Tshwane Automotive SEZ heralds good news for jobs

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has to date created numerous jobs and opened up development opportunities for the local community in its construction phase.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who paid a visit to the Tshwane Automotive SEZ on Tuesday, said the total short-term jobs expected to be created during the construction phase are estimated at around 8 600.

“With construction having started in August 2020 – within the limits of COVID-19 regulations – the planning, design and construction work has to date delivered significant jobs, training and development to both the communities and SMMEs in the region,” the President said.

The visit of the President — who was accompanied by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister, Ebrahim Patel; Gauteng Premier David Makhura; Gauteng Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC, Parks Tau, City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Randall Williams, and the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa leadership – was aimed at tracking progress made 14 months since the sod-turning of the R3.4 billion joint investment by government and Ford Motor Company.

The project has also established the first automotive incubation centre adjacent to the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ).

The President commended the significant role TASEZ is playing to support the implementation of the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which was launched in October last year to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The SEZ programme promotes an integrative and collaborative approach that strengthens partnership and coordination across all three spheres of government, as well as between government and the private sector,” President Ramaphosa said.

Collaboration between the three spheres of government, including the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), the province of Gauteng and the City of Tshwane – in conjunction with Ford – is something the President said should be emulated as an example of excellence in public-private partnership.

“It shows what can be achieved through the District Development District Model, especially in delivering critical infrastructure and investment attraction.

“I am told this is the largest investment the Ford Motor Company has made since its establishment in South Africa, and one of the largest investments in the South African automotive industry as a whole,” the President said.

Setting up infrastructure and logistics

The City of Tshwane and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development have committed R288 million and R200 million, respectively, towards the enabling bulk infrastructure development for the TASEZ.

“This investment will make the Silverton Assembly Plant one of the biggest Ranger plants globally and one of the largest Ford truck plants outside the United States.

“The establishment of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ opens up new opportunities to stimulate the development of a high capacity rail infrastructure corridor between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape to assist with transporting finished vehicles for export through Port Elizabeth.

“We are now working on this logistics plan,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said the corridor development is envisaged to include the deep-water port in Port Elizabeth, which will lead to job creation and stimulate more business opportunities in both provinces.

President Ramaphosa said the $1 billion investment announced today by Ford is a clear statement of the company’s confidence in this development and its ambitions for its South African business.

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone fulfils the District Development Model objective of co-ordinated development and economic opportunities in local areas. It also focuses on attracting foreign direct investment and growing exports of value-added commodities.

The automotive hub is an expansion of the OR Tambo International Airport Special Economic Zone.

Special Economic Zones offer various incentives such as reduced corporate tax rates, VAT and customs relief, building allowances and an employment tax incentive.

The automotive sector has attracted close to R23 billion through the Automotive Master Development Plan 2035, which influences the industrialisation effort in other sectors to improve productivity, investment and competitiveness, and promotes localisation, particularly the development of small, medium and micro enterprises. – SAnews.gov.za

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