Ramaphosa unveils R3.6bn Automotive Hub in Tshwane
President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled the Tshwane Automotive Hub at the Ford Motor Company in Pretoria.
The automotive hub, which forms part of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ), will be developed through a joint partnership with Ford, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Tshwane.
Based in Silverton, the hub is expected to help the country attract new automotive component manufacturers, while also strengthening Tshwane’s positioning as an automotive city, as part of the Automotive Master Development Plan 2035, which aims to invest in and transform the local automotive industry.
Ford SA will be the anchor tenant of the hub, which will also be home to vehicle component manufacturers.
Since 2013, the vehicle manufacturer has been adding different levels of connectivity to its vehicles, initially with the launch of the Kuga, and later in other models, including the Everest, Ranger and Focus.
The projected investment in the hub amounts to approximately R3.6 billion, and has the potential to create 6 700 direct jobs, while providing new business opportunities for nearby communities, such as Eesterust, Moretele View, Nellmapius and Mamelodi, according to government.
Speaking at the launch yesterday, Ramaphosa explained the SEZs are aimed at repositioning the country in the world economy, and have become global tools for social and economic transformation.
“It is my pleasure to be here to celebrate the launch of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ. SA is the continent's largest automaker and our automotive sector exports are steadily climbing – having recorded a 19% growth this year compared to 2018.
“Not only will this Automotive SEZ catalyse further growth in a sector that is the mainstay of our national industrial base, it will also bring jobs, support local businesses and spur growth in the city's economy,” said Ramaphosa.
The Tshwane Automotive SEZ forms part of the area’s growing Auto City that will take 50 years to complete. It will be launched in several phases, with construction already under way for the initial 81-hectare phase. Once completed, the SEZ will span 162-hectares of land currently owned by the City of Tshwane.
There are currently 10 SEZs throughout SA, with the Department of Trade and Industry being the key stakeholder in each.
The 2035 Automotive Master Development Plan, as set out by the DTI, aims to help the automotive sector become a globally competitive and transformed industry.
Its key objectives include: transforming the sector to respond to future demands of the fourth industrial revolution; achieving 1% of global vehicle production by 2035; increasing local manufacturing of equipment from 39% to 60%; and doubling employment in the sector from current levels to about 240 000.
Around 18 companies have already been engaged to set up operations in the SEZ, with nine already confirmed to establish factories by January 2021, noted Ramaphosa.
“The launch of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ is a milestone achievement following five years of engagement between Ford Motor Company and government, specifically the DTI,” said Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
“This exciting new project testifies to Ford’s ongoing commitment to SA as one of the country’s largest original equipment vehicle manufacturers, as well as that of key supplier companies that are essential cogs in the wheel as we drive towards creating a brighter and more prosperous future.
“It is only by government, industry and communities working hand-in-hand that we can create these opportunities and fulfil our true potential.”
After establishing a $45 million advanced manufacturing centre in Michigan, US, last year, Ford is betting on futuristic technologies to help speed manufacturing innovation, with plans to introduce high-volume fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.
While the automaker says it will not introduce autonomous vehicles to the South African market anytime soon, it will ramp up on developing more connected technologies in its locally-developed vehicles.