Tasez

job creation

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.

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.

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.