President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ford SA introduce new SEZ

Let's be honest, our economy is not in the best of shapes at the moment and this can deter investors however where some see doom and gloom others see opportunity and Ford South Africa has seen an opportunity to not only invest in the local automotive segment but to help stimulate jobs and other opportunities within the automotive market.

I recently attended the launch of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone which saw President, Cyril Ramaphosa break the ground on this new investment project.

What is the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone?

The Special Economic Zone or SEZ is an automotive component supplier industrial park that will play a significant role in bolstering further investments as well as job creation in the local economy. It will also be instrumental in enabling future expansion opportunities for Ford’s local operations. On a local government level, the project has partnered with the City of Tshwane and the Tshwane Economic Development Agency. The Tshwane Automotive SEZ is 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.

“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,” Neale Hill, Managing Director, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

Job creation

The Tshwane Automotive SEZ will be launched in several phases, with construction already underway for the initial 81 ha phase. Once completed, the SEZ will span 162 ha of land currently owned by the City of Tshwane. The SEZ forms an integral part of a broader township development that will benefit the surrounding communities of Mamelodi, Nellmapius, and Eesterust. So far nine Ford supplier companies have expressed interest in investing in the Tshwane Automotive SEZ, which will create approximately 7 000 jobs in the initial phase. Having these suppliers located adjacent to the Silverton Assembly Plant is a crucial step for Ford towards increasing the efficiency of their local operations, and unleashing further potential increases in production capacity for the domestic and export markets.

Fords investment

Over the past decade, Ford’s ongoing investment in its local operations, which amounts to more than R11 billion between 2009 and 2018, saw production capacities increase from around 25 000 vehicles to 110 000 per annum when the Ranger production and export program commenced in 2011. The most recent investment of R3 billion in 2016 enabled the 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. Approximately two-thirds of these vehicles are destined for export markets, predominantly in Europe and the UK. Ford’s domestic turnover now contributes over 1 per cent to South Africa’s GDP. This makes the Silverton based company a significant player in the country’s economy and manufacturing sector, as well as a major contributor to South Africa’s employment through direct jobs and within the total value chain amongst supplier companies.


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