Partnerships vital to ensure growth of automobile sector
GAUTENG Premier David Makhura led a delegation of high-level politicians visit three of the biggest car builders in Tshwane: Nissan, BMW and Ford.
“We want to improve partnerships between government and the private sector to increase the level of employment and skills development, and to address issues of local inclusion in the economy,” said Makhura, speaking on the objectives of Ntirisano.
The project is part of a larger programme by the government to focus on the importance of the automotive sector within the broader manufacturing industry.
“The auto sector remains a key driver of the South African economy, contributing R115 billion and creating 110 000 jobs nationwide. This accounts for 11,7% of South Africa’s manufacturing exports and 33% of Gauteng’s automotive manufacturing,” said Makhura.
Nissan MD Mike Whitfield said partnerships between the three levels of government ensure that the automotive industry is one of the more successful and growing sectors in the South African economy.
During the tour, Nissan told Makhura of the company’s Africa expansion strategy, which requires South Africa having the necessary skills for a high-quality workforce.
Whitfield stressed the importance of turning the Nissan plant in Rosslyn into a base that exports vehicles into the Africa, Middle East and India regions.
Echoing the sentiments of the president and CEO of Toyota Motors Europe, Dr Johan van Zyl, who warned at the Hilux and Fortuner line opening in Prospecton that SA needs a trained and stable workforce, Whitfield highlighted the importance of skills development through partnerships with organisations such as the Automotive Industry Development Centre. He said that the Nissan presence has been achieved in collaboration with the province, led by the premier and the MEC, as well as Tshwane and the AIDC.
Workers working on a BMW X3 inside the BMW AG plant in Rosslyn.