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The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) CEO, Mikel Mabasa, has welcomed government’s commitment to economic stabilisation and the investment drive in the country.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening during a hybrid Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

“Since the start of [the COVID-19 pandemic], the President has announced over R800 billion fiscal  and monetary intervention; the COVID-19 social relief of distress has been extended by three months, and R57 billion in wages through the special Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) scheme amongst other stimulus relief made available by government,” Mabasa said on Friday.

Naamsa said the President’s reference to the ongoing announcements of significant investments in the country’s automotive industry underscores the confidence in the country by the automotive industry and all its multinational corporations’ partners.

During his SONA speech, the President said by the end of 2020, the sector had recovered around 70% of its normal annual production under challenging circumstances.

“The automotive sector’s recent investment announcements prove that the industry is committed to the country’s economic recovery and growth prospects. Ford Motor Company announced a R16 billion investment to expand its manufacturing facility in Tshwane for the next-generation Ford Ranger bakkie.

“This investment will support the growth of around 12 small and medium enterprises in the automotive component manufacturing. The Tshwane Special Economic Zone procurement spend on construction amounting to R1.7 billion will be allocated for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs),” President Ramaphosa said.

Toyota has invested in their KwaZulu-Natal facility to start production of the first generation of hybrid electric vehicles to come off a South African assembly line.

“This follows investment announcements by Nissan, Mercedes Benz and Isuzu in expanded production facilities, all of which cement South Africa’s position as a global player in auto manufacturing,” the President said.

Naamsa said in addition, the R6 billion Automotive Industry Transformation Fund industry-wide initiative — earmarked to transform the industry by broadening and deepening the participation of black and historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs — is now fully operational.

“The South African automotive industry remains the most dynamic manufacturing sector in the South African economy and is a significant driver of economic growth and development for the country,” Naamsa said.

The automotive industry contributes 6.4% to gross domestic product (GDP) [4.0% manufacturing and 2.4% retail] and in 2019, the total automotive revenue in South Africa amounted to R500 billion.

SAnews.gov.za

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