In South Africa there are less than 200 foundries that serve the agriculture, energy automotive, construction and general engineering and mining industry. According to the 2014 figures, the industry employs 9 100 people and 80% of them are previously disadvantaged individuals; indirectly the industry also employs 4 000 individuals that add value to the products and 80 – 100 supplier companies.

The challenges that the industry faces are:
• Import leakages, which equals a reduction of orders;
• Limited access to capital;
• Rapid rising energy costs;
• Skills shortages;
• Keep abreast with latest technologies within the industry; and
• Compliance with environmental regulations.

Furthermore the government recognized that the foundry industry would benefit from a programme such as the NFTN as it is a support mechanism tasked with bringing about growth not only for the foundry industry but the South African manufacturing industry as well.

The NFTN is well positioned to drive governments Local Content Requirements (LCRs), a policy that measures the required percentage of intermediate goods used in the production processes to be sourced from domestic manufacturers; increase the foundries capacity/capability to deliver on potential orders by supporting the product and tool development increase/manage the standard and quality of the deliverables; whilst ensuring that a number of individuals are trained in scarce skills.

The National Foundry Technology Network is an initiative of the dtic managed by the CSIR.