Tasez

Jenny Tennant

SEZs represented at Transport Evolution Africa 2023

This year’s Transport Evolution Africa has an innovative new element; a lounge set aside to showcase the offerings of South Africa’s special economic zones. Transport Evolution Africa, taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC Complex in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, from 20 -22 September 2023, provides access for all involved in the transport sector to access the entire value chain; from transport infrastructure, to logistics, to the access and manufacture of components, to cargo packaging and warehousing, to technology and innovation, to manufacturing. The theme for the three-day event is “Boosting transport infrastructure and logistic operational levers as strategic enablers for competitive trade in Africa”. As key role players in growing the South African economy, SEZ will be showing potential investors why they should do business in the country and in the zones in particular. One SEZ that is a strong presence at the exhibit is the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), which is one of the sponsors of the event. TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu will be delivering a keynote address, “Unlocking synergies: SEZ zones and the transport sector evolution”. The SEZ will also be sharing its value proposition including its ideal location for automotive manufacturers and component suppliers, its numerous tax incentives, and its ready supply of qualified local workers. Transport Evolution Africa, which has been running for a decade, creates a platform for everyone involved in the sector to build strong partnerships, make use of expert networks, and market their offerings across a broad spectrum of channels. It is expected that more than 3 000 people will be attending, with over 100 exhibitors. The exhibit allows for the sharing of the latest trends, showcasing innovation, numerous workshops and lectures, and access to the industry’s thought leaders.

Women of the SEZs initiative launched in Mamelodi

Shining a spotlight on the role of women in South Africa’s economy, a significant event took place in Mamelodi on 7 September 2023 with the launch of the Women of the SEZs initiative. The initiative aims to showcase the achievements of women in the special economic zones (SEZs) space, inspire future generations, and create an environment that nurtures their growth and success. Welcoming participants to the event, Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) corporate services executive Vangile Nene said the intention of the initiative is to create a legacy, much like how people look back at the contribution made by the women of 1956, who marched to the Union Buildings protest the pass laws. “We hope that generations will look back on this day,” she added. Among those attending the launch was the chair of the SEZ CEO Forum Kaashifah Beukes; the acting deputy director-general responsible for industrial finance at the department of trade, industry and competition and TASEZ board member, Susan Mangole; Irene Ramafola, the chair of TASEZ’s audit and risk committee; TASEZ’s CFO, Rebecca Hlabatau; and Lebogang Zwane, project manager at the Motheo Construction Group. Also present were community liaison officers from the Community Project Committee, a structure set up between the local communities of Eersterust, Mamelodi and Nellmapius and TASEZ to find ways of working together to create local job opportunities and training programmes; representatives from DSV, Feltex and Automould – factories based within the TASEZ hub; and the women of TASEZ. The Women of the SEZs initiative is a declaration of the sector’s commitment to building a future where women’s voices are not only heard but celebrated, and where their contributions are not only acknowledged but revered. Growing the Women of the SEZs initiative “We want to grow this initiative and involve all the other SEZs across the country, and beyond,” Nene added, while Mangole noted that “today marks an important day, where we find ways to inspire and build women.” Central to the launch was a panel discussion on the role of women in South Africa’s key economic sectors and how the role they can play in bring about transformation. Ramafola, as the panel moderator, pointed out that the women of 1956 had their own challenges, and “we have ours”. “While South Africa has made great strides in building a non-sexist society and progress has been made to promote gender equality, the same cannot be said when it comes to the economy,” she said. “Why is this the case?” she asked the panel. Panellists Mangole, Beukes and Zwane spoke passionately about the challenges women face in the industrial sectors, sharing practical solutions and personal experiences. Ideas raised during the wide-ranging discussion included: The Women of SEZs initiative is a rallying cry, a call to action to champion diversity, foster inclusivity, and empower excellence. It serves 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.

Growing township automotive sector through investment, regulating, upgrading skills

