'Launch of Tshwane Automotive SEZ a milestone achievement'

President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng premier David Makhura, minister Ebrahim Patel and Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa during the sod-turning ceremony at the Tshwane special economic zone in Silverton, Pretoria.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng premier David Makhura, minister Ebrahim Patel and Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa during the sod-turning ceremony at the Tshwane special economic zone in Silverton, Pretoria.
Image: Mpho Sibanyoni

The Tshwane Special Economic Zone will heighten competition among established car manufacturers with assembly plants in Gauteng.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, BMW Group SA and Nissan are three multinationals that have set up production lines in Pretoria, which has been dubbed as Gauteng's automotive capital.

BMW SA spokesperson Alex Parker said the company supported any initiative that seeks to develop and grow the automotive supply chain in the country, "as this supports our goals of increasing local content in our Rosslyn-built cars and the transformation of our supply chains".

"We will be watching developments at the new SEZ with interest. We ramped up production of the new BMW X3 at BMW Group plant in Rosslyn last year, and any move to support competitiveness is a step in the right direction for all South Africa-based original equipment manufacturers," he said.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa managing director Neale Hill hailed the landmark public-private partnership with national, provincial and local government to facilitate the creation of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) adjacent to Ford's Silverton vehicle assembly plant in Pretoria.

"The launch of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ is a milestone achievement following five years of engagement between Ford Motor Company and government, specifically the department of trade & industry," said Hill in a statement.

"It is an exceptionally proud moment for Ford to have partnered with South African government in the creation and development of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ, as an enabler for economic development for the Gauteng province, City of Tshwane and the surrounding communities," Hill said.

"The public-private partnership between all three spheres of government and the private sector is crucial in order to drive growth in the automotive industry, to create more jobs and to boost the economy."

Hill said the multibillion-rand project bore testimony to Ford's commitment to SA.

The Tshwane Automotive SEZ is an automotive component supplier industrial park that will play a significant role in bolstering investment and job creation.

It will also be instrumental in enabling future expansion opportunities for Ford's local operations.

Wonga Mesatywa, Nissan SA's director of corporate affairs, said "all initiatives that stimulate economic activity in our area are welcome".

"As one of the highest employers in the country, with a 7% contribution to GDP, the importance of the auto sector in the economic wellbeing of South Africans is undeniable," Mesatywa said.

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