Motor industry forum for Gauteng

An automotive industry business forum is to be established to put in place specific projects that grow and develop the industry, particularly in Gauteng, it has been reported.

This follows the engagement between automotive industry leaders and representatives from the Gauteng provincial government, including Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Naamsa director Nico Vermeulen said there was a clear commitment on the part of the Gauteng government and premier to support the automotive industry as part of the provincial government’s industrialisation and development plan for the next 15 years.

Growth potential
Vermeulen said 11 sectors, including the automotive sector, had been identified by the Gauteng provincial government as having above average growth potential and being important to the future growth and development of Gauteng.

He said the provincial government wanted to work with the automotive industry to increase the attractiveness of Gauteng, particularly Tshwane and Johannesburg, and grow the businesses and operations of the various segments of the industry, including vehicle retailing and component manufacturing.

“The engagement was positive all round, and a business forum was established in which industry representatives will participate with the Gauteng provincial authorities in putting into place specific projects that are consistent with growing and developing the industry,” he said.

Robert Houdet, the executive director of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam), said the industry forum was likely to have specific working groups focusing on various issues, such as energy, training and empowerment in automotive businesses.

Houdet said the most important immediate aspect was to confirm the approach and strategy, and then start rolling out the working groups and initiate co-operation.

Room for improvement
Makhura said the automotive industry had, over the years, received considerable support from government in the form of incentives, which had contributed to building a formidable and competitive industry that had created many jobs, however there was room to do more.

He said Gauteng accounted for 42 percent of the total vehicle production in South Africa, and local production of parts and components that went into vehicles was one area they could enhance to increase the sector’s contribution to job creation and industrialisation.

Makhura said only 35 percent of components and parts used to manufacture vehicles in South Africa were produced locally and Gauteng-based automotive companies spent almost R8 billion a year on imports of automotive parts, components and accessories.