Government takes the automotive sector very seriously, Premier Panyaza Lesufi said at a workshop on township mechanics held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 6 September 2023. Addressing a packed hall of industry role players including the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), the MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services), the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), professional automotive mechanics, apprentices and learners, Lesufi said that key to investing in and growing the sector – particularly in the province’s townships – it was important to make sure that the businesses needed to be regularised and be competitive. In addition, “those who want to invest in the townships must invest on our terms. They must consult with the local players and make sure they empower them”, Lesufi said. The workshop was part of the Growing Gauteng Together initiative run by the Gauteng provincial government and the Gauteng department of economic development. He told the delegates at the workshop that the township economy was critical to developing the country’s economy in general. “This is the only province that has passed a law ensuring that the government will buy services from townships, hostels and informal settlements.” TASEZ is a prime example of ensuring that townships are included in the development of the automotive sector. One of the policies essential to the TASEZ business model is that investors must make provision for the inclusion of local community members in their workforces. Lesufi’s message drew on the data shared by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola, who noted that the workshop should provide long-lasting, actionable solutions. SMMEs crucial to economic growth The triple challenges of unemployment, poverty, and inequality impact on the country’s development agenda, and the townships are the epicentre of these challenges. More than a quarter of South Africa’s population live in townships and more than half of those in the townships are unemployed, yet the township economy is critical to the country. He referred to the importance of special economic zones (SEZs) being connected to the township model of economic development. SEZs are geographically designated areas set aside for specifically targeted economic activities to promote national economic growth and exports by using support measures to attract foreign and domestic investments and technology. TASEZ, Africa’s first automotive city, is located in Silverton near the townships of Eersterust, Mamelodi and Nellmapius. Much of the workforce used in the factories based at TASEZ come from the surrounding communities. Majola noted that the South African Automotive Masterplan spoke about doubling production by 2035. “One million cars are manufactured annually on the African continent, with 700 000 of those coming from South Africa, Morocco and Egypt.” The continent had a population of 1.3 billion. He compared this to the production figures from India, which manufactures 4 000 000 cars a year. It has a population of 1.4 billion. “We must be more competitive and ramp up production.” And that can be done through developing small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). “Globally, all economies are driven by SMMEs, but the number of SMMEs in this country is too small for an economy the size of South Africa,” Majola added. “If we are to expand the SMME base in South Africa, we have to think outside the box, but within the law.” Collaborative efforts TASEZ has a team dedicated to helping develop SMMEs and providing skills development programmes. Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Tasneem Motara pointed out just how important the automotive sector is to South Africa. It contributed 4.9% to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023. “It is a huge player in the economy with the potential to grow.” However, she added, picking up on the issues of SMMES: “How do we address the challenges small businesses face?” Common challenges include struggling to access to markets; financing; to support; and infrastructure. The automotive sector had added challenges, such as being unable to receive reliable parts; a lack of entrepreneurial skills; and the onerous and expensive accreditation processes. Collaboration was key to growing small businesses. “We need to focus on the informal sector, but also ensure that industry bodies are included.” Skills development was crucial, she added. “We have to find meaningful solutions.”

The chairman of the board of TASEZ visits the hub

TASEZ gets clean audit for third year in a row

TASEZ chairman of the board Lionel October has congratulated the entity on its sterling performance in receiving a clean audit from the Office of the Auditor-General. The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is proud to announce it has received a clean audit for its 2022/23 financial report. This is the third consecutive year the entity has received such a finding from the Office of the Auditor-General. “It is with immense pride and gratitude that I announce a momentous achievement that reflects our unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and excellence,” said board chair Lionel October. “This clean audit reaffirms our commitment to prudent financial management, effective controls, and ethical practices.” The clean audit means that TASEZ produced financial statements that are free from material misstatements and have no material findings on reporting on performance objectives or non-compliance with legislation. “It reinforces our position as a reliable SEZ for local and international investors, assuring them that their investments are managed with the utmost integrity and diligence. Our ability to consistently uphold the principles of transparency and accountability is a cornerstone of TASEZ’s reputation as a world-class hub for automotive investments,” October added. TASEZ, known as Africa’s first automotive city, provides an SEZ that offers a range of financial incentives and high-level support services to investors. Its mandate is to accelerate economic reform through attracting investment and creating jobs and opening up opportunities for small, medium and micro enterprises – and ultimately transforming the automotive sector.

A group of business leaders from the BRICS countries stopped off at TASEZ to investigate investment opportunities

