Tasez

Dr Bheka Zulu

TASEZ celebrates group of learners

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) celebrated the achievements of 134 learners who graduated from a training course on organisational health and safety on 14 May 2024. The training, under the guidance of TASEZ’s safety, health and environmental manager Patricia Mandleni, is an important part of the special economic zone’s commitment to broaden economic participation by promoting small, micro, and medium sized enterprises and co-operatives, while promoting skills and technology transfer. Learners were called to the stage, where they were presented certificates by TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu. “It is important that TASEZ supports training of people in the automotive manufacturing and construction sectors as well as individuals from our neighbouring communities,” Dr Zulu noted. “We are driven by helping make sure that the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035 is a success, as well as helping develop a skilled workforce for our ever-changing industry which will need different high-level skills that embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he added. “We are determined to play a role in shaping the future of automotive excellence.” SAAM 2035 calls for transforming the industry and has identified six pillars for growth: According to the recently published Industrial Policy and Strategic Review – Transforming Vision into Action: Charting South Africa’s Industrial Future the rapid scaling-up of infrastructure spending should be a top priority, with specific focus on improving electricity and freight transport for established businesses, and to qualitatively upgrade infrastructure to support economic activities in working-class communities, especially by providing industrial, commercial and cultural centres. Training is an important aspect of transforming the economic landscape, as the country’s industrial development increases its pace and reach, ensuring the realisation of the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030, Dr Zulu added. The NDP identifies artisans and SMMEs as key elements in driving the economy through infrastructure development and manufacturing. The NDP has set a target of producing 30 000 artisans a year by 2030, with the country currently seeing 20 000 artisans qualify annually.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition delivers key policy assessment at TASEZ

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) was chosen to host the delivery of a critical national policy assessment by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday, 7 March 2024. The minister delivered the Industrial Policy and Strategic Review – Transforming Vision into Action: Charting South Africa’s Industrial Future. “TASEZ was chosen as the venue for this occasion as it demonstrates how changes in the approach to implementing industrial policy has given different, significantly positive, results,” the minister said at the beginning of his review. This review – and plan for the future – takes place at a critical time, as the country celebrates 30 years of democracy, and a few weeks before South Africa’s seventh administration takes office. South Africa’s economic development has, over the past three decades, leaned into the national industrial policy to drive growth and transformation in an effort to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, with industrialisation identified as a key to unlocking the economy, building investor confidence and creating jobs across multiple sectors. Economic impact of investment into South Africa Minister Patel noted that foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa rose to R1.1-trillion between 2019 to 2023, a significant increase from the previous five-year period which garnered R312-billion. Investments over the past five years were 3½ times larger. This was despite the turbulent headwinds the country had to endure over the last five years:   The FDI packages ameliorated much of the negative impact of the six shocks the country endured. “The resilience of the South African economy has surprised many commentators,” Minister Patel noted. He referred to the 2023 EY Attractiveness Africa Report which highlighted that South Africa attracted the most FDI projects in Africa – 157, making up 23% of the continent’s total. According to the report, South Africa’s FDI was valued at US$26.8-billion and created about 15 000 jobs, the highest number in southern Africa. The minister also noted that of the R1.5-trillion pledged at the five cycles of the South Africa Investment Conference, a third of the projects had already been completed, with others under construction. “What we did in these five years is to try and get investment to flow notwithstanding the headwinds – and we have already seen some real impact.” Minister Patel reviewed the work done by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition over the past five years, discussing a number of success stories in a variety of sectors; examining the challenges that had arisen; and charting a way forward to speed up the various economic programmes. Several key elements were vital to the success of the reimagined industrial strategy, including: This was supported by a number of programmes including the development of sectoral masterplans, which saw a move towards a multi-stakeholder approach, “in which government, the private sector and labour collectively developed and implemented plans”. The masterplan process modelled a new approach, where the state works in a flexible way to address the diverse concerns facing individual companies and other stakeholders. A catalytic project on SEZ development TASEZ is shining example of this approach; showcasing a more rapid and coordinated development process, particularly in reference to setting up special economic zones. One of the key drivers of TASEZ’s business approach is the South African Automotive Masterplan, with its focus on transforming the sector, promoting localization and creating jobs. TASEZ is a critical case study in the speedy implementation of the special economic zones in South Africa. It took four short years for TASEZ to develop from a dusty veld to a modern industrial hub, with an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa – supported by other component manufacturers. “Investment was unlocked through an anchor firm, Ford, while the dtic, the Gauteng government, and the City of Tshwane pooled their resources and capabilities,” the strategy review notes. “This solid base allowed for the rapid unlocking of 11 investments by component firms and help establish the SEZ by developing a network of interconnected producers around the zone.” The review noted: “All of this was underpinned by strong alignment with pre-existing policy including state support through the Automotive Production and Development Programme and investment funding through projects like the Automotive Investment Scheme.” In its short existence, TASEZ has seen an investment of R16-billion from Ford; R5.6-billion from the various component manufacturers; and R3.92-billion from government – in its first phase of development. In addition, the first phase of TASEZ has seen the creation of 3 244 permanent jobs in the automotive manufacturing sector and a further 5 071 jobs in construction. Procurement spend in the small, medium and micro enterprise sector has totalled R1.7-billion so far. “This mode – of moving quicky, working through partnerships, coordinating across the state and aligning with broader support programmes – offers a sturdy pathway for the revitilisation of industrial policy,” the review report noted. TASEZ is now preparing to begin the second phase of development, with several investors already preparing to join the hub. “As a special economic zone that plays an integral role in transforming the automotive manufacturing sector,” TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu, adding that the Africa’s first automotive city could attest to the importance of a strong industrial policy in encouraging global investors.

