Nafcoc brokers taxi assembly plant on N.Coast

2012-12-10 00:00

RICHARDS Bay has been chosen as the site for a new auto-assembly plant that will supply minibuses for the taxi industry.

This follows a deal involving Silver Vanity Group Holdings, China-based Jiangsu Joylong Automobile, and African Vehicle Manufacturers.

Silver Vanity Group Holdings is the trading arm of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc).

Gilbert Mosena, secretary-general of Nafcoc and also an executive member of the Black Business Council, said they hoped to start assembling the minibuses in Richards Bay in February next year.

Nafcoc representatives — including president Lawrence Mavundla — visited the city last week to look for a site, and held meetings with several parties.

These included local chiefs, the Shembe Church, which owns land in the area and the Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).

“We are pursuing several options, we are still talking,” said Mosena.

He said the operation would be established in two phases.

“The first stage will be the assembly of the vehicles,” he said. Car components would arrive by container from China, and the vehicles would be assembled in Richards Bay.

But the company hopes to move, within five years, to a fully-fledged manufacturing plant, where vehicles are not only assembled, but the car parts are produced in South Africa.

Mosena said the components of 260 vehicles were already on order, and due to arrive in the country soon.

“That would be the process that we run while working on the logistics of starting a production line,” he said.

The business is plugging into the government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, in terms of which 51 000 ageing and unsafe vehicles need to be replaced.

Yu Hongquan, President of Jiangsu Joylong Automobile Company, formed in 2007 and specialising in the manufacture of minibuses, told the South African media that the partnership had come into being because “South Africa is one of the BRICS countries” and the company realised that the country has great potential.

Mavundla said they hoped to raise funding from institutions such as the IDC.

Richards Bay IDZ CEO Ike Nxedlana confirmed that he had met with the Nafcoc contingent.

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