Farming, auto industry ‘key to jobs’

19 December 2012

The agriculture sector can create the most jobs for South Africa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday.

“If you are looking for jobs numbers, agriculture is the sector,” he said at a Progressive Business Forum breakfast in Mangaung in the Free State.

“That is why one of the best jobs drivers in the National Growth Path is agriculture.”

He said the automobile industry was another sector which was creating jobs and attracting foreign direct investment.

Patel said car manufacturer Ford had identified South Africa as its base for the manufacturing of its Ford Ranger vehicles.

Ford increased production and created 800 jobs in its Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria and Struandale engine plant outside Port Elizabeth in September.

BMW also produces its 3 Series range in South Africa following a R2.2-billion upgrade to its Rosslyn plant outside Pretoria in February, when 600 jobs were created to facilitate production capacity to more than double the number of exports from the country.

Mercedes-Benz also marked South Africa as one of the manufacturing bases for its C-Class range and is training 800 technicians in a skills development programme ahead of the start of production of next-generation C-Class vehicles in 2014.

Patel conceded there was a gap between government policy and implementation, which was a “central challenge” in government’s effort of achieving job creating growth.