9 July 2014
President Jacob Zuma will officially launch Chinese automaker First Automotive Works’ new R600-million truck manufacturing plant at the Coega industrial development zone outside Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday that the investment was a clear sign of the maturing relations between South Africa and China, adding that it would boost economic activities in and around Nelson Mandela Bay.
“The first batch of heavy commercial vehicles which will be assembled will form part of phase 1,” Davies said in a statement. “This phase of the project is expected to yield 5 000 units at full capacity and to create approximately 450 jobs, with more expected in the supplier base.
“The second phase of the project will be geared towards the assembly of light motor vehicles, with a production unit target of 35 000 cars.”
Davies said First Automotive Works’ investment complemented the work currently being done by the government in the automotive sector.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), incentives worth R6.2-billion have been approved for 195 projects by vehicle and auto parts manufacturers under the government’s Automotive Investment Scheme since July 2009, helping to create 9 850 new jobs and sustain 46 373 existing jobs.
In addition, since December 2012, incentives worth R26.1-million have been approved for minibus taxi manufacturers under the DTI’s Automotive Investment Scheme for Peoples Carriers, creating 191 new jobs in this sector.
The DTI is working on extending the incentive scheme to truck and bus manufacturers, and recently published guidelines on the Automotive Investment Scheme for Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles for public comment.