Ford SA, local government plan to create 7 000 jobs with new partnership to bolster economy

<i>Image: Ford SA</i>
<i>Image: Ford SA</i>

Ford South Africa partnered with National, Provincial and Local Government to launch the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Pretoria by South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Tshwane Automotive SEZ is an automotive component supplier industrial park that plays an intergral part in bolstering investment and job creation in the local economy.

Opportunity and development

It is also aimed at driving investment in the City of Tshwane, supporting the economic development of surrounding communities and, ultimately, becoming a world-class automotive manufacturing hub. It will be beneficial to the surrounding communities of Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Eesterust.

READ | SA-built Ford Ranger tops exports, best-selling bakkie in Europe

It will be launched in several phases, with construction already underway for the initial 81-hectar phase. Once completed, the it will span 162-hectars of land currently owned by the City of Tshwane.

Ford Silverton Assembly Plant

                                                                      Image: Ford SA

"The launch of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ is a milestone achievement following five years of engagement between Ford Motor Company and government, specifically the Department of Trade and Industry," says Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

"It is an exceptionally proud moment for Ford to have partnered with South African government in the creation and development of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ, as an enabler for economic development for the Gauteng Province, City of Tshwane and the surrounding communities.

Ford Silverton Assembly Plant

                                                                        Image: Ford SA

"The public-private partnership between all three spheres of government and the private sector is crucial in order to drive growth in the automotive industry, to create more jobs and to boost the economy.

Beneficial to all

"The government’s new region-based model for special economic zones is an important new tool to attract domestic and international investment, which will help businesses to become more competitive on a global scale," Hill adds.

"We currently have nine Ford supplier companies that have expressed keen interest in investing in the Tshwane Automotive SEZ, which will create approximately 7 000 jobs in the initial phase," explains Ockert Berry, VP of Operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.

Ford Silverton Assembly Plant

                                                                             Image: Ford SA

"Having these suppliers located adjacent to the Silverton Assembly Plant is a crucial step towards increasing the efficiency of our local operations, and unleashing further potential increases in production capacity for the domestic and export markets.

"In conjunction with the AIDC, we are engaging with further supplier companies to establish operations within the supplier park, which will ultimately create an estimated 70 000 jobs in the total value chain once completed," Berry states.

Ford Silverton Assembly Plant

                                                                         Image: Ford SA

The locally assembled Ranger and Everest is exported to more than 100 global markets and also to those in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ford's ongoing investment in local operations saw production capacities increase from around 25 000 vehicles to 110 000 per annum, the most recent of which was in 2016 when R3-billion was invested.

This investment enabled the Silverton plant to further expand its production capacity, and it is currently capable of producing up to 168 000 vehicles per annum, or 720 vehicles per day.

Along with the vehicle assembly operations in Pretoria, Ford Motor Company also supports two global diesel engine programmes at its Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, with a combined production capacity of up to 250 000 engines per year.

Compiled by: Robin Classen

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