Johannesburg - The motor industry provides a solid platform for job creation, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe
said on Friday.
He was addressing a Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) executive breakfast in Nasrec.
"In addition, today’s breakfast meeting, I believe, carries a potential for government, labour and business to further engage on some key sector-related issues, such as local content, transformation and long-term economic growth plans for the benefit of all," he said.
"This will go a long way to address poverty and inequalities in several parts of South Africa."
Motlanthe said the current Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) and Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) remained important industrial policy tools to support, promote and advance the future sustainability of SA’s automotive sector.
"On this account, we reiterate that the partnership between government, labour, business and other roleplayers will be indispensable for our recovery from the job losses experienced in the past few years as a result of the global economic meltdown," he said.
"The role of the automotive industry in the South African economy, and particularly in creating employment, has made a compelling case for government to invest significantly to support further growth in this sector."
Government's continued support for the automotive sector had created favourable conditions that made it possible to attract investment upward of R13bn from original equipment manufacturers, he said.
Encouraging domestic manufacturing and production of automobile products in SA would undoubtedly contribute to creating more jobs.
"To support this function, I am informed, the original equipment manufacturers' purchasing council will shortly finalise a proposal for a localisation programme which would positively comply with the Competition Act," he said.
In addition, the draft action plans for development of the sub-sector had also been completed and would be signed off by the end of the first quarter.
The process to secure further support for the sector in the form of a private sector service provider through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) was also nearing its final stage and was expected to be completed by the end of March 2011.
Motlanthe said it was also worth noting that the majority of businesses in the retail automotive sector were small entities that might create job opportunities only if they had the ability to understand the problems and the need to implement correct interventions.
"The focus should not only be on creating decent employment, but provision of necessary training to enhance the industry’s capacity in providing quality service to its customers.
"However, a lot still needs to be done in transforming the automotive industry," he said.
"I am therefore confident that the key roleplayers represented in this gathering will take full advantage of the favourable conditions created by government to grow the automotive industry to levels that will enable it to contribute further to job creation and inclusive economic growth."
The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) and affiliate Misa said in a joint statement they welcomed the government’s latest commitment to growing jobs in the country’s retail motor sector.
Misa's CEO Dana de Villiers said there was concern that small, medium and micro enterprises were not given enough support.
"We all know that small and micro businesses are important sources of job creation (and) as an industry you need to find innovative ways to strengthen these small and micro businesses, given the rapid change in technology and the skills shortage," he said.