FAW assembly plant to boost growth target
10 July 2014
Port Elizabeth – The new First Automobile Works (FAW) South Africa vehicle assembly plant in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, will boost the country's efforts to achieve a growth target of 5% by 2019, says President Jacob Zuma.
“We have set a growth target of 5% by the year 2019. We view this occasion today as a key contribution towards attaining that goal. Growth is also possible if we, as government, actively support our partners in the private sector to create a positive environment for business to thrive,” said the President at the launch of the R600-million truck assembly production plant.
Located in Zone 2 of the COEGA IDZ, the production plant is funded jointly by China FAW Group Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund. It is one of the largest investments made by a Chinese company in the country.
President Zuma reiterated that the economy was a top priority for the term of the new administration.
“We have decided to place the economy on the centre stage because we believe that sustainable economic growth is possible if we seek meaningful partnerships locally and worldwide,” he said.
FAW SA has been in the South African market for 20 years, providing passenger and commercial vehicles. According to President Zuma, the company’s decision to locate their production facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone was a most welcome vote of confidence in the Eastern Cape province.
He said the R600-million investment in the South African economy will create much needed jobs and further improve the lives of many people in the area.
“This investment also augurs well for South Africa’s position within the global automotive manufacturing network and proves once again that we have an attractive operating environment to host global multinational companies.”
He trusted that the production plant would realise and even surpass its target of producing 5 000 trucks in the first phase, as well as other passenger and light vehicles.
Growing the automotive sector
The President said government remained committed to developing and growing the automotive sector in the country.
“Over the last 20 years, we have employed the Motor Industry Development Programme, and more recently the Automotive Production Development Programme, as the focal industrial policy instruments to transform our automotive industry,” he said.
President Zuma said the aim was to migrate the industry from a small assembly base to a globally competitive one, producing vehicles for both domestic and international markets.
He said government’s intention was to create an environment that would enable the domestic industry to significantly grow production volumes.
The country’s Vision 2020 strategy for the industry refers to the doubling of local vehicle production and broadening and deepening of component manufacture by the year 2020.
Investment support programme
The President also announced that the preparatory work towards establishing an investment support programme for the medium and heavy commercial vehicles sector had been completed.
He said the instrument will assist government to position South Africa as a destination of choice for the assembly of medium and heavy commercial vehicles.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Tian Xuejun, said in the 16 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between South Africa and China, the relationship has maintained a sound momentum of comprehensive and rapid development.
“We’ve both yielded abundant cooperation outcomes which benefited our people magnificently. Chinese companies recognise the development potential of South Africa, value the infrastructure and investment services and lay emphasis on listing the country as one of the top priorities in its expansion of the global market and the African market in particular.”
Xuejun said strengthening strategic partnerships with Africa was an established policy of the Chinese government.
He hoped the FAW assembly plant would eventually develop into a symbol project of the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Africa. – SAnews.gov.za