Tasez

automotive

The TASEZ breakaway discussion team at the Tshwane Energy Summit 2024: the CEO of the AIDC Andile Africa, TASEZ's CEO Dr Bheka Zulu, the NAAMSA's chief policy officer Tshetle Litheko, and the co-founder of the Mobility Centre for Africa Vincent Radebe

TASEZ hosts vital and vibrant discussion on new energy vehicles

New energy vehicles loom large in the discussions on the evolving automotive manufacturing landscape – but the time for the internal combustion engine is not yet over. Two experts from the industry discussed the important topics of whether the legacy original equipment manufacturers are being left behind by disruptive innovators like Tesla and BYD, and the new energy vehicle landscape in a South African context during a breakaway session at this year’s Tshwane Energy Summit on Thursday, 20 June 2024, held in Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. The breakaway session was hosted by the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone, Africa’s first automotive city and an important player in the country’s automotive manufacturing sector. Introducing the session, TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu provided the insight into the new energy vehicle (NEV) landscape globally and locally. “We all know that the NEV space has been growing. In the last year, if you compare figures from the first quarter of last year, it grew by 8.7% – units that have grown from 1 665 to 2 220. And in the second quarter, that number grew to 3 042. These are the some of the figures that show the demand and the need for the sector to grow.” He noted a number of important milestones in the drive towards cleaner energy: the publication in 2023 of a White Paper on NEVs aimed at unlocking the potential of South Africa’s NEV market; the fact that 2024 marks a centenary of manufacturing in South Africa – and Ford is celebrating its 100 years in South Africa. Opportunities available in NEV space The NEV space is one that can open opportunities in unexpected ways, Dr Zulu noted, such as the “last mile” programmes that have rolled out across South Africa delivering goods to the consumers’ doors via scooters or motorbikes. This is particularly important in growing the township economy. Although a critical element, NEVs are not confined to passenger vehicles but will also impact public transport and freight and logistics, Dr Zulu said. South Africa exports the majority of its vehicles, so it needs to comply with the clean energy regulations set by it external markets. For example, Europe has set stringent regulations that have to be met by the automotive manufacturers: it will require 55% lower carbon-dioxide emissions from 2030, with a target of zero from 2035. Mobility Centre for Africa co-founder Victor Radebe delivered a thought-provoking talk asking are the legacy OEMs sleeping at the wheel in the face of disruptive innovation by front-runners such as Tesla and BYD. Using the work of academic and business consultant Clayton Christensen, Radebe dived into the concepts surrounding “disruptive innovation” noting that “it’s like a tidal wave that strips over established industries creating new markets, whilst leaving old ones in its wake.” Disruptive innovation starts humbly, often ignored or dismissed by established companies. But then it marches on, transforming the landscape and toppling giants, Radebe said. “Christensen’s The Innovators Dilemma explains why many established firms, despite their resources and expertise, find themselves in this predicament hesitating at the edge of innovation,” Radebe said, adding: “This is where legacy OEMs find themselves.” Rise of the NEVs The automotive manufacturing industry is currently experiencing a seismic shift driven by the electrifying rise of NEVs. “Legacy OEMs are finding themselves in the slow lane compared to speed stars like to Tesla and BYD.” This technological race is not just about who gets to the finish line first, but who can navigate the twists and turns of innovation without losing control, Radebe noted. One of the innovations of NEVs is that the manufacturers build most of their parts, whereas the biggest OEMs rely on a supply chain of multiple suppliers from across the globe. Radebe looked at the potential drivers for change: Another important element is that of the minerals required to make the batteries required by the NEVs. “If you look at the upstream supply chain, China controls the extraction of the of the raw materials. They control the processing of the raw materials.” The beneficiation of minerals is a hot topic in South Africa that will have to form part of a more in-depth negotiation. “The future outlook of the automotive industry will be shaped by those who dare to navigate the choppy waters of innovation in geopolitical, geopolitical uncertainties,” Radebe said. “Legacy OEMs need to embrace a bold strategy to protect their turf, whilst diving headfirst into the new technology and business models, partnerships, heavy investments in innovation, and a willingness to disrupt their own operations.” NAAMSA’s chief policy officer, Tshetle Litheko, brought the topic closer to home, discussing the NEV landscape and outlook in South Africa. NAAMSA represents the South Africa automotive manufacturing industry and the seven original OEMS in the country. NEVs, the next natural step Litheko noted that because of environmental pressures, the innovation and migrating towards NEVs is unavoidable – “it’s the next natural step”. South Africa currently produces 0.5% of the global production of cars. Through its South African Automotive Master Plan, it aims to produce 1% of the world’s cars by 2035. However, Litheko noted, the export markets that South Africa has are now looking to cleaner energy vehicles such as hybrids and EVs. So, the current production of vehicles with internal combustion engines will not be fit for purpose and South Africa will need to adjust its products accordingly. “That said, one of the biggest markets that we need to factor in is the 1.4 billion market in Africa – and that market is not about to migrate or evolve into these NEVs.” In the African market the production of cars is around two million, with South Africa producing a third of that. He then referenced India, with a similar population density to that of Africa, and pointed out that India currently produces almost eight million vehicles annually. “India is the biggest and fastest growing exporter of cars into South Africa (and by extension into Africa).” Taking a leaf out of India’s book, South Africa

