Tasez

investment

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.

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.”

Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for economic development, addresses the media

TASEZ gets accolades from media

During a roundtable discussion on Gauteng’s economic development with MEC for economy, Tasneem Motara, and members of the media on Thursday, 15 February 2024, it was a journalist who noted that the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone could be considered “a resounding success”. A manufacturing development project that could have taken a decade, came to fruition in a mere 36 months. TASEZ – Africa’s first automotive city – was officially launched in November 2019, and the first cars rolled off its Ford production line in November 2022. The automotive hub’s achievement was even acknowledged when it won a Built Environment Recognition Award as a “state-owned entity that implemented infrastructure projects timeously” at the end of 2023. As a special economic zone focused on growing investment and innovation within the automotive sector, TASEZ is a vital cog in the country’s economic development. Based in the automotive hub of the City of Tshwane, 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. Motara briefed the media on the economic landscape of the province, highlighting a number of achievements and speaking plainly about the challenges. Key to the development of the Gauteng economy is transformation and the building of the township economy. Motara explained how the province has provided financial aid and legislative support to emerging entrepreneurs and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Among the programmes run by the Gauteng provincial government are the acquiring of products and services from township SMMEs; support for upgrading township businesses in the key sectors of manufacturing, retail, ITC, the taxi industry and backyard real estate. Public private partnerships involving the Gauteng provincial government include: Bizniz in a Box hawker stalls in partnership with Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa; the Last Mile delivery initiative providing market access to motorbike riders, in partnership with UberSA, iBoltSA and Takalot; and the refurbishment of five township bakeries, with family tree, Heinkeken and Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa providing equipment. Although not part of the roundtable discussion, TASEZ too plays its part in empowering local township economies. It has a Memorandum of Understanding with the local communities through the Community Project Committee (CPC) which represents Eersterust, Mamelodi and Nelmapius.

EEC group visits TASEZ

Investigating possible collaboration around developing industrial parks, the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone hosted a high-level delegation from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on 22 January 2024. The commission members spent time with the TASEZ leadership team, sharing ideas and exploring ways to collaborate in setting up industrial parks. TASEZ is seen as an important special economic zone to visit, given that it managed to grow from a vacant lot into a well-established manufacturing hub in three short years, winning a Built Environment Recognition Award as a “state-owned entity that implemented infrastructure projects timeously” in 2023. From the sod-turning ceremony overseen by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 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. In addition, TASEZ and their EEC guests, including Nikolay Kushnarev, director of the industrial policy department of the EEC, and Armen Harutyunyan, director of the EEC agricultural policy department, discussed opportunities for foreign investment and the possibilities of attracting investors from the Eurasian Economic Union countries into South Africa’s SEZs. The commission, which was established in 2012, has five members at present: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Russia. “The experience of successful implementation of the Tshwane SEZ clearly demonstrates the existing industrial and technological capabilities and advantages that can contribute to integration with the Eurasian Economic Union industrial sector, [as well as the] increase in value-added production and regional economic development,” Kushnarev noted. TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu concurred, adding: “We are confident this visit will serve as a platform for meaningful collaboration between TASEZ and the EEC, opening new avenues for possible collaboration.” 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. The zone 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 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 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.

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.”