From the launch of an initiative supporting women development to signing a partnership agreement with local communities to hosting interested investors from BRICS countries, the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone is helping change South Africa’s economic landscape.
TASEZ has a vision to be the benchmark for special economic zones (SEZs) in the country, contributing to the growth of the automotive sector by being a major creator of new businesses and contributing to employment, transformation, and socio-economic development. It is a big ask for any organisation, particularly one that is three years old.
Celebrating women leadership
This year has been a particularly busy one for the SEZ.
One significant event was the launch in September of the Women of the SEZs, an initiative to empower women, champion diversity, foster inclusivity and celebrate achievements of women in all spheres of the SEZ space.
As TASEZ board member Susan Mangole noted, the event aimed to “inspire and build women”, serving as a testament to the unyielding determination of women who continue to steer the course of progress, innovation, and collaboration within the SEZs and beyond.
TASEZ also held its own on the international stage, hosting delegates to the 15th annual BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg in August. BRICS, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, incorporates more than 40% of the global population and accounts for over 25% of the world’s economy. A number of investors from Brazil, Russia, India and China toured the TASEZ Silverton facilities to find out for themselves what Africa’s First Automotive City has to offer. The SEZ provides world-class production facilities, steers investors towards tax incentives and helps source well-trained workers. At the end of the tour the deputy chair of the BRICS Manufacturing Working Group, Lesetja Mogaba said TASEZ had showed the delegates just how to link industrial development to local community needs. “This is a class act,” he added.
International and local relations
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Kamal Madbouly visited the Ford Frame plant at TASEZ in August 2023.
In addition, TASEZ played host to several other African partners from Uganda and Zimbabwe, who wanted to learn firsthand how TASEZ had managed to grow from a vacant lot into a well-established manufacturing hub in two short years. Questions were asked on how TASEZ is run, what incentives are provided to investors, and what lessons were learnt in the process.
Equally critical to the success of TASEZ is its partnerships with the local communities, and to this end the organisation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Community Project Committee (CPC) in February 2023. The document outlined the formal ties between TASEZ and the surrounding communities of Mamelodi, Eesterust and Nellmapius. TASEZ and the CPC are committed to working together to create job opportunities while at the same time building an inclusive automotive industry.
Good governance sits at the heart of all TASEZ’s business efforts, and August saw the company receive a clean audit from the Office of the Auditor-General. This was the third year in a row that the company received such a result.
Board chair Lionel October noted TASEZ’s “unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and excellence”. The clean audit reaffirmed TASEZ’s commitment to prudent financial management, effective controls, and ethical practices, he added. management, effective controls, and ethical practices, he added.
Awards for industry excellence
September saw TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu recognised at the Transport Evolution Africa Awards for his “inclusive leadership”. The awards, which acknowledge “the achievements of transport trailblazers in making an impact locally, nationally and continentally”, formed part of a three-day gathering of decision-makers, businesses and organisations involved in the transport sector.
In addition, TASEZ sponsored a special lounge at Transport Evolution Africa to showcase the offerings of South Africa’s SEZs and encourage investors to talk business with the SEZs represented.
The year ended on an exciting note, with TASEZ receiving another award: this time the Council for the Built Environment and the Construction Education Training Authority honoured the SEZ as a state-owned entity that implemented infrastructure projects timeously at their inaugural Built Environment Recognition Awards held on 7 December 2023 under the theme “Road to Professional Registration”.
The award recognised the efforts TASEZ made to establish and develop Phase 1 of the SEZ in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new year is just around the corner and will bring a new phase of development to TASEZ, as it begins work on Phase 2.