Coronavirus update: R2, 5 billion by Toyota SA in KZN – Durban and location of automotive giant in Special Economic Zone, South of Durban.
I have welcomed with great relief the confirmation by Toyota South Africa that the investment of R2, 5 billion towards the new production line of the first ‘hybrid synergy drive’ (petro-electric) car will go ahead at its Prospecton plant here Durban.
Critically, I wish to express my appreciation to the leadership of Toyota South Africa Motors for working with the provincial government to turn around the situation despite challenges created by the outbreak of COVID-19
I am encouraged by the strong commitment displayed by the CEO Andrew Kirby, and in particular Mr Nigel Ward – Executive Vice President, Manufacturing.
I have heard several meetings with Mr Ward and other stakeholders in the automotive industry since the first day of the lockdown.
This sector has suffered billions of losses as a result of COVID-19 with millions of people facing the jaws of abject poverty.
Ahead of the outbreak, we were moving with speed to ensure that our Automotive Supplier Park SEZ, located in the South of Durban, is operation in 2021. We had projected the creation of 1339 jobs through an investment of R2.2 billion.
It should be remembered that in February we had successful negotiations with the leadership of TOYOTA who agreed to be one of our tenants in our Supplier Park.
We were excited by the fact that Toyota was about to start assembling new Hino 500 series truck here in Durban. These would be exported to Europe and Africa. We expect this province to earn foreign currency with our export capacity being boosted significantly.
One can never over-emphasise the contribution that has been made by Toyota into our economy. The company spends R24, 2 billion on procurement with previously disadvantaged communities benefitting.
I must hasten to point out that we want KwaZulu-Natal to continue to have a thriving automotive industry. Over the years this industry has had a profound and wide-ranging effect on the city and suburban communities.
We want the impact of the sector to be felt in the township and rural communities. We are excited because Toyota South Africa has agreed to work with the department to ensure the entry of young people in the townships and rural sectors into the automotive sector.
Ahead of lockdown our figures showed that the entire Transport Equipment sector employed more than 14 815 in the province and 9 242 people in eThekwini. I am mentioning here companies such as Toyota, Bell Equipment, Mahindra and many SMMEs in the retail sector
What we are undertaking to do as part of ensuring recovery in this sector is to be aggressive in our approach aimed at attracting new investments into our Automotive Supplier Park. We want to ensure that jobs are created in the provision of bulk infrastructure development
We also want to promote innovation and localisation in particular through the manufacturing of the first South African Car in KZN.
In Kenya they have Mobius;
In Uganda they have Kiira;
In Malaysia they have Proton;
In India they have Tata;
In KZN we want to have our own brand.
In addition, we have planned to invest more in Research and Development (R&D) Infrastructure to promote Electronic Vehicles. This is an area we want to explore in order to re-engineer the sector.
Source: Government of South Africa