The innovative new R3.4-billion Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), which was officially announced in November last year by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier David Makhura, is forging ahead with extensive clearing of the site, groundworks and the installation of bulk infrastructure currently underway.
TASEZ was visited in September this year by Makhura; Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) deputy minister Fikile Majola; City of Tshwane administrator Mpho Nawa; as well as DTIC director-general and TASEZ chairperson Lionel October, reaffirming the importance of this pioneering public-private partnership.
“The TASEZ represents numerous firsts for South Africa. It is the first SEZ where all three spheres of government are stakeholders, and it will be the first automotive city in Africa, designed to include township areas that are far from the region’s economic activities,” says Makhura.
The expansive project counts as stakeholders alongside Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) the national government through the DTIC; the Gauteng Department of Economic Development; City of Tshwane through the Tshwane Economic Development Agency.
Makhura emphasised the need to build an economy that creates more small businesses owned by black people and women, and give young people opportunities through providing training and entrepreneurial skills to set up their own business.
Moreover, this is the first SEZ that will have 47% small, medium-sized and micro enterprise (SMME) participation.
“These are real businesses and SMMEs from the local townships that will add real value in the construction of this project, and we need to allow them to graduate into the broader industry, including manufacturing and operations. The TASEZ also follows a new model for SEZs in South Africa, as it is the first SEZ in the country to have numerous investors already lined up.
The facilities are therefore being built to specification for these companies that are already enlisted and ready to move in as soon as the construction is completed.
Makhura notes that this province will never be the same again and that the SEZ will go far by working with the DTIC, Gauteng, City of Tshwane and FMCSA.
The TASEZ Company has been established as the operating company for the SEZ, and is supported by the Coega Development Corporation in establishing this automotive manufacturing hub adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, which aims to become Africa’s first automotive city.