TASEZ supports training in manufacturing

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone’s (TASEZ) commitment to seeing young South Africans gain skills can be seen in the hub’s partnership in the Auvergne Skills Development Centre – a new training centre for young people in the furniture manufacturing sector. TASEZ and Auvergne Designs have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a strategic partnership, particularly in regard to skills training. “Young people hold the country’s economic future in their hands,” said TASEZ CEO, Dr Bheka Zulu. Skilled workers are critical to every sector within South Africa’s economy; being the primary drivers for industrialisation and economic growth. The MoU includes a number of areas where the partnership will be invaluable, including: All these elements will promote transformation within the automotive manufacturing sector, as expressed in the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM), which lists a number of objectives and goals the industry needs to see happen by 2035. Key goals in the SAAM are the localisation of labour and materials; encouraging access to the sector for previously disadvantaged businesses and communities; the embracing of new technologies; and the development of local and regional markets. The skills development centre was officially opened on 24 March 2024 by the MEC for Economic Development Tasneem Motara, who noted that the initiative “fosters employment opportunities within the furniture manufacturing sector”. Skills training can boost economic growth and change lives, Motara added. The curriculum of the training centre, based in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, covers a diverse range of skills ranging from upholstery to carpentry, from furniture design and making to building new ventures. The launch of the Auvergne Skills Development Centre also saw the first cohort of trainees begin their year-long course in upholstery. Along with the furniture refurbishment training, the group will also undergo training in new venture creation – a critical skill required for anyone wanting to start their own businesses, including SMMEs. As a partner, TASEZ stands ready to support youth development, unlocking access to workplace opportunities, providing mentorship, and encouraging local communities to develop their own businesses.

TASEZ, a case study in successful partnerships

Integrated strategic partnerships are crucial in creating an enabling environment for potential investors; and the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is a great example of this process. In a high-level exploratory meeting held at TASEZ on 14 March 2024, representatives from TASEZ, the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Development Goals (UnASDG) Intergovernmental Organisation, South Africa’s National Planning Commission, and international businesses discussed the possibility of developing strategic partnerships, with the focus being on utilising TASEZ for this purpose. Central to the introductory discussions was how TASEZ had managed to establish Africa’s first automotive city in record time, all through the strong partnerships between the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa – and the three tiers of government. TASEZ chairperson Lionel October explained to the visitors how the special economic zone (SEZ) had completed the first phase of development in a mere 18 months – and during Covid-19; utilising a R24-billion investment in setting up an automotive manufacturing zone that has 12 fully operational facilities and employs 3 500 people. “This was a pilot project of a new integrated strategic partnership to be used by SEZs in South Africa,” October explained. It is a three-tier partnership between national government that focuses on the high-level structure, provincial government that provides funding for the infrastructure within the zone, and local government that provides infrastructure such as roads and electricity into the zone. Globally, successful SEZs, in China, Japan, and South Korea, for example, focused on modern, new industries and were based on entire cities, October noted. “South Africa, however, took a different approach, focusing on reindustrialisation in under-developed areas.” Under the leadership of CEO Dr Bheka Zulu, TASEZ unlocked the potential available in strategic relationships, opening an investor-friendly hub for OEMS and the manufacturers of automotive components. In addition, it laid the framework to engage with local communities, creating job opportunities for local small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and workers. Phase 1, for example, saw R1.7-billion spent on SMME procurement. This was done with TASEZ playing a significant role in answering the United Nation’s call to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). TASEZ’s operations answer a number of the SDGs, particularly Goal 1 to end poverty, Goal 8 to provide decent work and economic growth, Goal 9 to build resilient infrastructure using innovative technology, and Goal 12 to ensure sustainable production patterns. During phase 1 TASEZ ensured that local community members were provided with economic opportunities; construction embraced green sustainable building materials and methods; and innovative technologies, including high-speed internet and green energy solutions, were made available to potential investors. TASEZ is now preparing to roll out phase 2 of the project – a mixed-use development, which will include incubator programmes to create opportunities for new, emerging suppliers for the automotive component manufacturing sector. Responding to the information shared by TASEZ, UnASDG ambassador Deacon Mathe described how the alliance was focused on making sure the UN’s SDGs became a reality in South Africa. The alliance focuses on monitoring, providing an analysis, funding, and support to members from all the countries represented in the UN. After the discussions, the group toured the facilities in TASEZ’s phase 1.   