Tshwane SEZ shows the way on how to successfully attract investment and create employment

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) has set the benchmark for the development of South Africa’s new special economic zones. Special economic zones (SEZs) are key to making South Africa an attractive option for foreign direct investments. SEZs are important instruments in advancing the country’s strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development, the promotion of exports and job creation. Africa’s first automotive city, based in the City of Tshwane, was an exemplary case in how to develop and set up an SEZ to hit the road running. From being gazette in January 2020 to seeing the first cars come off the production line in November 2022, TASEZ achieved all of this in just two short years – and during the Covid 19 pandemic. The TASEZ case study was central to discussions that took place in a workshop held in Pretoria on Thursday, 11 April 2024, that looked at how SEZs can be implemented speedily. Piloting a new method “We are conscious of the responsibility we have been given in piloting this new model for the development of SEZs,” says TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu. “It could not have been done without the strong strategic partnerships between our investors and all three tiers of government.” The TASEZ model has now set the benchmark for the establishment of new SEZs. Representatives from the country’s new SEZs joined the teams from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) responsible for SEZ development, the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC’s) SEZ unit, and TASEZ. TASEZ chair and executive director of the Industrial Zones Programme at the IDC, Lionel October, said: “We are here today to begin to standardise and formulate SEZ set up procedures.” The dtic’s Shaun Moses set the scene for the discussion, outlining the policy and strategies driving the development of SEZs. He highlighted the underlying economic challenges South Africa had to tackle: This led to the government identifying a number of objectives to change the economic landscape: combining growth with transformation; boosting local production; growing exports and expanding trade within Africa; increasing investment; establishing a reliable and low-cost energy system while greening the economy; and growing employment. This, Moses pointed out, would be achieved through promoting jobs and higher incomes via industrialisation; building an inclusive economy; and making sure public policies make an impact. Factors for success It was against this background that TASEZ became the pilot project for a new approach to setting up SEZs. There were a number of critical factors that ensured the project’s success: “The scale of the TASEZ project demanded a well-coordinated, systematic and objective approach in responding to the socio-economic performance targets, job creation and SMME opportunities.” Crucially, it was the agile project management approach that ensured TASEZ’s success. Key factors to this success were: One of the proposals to speed up the development of new SEZs, put forward by the technical advisor of the Industrial Zones Programme at the IDC, Dr Siyabonga Simayi, was the creation of multi-sites, or the extension of the boundaries of existing SEZs, to incorporate the development of new SEZs. This would see the development of a zone with more than one site, or the development on land that did not share a border with the existing SEZ. The licence of an existing Industrial Development Zone could be used to facilitate the creation of new SEZs, cutting down on read tape and allowing for a speedier and more agile process, Dr Simayi told the workshop. This would see a single licensee, operator and entity, with one management team and board; single operating systems and processes, and a single budget with one audit process. The workshop concluded by agreeing that there was a need to develop clear guidelines and operating procedures to implement successful SEZs within two years. As Stieneke Jensma, the chief operations officer of the Industrial Zones Programme at the IDC, noted in summing up the day: “TASEZ has done it – we know it’s doable.”

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.

TASEZ CEO recognised at Transport Evolution Africa Awards

Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone CEO, Dr Bheka Zulu, was professionally recognised at the Transport Evolution Africa Awards on 21 September 2023, winning in the category “Inclusive Leadership”. The three-day exhibition, focusing on the theme “Boosting transport infrastructure and logistic operational levers as strategic enablers for competitive trade in Africa”, has been taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC Complex in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, from 20 -22 September 2023. The annual gathering, which in now in its 11th year, allows decision-makers, businesses and organisations involved in the transport sector to access all categories within the 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. One of the key events of Transport Evolution Africa is the annual awards in recognition of “the achievements of transport trailblazers in making an impact locally, nationally and continentally”. The organisers note that “the Transport Evolution Africa Awards serves as a powerful platform to recognise, reward and celebrate those who have not only transformed the industry but have also left an indelible mark in driving enterprise development, sustainability, and inclusivity”. Dr Zulu was recognised for his inclusive leadership. In a 2020 article titled “The Key to Inclusive Leadership” published in the Harvard Business Review, authors Juliet Bourke and Andrea Titus noted that “inclusive leadership is emerging as a unique and critical capability helping organisations adapt to diverse customers, markets, ideas and talent”. They note that inclusive leaders exhibit six signature traits: Other awards announced at Transport Evolution Africa included: rising star; women mentor of the year; women excellence leadership; best equity, diversity and social inclusion programme; best port and terminal operator; and best rail operator.