The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has so far contributed R2.5-billion towards the development of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ). The money has helped to unlock a R16-billion investment by automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company and a further R4.3-billion from automotive components suppliers which will occupy facilities within the TASEZ. Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola described as unprecedented in South Africa, the speed with which the TASEZ is being built. He visited the construction site with Gauteng Economic Development MEC Parks Tau, to receive a progress report and to assess the state of readiness of the operations of different investors.
Majola said that in spite of many hurdles that emerged along the way, among them being the Covid-19 lockdowns, much progress had been made in the construction process as indications were that 70% of the work had been done. “We also learnt during the briefing that there is an increase in the number of jobs created during this process. We are informed by Ford that up to 6 000 jobs have been created. This is great news for us as government as this is a critical area of interest in our quest to develop the economy of our country,” Majola said.
Special economic zones (SEZs) are critical global tools for social and economic transformation, resulting in exponential growth when deployed judiciously. The TASEZ, which in total will cover 204 ha of land, is envisaged to follow suit and will be driven by automotive manufacturing and supplier development chain of various vehicle components.
During the briefing, it was revealed that 45% of the procurement spend went the way of 662 small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMME) and a further R25-million went towards training and skills development of the SMME operators. Some of the component manufacturers, five in total, have already occupied facilities and their manufacturing operations had already begun even though it was on a small scale.
“We will now get into another project, which is the development of the high capacity rail corridor between Silverton and Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. We will build rail lines working with State-owned enterprise Transnet and the private sector partners to ensure that Ford and other manufacturers can transport their cars to reduce congestion at the Durban Port,” added Majola.
By Nadine Ramdass