Centre launches new strategy with emphasis on job creation

Skills development vital to auto industry

The automotive sector remains the biggest driver of jobs in the Eastern Cape, and investment in skills development must accordingly be a top priority.
This is according to Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape CEO Hoosain Mahomed, who spoke at the launch of the company’s new strategy at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Three anchor projects have been earmarked to underpin the new strategy by the development centre to drive development in the province’s automotive supply chain.
“The organisation envisages incubators for both of the Eastern Cape’s manufacturing hubs around East London and Port Elizabeth and a learning centre that supports the development of skills required by the automotive and manufacturing industries towards Industry 4.0,” Mahomed said.
The three-year strategy aims to drive localisation, transformation and skills development in the province in support of the South African Automotive 2035 Masterplan.
“The new strategy acknowledges the priority in South Africa of skills that are relevant for the current and future needs of manufacturers, while it also incorporates the urgent need for job growth and addressing unemployment,” Mahomed said.
Board chair Weza Moss said the strategy seeks to raise percentages of local content in SA-manufactured vehicles from below 40% to 60% by 2035.
“Key, but not limited to the new strategy, is how we impact and contribute to localisation and the deepening of the value chain, how we develop suppliers, particularly in the context of transformation, and then how we capacitate them and assist them with issues of compliance pertaining to international standards,” Moss said.
“We have identified anchors between Port Elizabeth and East London and these anchors are aligned to the local OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, but Isuzu and BAIC are also involved in the engagements,” he said.
“We need to create infrastructure where [individuals] from the dealer network, suppliers, TVETs [Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges] and employed and unemployed youth can participate in terms of upskilling and creating a cadre of well-trained employable people and well-trained entrepreneurs.”
During his address, managing director of B&M Analysts, Douglas Comrie, set the scene of the automotive industry and outlined the vision for 2035 as per the 2035 masterplan.
“The vision is to be a globally competitive and transformed industry that actively contributes to the sustainable development of SA’s productive economy, creating prosperity for industry stakeholders and broader society,” Comrie said.
He said the key objectives for the SA automotive industry, included:
● Grow SA vehicle production to 1% of global output;
● Increase local content in SA-assembled vehicles to 60%;
● Double total employment in the automotive value chain;
● Transform the SA automotive value chain; and
● Deepen value addition within the SA auto supply chains.
The estimated effect would be an increase in total value of vehicle production to R314bn.
“This would be a tremendous contribution to the local economy,” Comrie said.
“Doubling the total employment in the automotive value chain would represent employment growth of 112,000 jobs,” he said.
Addressing more than 100 automotive stakeholders at the event, Mahomed said discussions with the department of trade and industry and TVET colleges were ongoing and a number of memorandums of understanding had been signed with, among others, East London IDZ, Coega SEZ and the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers.
“The new strategy acknowledges the priority in South Africa of skills that are relevant for the current and future needs of manufacturers, while it also incorporates the urgent need for job growth and addressing unemployment,” Mahomed said...

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