Green TASEZ ready for investors

Investors are crucial for the strengthening of South Africa’s economy, and the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is ensuring it provides the best possible business environment for international automotive manufacturers and component producers. The manufacturing sector is one of the key drivers of the country’s gross domestic product, with the automotive industry providing direct links to the global market and local entrepreneurs. The special economic zone’s (SEZ’s) focus on attracting investment is in keeping with the South Africa Investment Strategy which aims to position South Africa as a preferred African investment destination, and in so doing, attempt to meet the National Development Plan target of 30% of gross fixed capital formation to GDP by 2030. The South African Investment Strategy aims to attract and facilitate quality foreign direct investment and domestic direct investment and ensuring the provision of such investment is well-coordinated and anchored by quality institutions and robust economic infrastructure networks. The national strategy plans to achieve this through: TASEZ is ideally positioned to answer the call of the investment strategy: it operates in a high priority sector – manufacturing; it offers green solutions to its clients; and is forward thinking in ensuring it embraces the latest technology available to ensure its premises are energy resilient and technologically advances. Known as Africa’s first automotive city, TASEZ is strategically located in the economic heart of the county and is able to offer unparalleled access to markets across Africa and beyond. With its base close to existing OEMs and an existing automotive value chain, access to a highly skilled workforce, and proximity to leading academic, research and development institutions, investors in TASEZ can tap into a wealth of human capital and knowledge. This advantage allows for the seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative manufacturing. As TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu notes: “With increasing urbanisation and economic growth across the continent, investing in TASEZ offers an opportunity not only to serve the domestic market but also to expand and tap into the burgeoning markets across Africa.” Currently products manufactured in the SEZ are exported to more than 150 destinations world-wide. In keeping with their determination to provide the best facilities possible for investors, representatives from TASEZ are taking part in the Africa Energy Indaba, on in Cape Town between 5 – 7 March 2024, where they are investigating the latest trends in the energy sector, including renewable energy. A primary element that makes TASEZ an attractive destination for investors is its commitment to green manufacturing. “By embracing renewable energy solutions and reducing its carbon footprint, the SEZ is taking significant strides toward creating an environmentally conscious and responsible manufacturing ecosystem,” Dr Zulu notes. In line with global trends, TASEZ is also promoting the development of electric vehicles. “By encouraging the development of New Energy Vehicles (NEV) and their components, our SEZ is driving a revolution that is expected to reshape the entire automotive landscape.” As the global automotive industry undergoes a profound technological evolution, TASEZ is geared up to take advantage of the opportunities such change brings.

State of the Province notes Gauteng is ready to create new opportunities

If potential investors were listening to Gauteng’s State of the Province speech on Monday evening, 19 February 2024, they would have much to encourage them to look closer at being based in the province. Premier Panyaza Lesufi noted that if Gauteng was a country, it would have the third largest economy after Egypt and Nigeria, having introduced processes to transform, modernise and reindustrialise the economic sectors. The premier described the five major economy corridors that are now ready to grow.  “We took a conscious decision that each corridor must have a powerful economic centre.” For example, one of the key economic sectors in the Tshwane region is that of the automotive industry, where the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone plays a critical role. Moving away from being dependent on mining, the economic development of Gauteng has focused on four key aspects: the financial sector; telecommunications; pharmaceuticals; and ICT. All the banks and insurance companies, as well as the telecommunication giants have their headquarters in Gauteng. “Companies like Google and Huawei chose our province to have their head offices,” the premier noted. The premier went on to highlight the development of the various Gauteng regions and their specific economic focus. As pointed out, the motor vehicle industry is a key driver of the Tshwane economy. Premier Lesufi noted that Phase 1 of TASEZ’s development had been completed. TASEZ “operations are in full swing, with the completion of Phase 1 of its development seeing the production of the first next-generation Ford Ranger and the VW Amarok getting into gear in November 2022.” Lesufi explained that this was the result of a capital investment of R15.8-billion by the Ford Motor Company of South Africa, with the company looking to increase its capacity to produce 200 000 vehicles annually and export vehicles to more than 100 global markets. In addition to the investment from Ford, Ford suppliers invested R5.6-billion into TASEZ, along with an initial government investment of R3.9-billion. With the need to streamline the export of vehicles, the premier announced that “we are developing a new railway line between Tshwane and East London, led by the Minister of Public Enterprises, so that we can ship these cars from the East London port to the world”. “We are indeed excited that these developments are pointing to one direction and one direction only, our economy is back on its feet.”

