South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday (5 November), officially launched the Tshwane Automotive Hub, in Pretoria.
The hub was one of the first commitments made at the South African investment conference held in October 2018.
It is expected to help the country attract new automotive component manufacturers, while also strengthening the City of Tshwane’s positioning as an automotive city.
Ford SA will be the anchor tenant of the hub, crowding in new investments and localisation opportunities for component manufacturers.
Speaking at the launch event, Ramaphosa said that the projected investment into the hub amounts to approximately R3.6 billion, with a potential 6,700 direct jobs being created.
He added that a further nine companies are scheduled to set up factories in the area by January 2021.
“You don’t just stumble across 6,700 jobs every day. It takes a lot of doing to create a single job and here (the new hub) which is just sand and grass we are going to create these jobs,” he said.
“I am so encouraged when I hear news like this. It comes at a time when business, government, labour and civil society must work together to fight the twin challenges of low economic growth and unemployment.”
The automotive hub forms part of the expansion of the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Broadly, Special Economic Zones are an initiative of the South African government, aimed at repositioning the country in the world economy and have become global tools for social and economic transformation, resulting in exponential growth when deployed.
The programme’s main focus is to attract foreign direct investment and grow exports of value-added commodities.
Key objectives of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ include:
- Developing infrastructure required to support the growth of industrial activities;
- Attracting foreign and domestic direct investment;
- Promoting regional economic development;
- broadening the economic participation of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises and cooperatives.