THE Manufacturing Circle on Wednesday welcomed further designations made by the Department of Trade and Industry for public sector procurement.

On Tuesday, the department designated valves, manual and pneumatic motors, electrical and telecommunication cables, and components of solar water heaters for local production and content in public sector procurement. It said that public procurement was one of the key levers in the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap).

The items added by the department in December 2011 included power pylons, rolling stock, buses, TV set-top boxes, canned vegetables, clothing, textiles, footwear and leather products.

The department said the national Treasury would in "due course" circulate instruction notes regulating how government departments and public entities could procure designated products. The notes would set minimum local content thresholds.

On Wednesday, Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad Bezuidenhout called on "all entities" in national, local and provincial government, and the private sector, to "immediately align their tenders and procurement with this step".

"All entities and departments across government spheres should align themselves with this step immediately in recognition of the importance of the national goal of promoting sustainable economic growth and achieving shared prosperity through employment," he said.

Mr Bezuidenhout said that in the past, line departments in national government and local authorities had been found "particularly wanting in this regard".

The private sector had yet to take "meaningful steps" in aligning with local procurement, as agreed, he said. "Business has to make good on the position of the Business Unity South Africa-led contingent during the New Growth Path discussions of 2011."

The Manufacturing Circle is made up of a number of South Africa’s leading medium-sized to large manufacturing companies, in a range of industries.

On Wednesday, it also said that domestic demand for locally manufactured goods was under "severe pressure" because of the "proliferation of unfairly incentivised and illegal imports".