Tasez

Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone

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.

TASEZ supports training in manufacturing

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

South Africa’s SEZs driven by renewable energy

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) has a mixed-energy response – including gas to power and solar photovoltaic (PV) cells with battery storage – to ensure operations based in the manufacturing hub are not brought to a halt by power outages and to comply with government imperatives for onboarding green energy solutions. A key challenge to business operations within South Africa is ensuring energy supply remains constant, despite regular nationwide loadshedding. “This has led us to find innovative solutions,” TASEZ CEO Dr Bheka Zulu explained during a fireside chat at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA) in Cape Town on Tuesday 19 March 2024. “We are currently underway with a gas to power plant project, which will make 20MVA available, along with a solar PV and battery storage solution that will add another 10MVA.” However, as Africa’s first automotive city – based in Silverton – continues to grow, it needs to find more energy, Dr Zulu added. SIDSSA, an annual event, brought together stakeholders from South Africa and across the continent to discuss ways to drive infrastructure development, which has been identified as the key driver in growing the economy.  SIDSSA provided a platform for discussions and partnerships in the infrastructure investment landscape, with a focus on accelerating economic activity through strategic infrastructure plans. SEZs are ideally placed to accelerate industrialisation in the country; according to the Chief Operations Officer of the Industrial Zones Programme at the Industrial Development Corporation, Stieneke Jensma. “We started a programme focusing on energy security, specifically regarding SEZs. The idea is to collaborate and to ensure that what we are delivering solutions that promote industrialisation.”  Strategic partnerships are key in implementing green energy projects, according to TASEZ’s CEO. TASEZ’s approach to energy takes cognisance of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – particularly Goal 7, which is linked to the provision of clean energy; Goal 9, which aims to build resilient infrastructure using innovative technology; and Goal 13, which is about taking action to combat the impact of climate change.

TASEZ, a case study in successful partnerships

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

Green TASEZ ready for investors

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

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

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

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.