Tasez

SEZ

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 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 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.

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.”