TASEZ an economic showcase for BRICS decision-makers

A high-level delegation of BRICS business leaders toured the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) hub on Wednesday, 23 August 2023 to see firsthand what opportunities special economic zones can offer to investors. The delegates, part of the BRICS inward buying and investment mission, visited a number of factories producing components for the Ford Next Gen Ranger to view the world-class facilities available in the TASEZ hub. The visit, hosted in partnership with the BRICS Business Council, was a side event to the 15th annual BRICS summit being held in South Africa this week and came hot on the heels of the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between China and South Africa during an official state visit by President Xi Jinping focusing on developing special economic zones and industrial parks. The MoU was one of many bilateral agreements signed between the two countries on Tuesday, 22 August 2023. 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. Welcomed at Automould, Aeroklas Duys, Ford Frame and Sodecia, the international visitors were shown the components manufactured at each plant that all form part of the just-in-time and just-in-sequence processes that go into building each car. They were told that some 700 vehicles come off the assembly line each day. Impressed by what they saw, the delegates eagerly asked questions of the plant managers, networked with TASEZ representatives along with officials from the hub’s stakeholders in the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development. At the end of the day, the deputy chair of the BRICS Manufacturing Working Group, Lesetja Mogaba described what the team had experienced was something that showed just how to link industrial development to local community needs – “This is a class act,” he said. TASEZ is situated between the townships of Eersterust, Mamelodi and Nellmapius and one of its key mandates is to broaden economic participation by promoting small, micro, and medium sized enterprises and co-operatives, while promoting skills and technology transfer. The BRICS delegation was hosted by a TASEZ team lead by board chair Lionel October, board member Susan Mangole, TASEZ CEO, Dr Bheka Zulu, and the chief director in the Office of the Gauteng Premier Victor Radebe, who explained to the visitors the importance of special economic zones (SEZs) in the South African context. The importance of SEZs SEZs economic zones are seen as vehicles to broaden South Africa’s economic activities and foster industrial growth, encouraging direct foreign investment, providing skills development, creating jobs and transforming the country both socially and economically. Radebe, in his formal opening address to the delegates after the hub tour, noted that the automotive sector could be seen as the heartbeat of the economy. TASEZ is a sector specific SEZ that focuses on growing the automotive sector, offering a prime location and a range of incentives to potential investors wanting to be part of an innovative economic development. October noted that one of the biggest challenges South Africa faced was to overcome inequality and poverty. “It has been shown that the only way to move out of poverty is through industrial development, and SEZs are central to the industrialisation process.” He described how TASEZ had, in just two short years, developed a world-class zone in an undeveloped area of scrub and trees. “We are building Africa’s first industrial city here.” South Africa wanted to become a player in the advanced and medium technology industries, October said, adding TASEZ was looking forward to attracting international investors in the original equipment manufacturing and components space. Based in Silverton in Tshwane, TASEZ is particularly well placed to build on its position as Africa’s first automotive city. With Phase 1 of its development complete and fully occupied by anchor tenant Ford and nine manufacturers producing components required for the Ford Ranger, TASEZ is now looking to implementing the Phase 2 and Phase 3 development plans. One of the key issues discussed was the development of electric vehicles and that South Africa had to be prepared for this transition. Dr Zulu, who shared TASEZ’s journey, with the delegations spoke of the numerous investment opportunities available in the hub, adding that TASEZ was planning to create an automotive incubation programme and focus on skills development in support of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers along with expanding the hub and creating 3 000 new jobs.

Business leaders from the BRICS nations visit the TASEZ plant in Silverton

TASEZ talks investment opportunities to BRICS businesses

In the week prior to the 15th annual BRICS summit due to take place in South Africa from 22 – 24 August 2023 under the watchful eye of chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) played host to a delegation of business leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China. A high-level group of business leaders from the BRICS nations are in South Africa to explore investment opportunities across a wide range of economic sectors, including the automotive manufacturing sector. The group visited the TASEZ plant in Silverton on Monday, 14 August 2023 and was warmly welcomed by a large TASEZ team, headed up by board chair Lionel October and CEO Dr Bheka Zulu, eager to talk business opportunities and investment incentives. “We want to showcase our special economic zone to big investors who want to take up occupancy in our hub,” October said. Tshwane is uniquely placed as an automotive hub, with Ford based in the TASEZ plant and BMW and Nissan in the nearby industrial area. October sees the city becoming the gateway to Africa for the automotive sector. With Phase 1 of the TASEZ development complete and fully occupied by anchor tenant Ford and nine manufacturers producing components required for the Ford Ranger, the TASEZ team are now looking to implementing the development plans for Phase 2 and 3. “We are looking for two or three other global companies to take up the incentives available in the zone, along with the infrastructure and support TASEZ supplies,” October said. “We are excited to be hosting businesses from some of the largest countries in the world,” Dr Zulu said. “This is an important milestone for us, to engage with world business leaders and share with them our plans.” The BRICS group incorporates more than 40% of the global population and over 25% of the world’s economy. With this in mind, it is critical for South Africa’s economic and social growth and development to encourage foreign direct investment into the various sectors. “We do not see our SEZ in isolation, there are numerous linkages that will expand the reach of what happens in our hub,” Dr Zulu noted.

TASEZ launches exciting brand campaign

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is taking bold new steps to make sure it becomes renowned as Africa’s first automotive city and a world-class hub for the industry. Monday, 24 July 2023 saw the launch of a major communications and branding campaign drawing attention to the work TASEZ in attracting investors, manufacturers, and stakeholders from around the world. Campaign messages on social media platforms, at selected notable sites across the country including international airports, and on digital billboards across the Gautrain, will raise awareness of the unique opportunities and benefits offered by the special economic zone, and at the same time, establish TASEZ as a powerful and distinct top-of-mind brand. The objectives of the six-month campaign are to: Together, we can propel TASEZ to greater heights in the global automotive landscape.