|As a sign of commitment and the revival of economic growth in South Africa, the German premium car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz Cars has unveiled a 600 million Euro (R10 billion) investment to expand its car plant in East London, Eastern Cape and to produce the next generation of the C-Class paragon in the region.
Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, Markus Schäfer flanked by Mercedes-Benz South Africa CEO and Executive Director Production, Andreas Engling told delegates the project to expand the plant will include the construction of a new paint shop, body shop, logistical warehouse and to improve the assembly shop.
In attendance were President Cyril Ramaphosa including Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davis, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle, Member of the Executive Council for Economic Development Oscar Mabuyane, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality Executive Mayor Xola Phakathi and Vice President Head of Production S- E- and C-Class Andreas Kellermann.
“With the investment of 600 Million Euro, we are expanding our plant in East London and equipping it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes Benz South Africa. The investment is also a sign of our commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth and the socio-economic development of the East London region,” said Schäfer.
President Ramaphosa welcomes the announcement, describing the investment by Mercedes-Benz Cars as a positive move to endorse South Africa as a favourable destination.
“A central priority for the government this year has been to encourage significant new investment in our economy, necessary to realise economic growth, employment and reduce inequality. The announcement by Mercedes-Benz Cars to inject R10 billion in the South African economy signals to the positive momentum we are making to realise the ambitious target of raising R1.2 trillion in new investment. This investment by Mercedes-Benz Cars endorses South Africa as a favourable destination for investment. It shows our determination to work with all social partners to seize the opportunities opening up for greater investment and faster growth,” said President Ramaphosa.
Engling said one example of investment is a flagship project and Sustainable Public-Private Partnership, Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy in cooperation with the National Treasury and the Jobs Fund, which shows the commitment of Mercedes-Benz South Africa to empower the youth and develop them in the automotive manufacturing sector.
He said Since 2004 the academy has offered world-class quality training and transferable skills, qualifying hundreds of skilled artisans in the Eastern Cape.
“With initiatives like the Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy, we are promoting the overall industrial and commercial development of the Eastern Cape. The solid manufacturing heritage of the East London plant would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of our employees and robust labour relations that continue to put us in a competitive position in terms of quality, delivery, and cost,” added Engling.