Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the semi-conductor crisis impacting the automotive industry, the goal of transformation has remained a priority to Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA). This priority extends to the company and to its supply chain, with two new black-owned suppliers joining the VWSA supplier base after completing a mentoring programme offered by the company.
KPL Die Casting and Thekwini Wire, both beneficiaries of VWSA’s Project Ntinga, began supplying parts for the Polo and Polo Vivo built in Kariega in 2021. Project Ntinga was launched in 2017 to develop black-owned suppliers to the automotive industry through an intensive mentoring and coaching programme. Five winners were originally chosen to participate from a group of over 300 suppliers.
Thekwini Wire and Fasteners have purchased a Robomac R214 TF wire bender, a high capacity sequential bending machine. The machine is manufactured by French company Numailliance and was supplied by Retecon
“We were fortunate to be trained by the VWSA team, and we also had an automotive expert appointed as our mentor, who guided us to become a more valuable supplier within the automotive sector’s supply chain,” said Bala Moodley, director of Thekwini Wire in Durban. Thekwini Wire, which was opened in 2009, is currently a second-tier supplier, supplying parts to one of VWSA’s direct suppliers, who in turn supplies parts for the Polo.
“The insight from VWSA production site visits helped us to implement newer ways of working and improved our ability to streamline our processes. We also gained the confidence to approach other automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers for new work.”
Meanwhile, KPL Die Casting has been supplying a component to VWSA for the Polo Vivo. “Through Project Ntinga, KPL gained more capacity to respond to market demands, and learned the importance of using globally recognised quality business processes,” said Sally Marengo, owner and managing director of KPL.
Aluminium castings make up the majority of the casting tonnage at KPL Die Casting
KPL was also assisted during the Covid-19 pandemic by the B-BBEE Initiatives Trust, which was established by VWSA in 2016 with the mandate of driving transformation in the South African automotive industry, by investing in black-owned suppliers and offering post-investment support to these companies.
With transformation being one of the key priorities for VWSA’s corporate strategy, the company has continuously worked towards achieving a diverse, inclusive workforce and supply chain. These efforts are evident through the company’s recent achievement of a B-BBEE Level 3 status.
“Transformation remains a key priority for VWSA and within the wider automotive industry,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at VWSA. “As a company we have played an active role in transforming the industry and empowering black-owned suppliers to participate even more in the automotive sector. Initiatives such as Project Ntinga benefit not only our industry, but the broader economy and community.”