stay close to the action.
Talking of action, the next webinar in our Talking Timber series will be hitting your screens on at 12:30 on 6 June. You can register here.
Architects, designers and engineers need to understand how their approach to materials sourcing can affect environments and communities and that clients themselves are taking an interest in these issues.
Gerard Busse will discuss Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and sustainable building using FSC certified timber.
Georgina Smit from the Green Building Council will demonstrate how timber fits into the council’s green rating scheme, give an update on net zero trends and expand on the role timber can play in today’s built environment.
Other good news this month is that we have been successful in obtaining additional financing from the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Seta that will enable us to get our skills development programmes back on track (the Saw Doctors Trade Qualification, kiln dryers occupation, and wet and dry mill operators).
Constant bureaucracy has frustrated and delayed the progress to the point where we ran out of funding, so hopefully we will be able to complete the process sooner rather than later.   
Well, that’s about it for now. So, until next month, don’t forget to keep cutting straight and drying flat and make sure that you attend the AGM if you are serious about sawmilling.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

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industry news,Sawmilling South Africa

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