TASEZ recognised at the Transport Evolution Africa Awards

2023 – a successful year for TASEZ

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. Encouraging investment 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 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.

TASEZ factory

TASEZ recognised as an ‘exemplary project’

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone’s efforts to grow and transform South Africa’s manufacturing sector has been acknowledged by two significant role players in the built environment space. TASEZ was honoured as a state-owned entity that implemented infrastructure projects timeously at the inaugural Built Environment Recognition Awards held in Durban on Thursday, 7 December 2023 under the theme “Road to Professional Registration”. The award, hosted by the Council for the Built Environment and the Construction Education Training Authority, recognised the efforts TASEZ made to establish and develop the special economic zone in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. From the sod-turning ceremony overseen by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 5 November 2019 to the start of production on Ford’s Next-Generation Rangers on 15 November 2022, TASEZ has been a case study for infrastructure development in South Africa. “The awards recognise outstanding achievements in engineering, architecture, urban planning, construction, and related fields,” the CEO of the Council for the Built Environment Dr Msizi Myeza explained. “They promote innovative and sustainable practices in the built environment sector while showcasing exemplary projects and individuals as role models for future initiatives.” In expressing his delight at the accolade, TASEZ chair Lionel October said: “We are determined to make sure TASEZ delivers on its mission to be a catalyst for employment, transformation, socio-economic development and industry growth.” The secret to establishing a successful SEZ was to have a strong executive management team in place, October added. Based in the automotive hub of the City of Tshwane, TASEZ, Africa’s first automotive city, aims to attract automotive manufacturers and suppliers, providing a world-class hub with bespoke facilities and services. TASEZ sees itself as “shaping the future of automotive excellence” as it helps the South African automotive industry on its path to transform the sector by attracting investments; and becoming more inclusive and more sustainable.

TASEZ signs agreement with Motheo Group

Continuing on its track to shape the future of automotive excellence, the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone has concluded a partnership agreement with the Motheo Construction Group. Construction is about much more than erecting buildings, it is about developing people, and that is exactly what was on display when the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Motheo Construction Group. The important event took place in the City of Tshwane on Thursday, 2 November 2023, watched by a young group of construction learners who are part of the Motheo Academy. TASEZ executive of business development Msokoli Ntombana spoke of the close relationship the SEZ has with the Motheo Group. The Motheo Group’s website states: “We put roofs over heads, but we also put work boots on feet … We believe in building our nation not only with bricks and mortar, but with the powerful spark that comes from unity.” As the CEO of the Motheo Group Lettie Mashau noted: “Skills development is critical as it has a positive impact on our communities.” This is closely aligned with the ethos of TASEZ, which has a mission “to be a catalyst for employment, transformation, and socio-economic development and industry growth”. Ntombana explained that TASEZ was established as part of the country’s drive towards industrialisation. “But to industrialise, we need our people to be trained.” The partnership with the Motheo Group speaks to the government’s targets, he added, pointing to the fact that the construction group also focused on developing women in the male-dominated construction sector. Ntombana then turned to the learners and encouraged them on their journey, noting that “some of you will own your own companies in the future”. The young learners, who will be working on construction sites within the TASEZ hub, were advised by Mashau “to think beyond finding employment but how they will, in the future, create employment for others”. She shared how she too began as a young trainee, working her way up to her current position. “Like the founder of the Motheo Group, Dr Thandi Ndlovu, we need to leave something even when we are no longer here,” she said.

