E Cape pledges support for auto sector

2012-03-19 17:07

Johannesburg - The government, labour and the automotive industry in the Eastern Cape are to join forces in advancing the automotive sector in the province, it was announced on Monday.

"Today marks the start of a process of ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors in the Eastern Cape to jointly formulate responses and implement key programmes in the automotive sector," said Eastern Cape economic development MEC Mcebisi Jonas.

"The strategic initiatives agreed upon include logistics; supplier development, localisation and incubation; and skills development," he said.

The Eastern Cape Automotive Sector Support Initiative was launched in Port Elizabeth on Monday by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Davies said the Motor Industry Development Programme had contributed positively to the motor industry.

"Production volumes have grown from about 389 000 units in 1995 to a peak of 587 719 units in 2006 before dipping to 373 923 units in 2009, bouncing back to 532 545 units in 2011," he said.

There was an opportunity to increase the local content in domestically assembled vehicles as well as increase component exports.

The Eastern Cape Automotive Sector Support Initiative would work on developing the road and rail corridor between Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo city, and between the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

It would undertake a skills and needs audit in the sector and would work with the Durban Auto Cluster to implement the Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Project.

The initiative is supported by four motor manufacturers - Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford and Mercedes-Benz - in the Eastern Cape.