Premier looking to halt closure of Bridgestone factory

Bridgestone’s Port Elizabeth plant faces possible closure, with 250 jobs on the line
END OF THE ROAD? Bridgestone’s Port Elizabeth plant faces possible closure, with 250 jobs on the line
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has said he will do all in his power to ensure the Bridgestone factory does not close.

He said the Eastern Cape provincial government was not willing to see the factory close down and was exploring various ways to keep it operating so that jobs could be saved.

The announcement of the looming closure was made by Bridgestone Southern Africa (BSAF) CEO Jacques Fourie last week.

Fourie said 252 employees at the plant had been issued with Section 189 notices.

Demand for the tyres produced at the plant had declined, which had prompted the manufacturer to take the decision.

A statement released by the premier’s office on Friday said the  provincial government was looking at both legislative and economic options to prevent closure of the factory in a way that would cushion jobs while the country traded with the rest of the world.  

“This morning the premier met with the team from Bridgestone SA to understand what informed their decision to propose closure of the factory in Port Elizabeth.

“During the meeting it was clear that one of the challenges was the negative effect of imported tyres from other countries that are increasingly dominating the SA market.”

Mabuyane said it was time for the national government to move with speed with the implementation of tariffs on imported goods so that companies manufacturing products in the country could be protected and save the jobs of the working people of SA, especially those in the Eastern Cape.

“High tariffs on imported products will help locally manufactured products like tyres and products in other sectors of our economy to perform better than imported goods.”

Mabuyane said the national and provincial governments had the responsibility to assist investors in the country who set up manufacturing plants in provinceslilike the Eastern Cape where they created jobs and business contracts for local people.

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