TASEZ features on Power FM business programme

The secret to the success of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone lies in its partnerships, says board chairperson Lionel October. He was speaking to Power FM’s Noluthando Mthonti-Mlambo during the business focus on 25 October 2023. TASEZ is based on partnerships between SEZ and the communities of Mamelodi and Eersterust, the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa and its international component manufacturers that come from Thailand, Portugal, Brazil, as well as South Africa, and government. “If the three partners work together the community gets real benefits – [jobs and skills development], government provides the world-class infrastructure required, and the private sector creates the jobs and brings the technology, creating our export platforms that is the secret to success,” October said. TASEZ is one of 10 SEZs set up in South Africa to help grow the South African economy. SEZs are geographically designated areas set aside for distinct economic activities and are supported by special arrangements and systems that are often different from those that apply in the rest of the country. They are seen as engines that can propel government’s strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development, and employment creation forward through attracting Foreign Direct Investment and exporting value-added commodities. Looking at the impact of TASEZ on the South African economy, October pointed out that it is a relative newcomer to the SEZ space, being built in record time, in two years and during Covid-19. This was thanks to strong leadership from the president, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition and the provincial and local governments, October said. In addition, Ford invested R16-billion into expanding their plant in South Africa. “They are now producing the new Ford Ranger vehicle in one of the biggest plants in their stable, exporting to over 100 countries.” Ford’s investment has seen the creation of highly skilled jobs – 2 000 created by Ford and 3 200 created by TASEZ. “This development has really been beneficial to the local economy.” Considering how South Africa’s SEZs measure up globally, October looked to China and the Asian Tigers, pointing out that their success can be attributed to SEZs. “While they obviously provide tax incentives and import incentives, but the real winning proposition that we see from China is power, land and logistics.” It is important to provide a proper logistics system, rail and road; to provide regular and consistent electricity; and to provide a well-developed zone in which to base the manufacturing businesses. In the case of TASEZ, the partnership with the City of Tshwane ensures consistent power to the zone, October said. “We’re working on a railway link between Tshwane and Gqeberha to use Port Elizabeth as an export port.” Added to this is the world-class infrastructure provided within the TASEZ hub.

TASEZ hosts Smarter Mobility Africa Summit delegates

Participants at the 2023 Smarter Mobility Africa Summit toured the factories based at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone on 4 October 2023 to get a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry. The group, who attended the annual summit, were looking at how the automotive industry is adapting to new, innovative and technologically driven developments. The summit, now in its fifth year, takes place at the start of national Transport Month held every October. This year’s theme for Transport Month is Siyakhe – we are building. According to the Department of Transport, the month draws attention to the multiple transport infrastructure services from aviation and maritime to public transport and roads. It is also a time to highlight South Africa’s road safety campaigns and create awareness of the economic benefits of the sector. The focus for the month is on how the country can build a better transport infrastructure to grow South Africa together. The delegates toured the Ford plant, looking at what the future holds in terms of new energy vehicles. Welcoming the visitors to TASEZ – Africa’s first automotive city – the acting CEO, Rebecca Hlabatau emphasised how important the automotive industry is to growing South Africa’s economy and tackling the country’s triple threats of poverty, inequality and unemployment. “Integrated smarter mobility is central to growing our economy, creating decent jobs, increasing equality, and protecting the environment,” she noted. TASEZ has a very important role in this regard as a special economic zone focused on supporting the transformation and development of the sector, Hlabatau added. “We hope you have gained some insight into the enormity of the projects going on in the sector during your tour this morning, including seeing a glimpse at what TASEZ offers its investors.” While creating an enabling environment for the manufacture of top-quality vehicles is crucial to what TASEZ offers, equally important is the creation of jobs for local communities. The SA Automotive Masterplan This is all in accordance with the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035. The plan has stipulated that the automotive industry must have made significant changes to ensure that South Africa can be a global role player. Key to the Masterplan is a globally competitive and transformed industry that actively contributes to the sustainable development of South Africa’s productive economy, creating prosperity for industry stakeholders and broader society. With this in mind, the objectives identified in the Masterplan include South Africa producing 1% of the world’s vehicles, using 60% local content, and making sure that 100% of those employed by the manufacturers are South African. “As we answer to those objectives, it is crucial for TASEZ to support young, emerging entrepreneurs to find ways to use their innovative and creative skills to come up with unexpected but relevant solutions to the changes in the sector.” Although a relative newcomer to the special economic zones space, TASEZ has been playing an important role in making sure the Automotive Masterplan targets will be met. By the end of 2022/23, TASEZ saw a total of R4,6-billion invested, against a forecast of R3,4-billion. During this same time, the investors employed 2 425 people against a target of 1 688, bringing the total number of people currently employed within the zone to 3 028. More than 65% of these jobs come from the surrounding townships and consist of 39% woman and 52% youth. “And like Smarter Mobility Africa, we too believe that together we will be able to build a better transport system in South Africa that will grow the economy and create jobs,” Hlabatau concluded.