VW picks five suppliers for mentorship scheme

Five component suppliers will be given the chance to reach new heights in the automotive industry through an intensive mentorship programme run by Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA).

The winners of the Ntinga Project, launched by VWSA in October to empower black- owned suppliers through an 18- month mentorship programme with established suppliers, were announced on Wednesday night.

The announcement came after a full day of presentations from 10 finalists in front of a panel of judges.

These included VWSA managing director Thomas Schaefer, Department of Trade and Industry black industrialist programme head Takalani Tambani, VWSA B-BBEE Trust’s Siphamandla Ndawonde and VWSA employees Ndulela Canca and Junior Lechaba.

From this process, the companies – Bona Once Bona Twice, Jamsco Automotive Assemblies, KPL Die Casting, Production Logix and Thekwini Wire and Fasteners – were announced as the winners.

“The calibre of presentations today showed us that there is a lot of potential in the market,” Schaefer said.

“All these suppliers need is guidance, training and a helping hand.

“Volkswagen is committed to developing and supporting these five up-and-coming black-owned suppliers. We have the resources, skills and know-how in-house, and together with our partners we can ensure that they will succeed.

“It’s only five, but it’s a start and we aim to continue to develop B-BBEE suppliers in the sector.”

The five winners will now start on an intensive programme run by the VWSA Learning Academy, VWSA B-BBEE Trust, ASCCI (Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness Initiative) and other VWSA divisions.

After this, a contract as supplier to VWSA awaits each of them.

For Bala Moodley, owner of Durban’s Thekwini Wire and Fasteners, this was a huge jump for the company.

His company supplies wire-based parts and brackets to the industry.

“We are very privileged to be in the top five,” Moodley said.

“This is going to take the company to the next level, and we already have a commitment for a contract from VWSA.”

Pretoria’s Jamsco Automotive Assemblies owner Hayley Eagle was equally excited.

“I definitely see the value of this, and it will help us a lot in terms of infiltrating the automotive sector,” she said.

“It is such a process-driven sector, so there is always a wealth of things to learn.

“But I am starting to work with pressed parts now and I hope to hone that skill during the programme.

“It will be a huge learning curve for me.”

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