Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone races to meet June 2021 deadline

Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) in Silverton, Tshwane, is a hive of activity as construction companies race to meet the June 2021 deadline to complete the economic zone.

Once complete, TASEZ, which is strategically situated next to the Ford headquarters in Silverton, will house a number of automotive component manufacturers, who will supply parts to Ford Motors Company South Africa (FMCSA).

Launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2019, the R4.3 billion project brings together the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Tshwane in partnership with the private sector through Ford. 

The multi-layered partnership is set to boost Ford’s ambition to become the world’s largest Ford Ranger pickup plant.

Nestled between the townships of Mamelodi and Nellmapius, the TASEZ forms part of government’s automotive masterplan that is geared to shape Tshwane as a smart city, while creating much needed jobs through the automotive industry.

Speaking to SAnews on Thursday, the dtic’s Special Economic Zones Deputy Director General, Sipho Zikode, says the project demonstrates the magic that happens when public and private partners collaborate for a bigger purpose.

“The project is galloping at a very high rate, thanks to Ford and all the spheres of government that are involved in making this project a reality. This is an example of what can happen if government collaborates with the private sector in developing industries in our localities,” said Zikode.

TASEZ Executive Manager, Msokoli Ntombana, says the project currently has 12 investors, who, combined make up the investment of R4.3 billion, while government will invest R3.8 billion.

“Investors that will be taking occupation will create about 2 088 permanent jobs, and during construction, we are looking at about 8 557 jobs that will be created,” said Ntombana.  

In an effort to empower small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), at least R1.5 billion of the project procurement spend has been set aside for SMMEs that reside within the area.

Moago Construction is among the 16 SMMEs and construction companies appointed for a short-term contract to do bulk earthworks at the TASEZ construction site, through a sub-contracting opportunity.

The company’s Director, Benny Serepong, says the opportunity was a silver lining after the dark cloud of COVID-19, which halted many construction jobs that were in the pipeline.

“We went through a tough year due to COVID-19. Business was tough and this opportunity came at the right time. We are being exposed to areas that were not necessarily exposed to in a sense that bulk services is something that we had not done before. It’s the first time as Moago that we were doing bulk services.”

The TASEZ contract enabled Serepong’s company to offer short-term employment to 39 people; 70% are from the local areas of Mamelodi and Nellmapius.

While the project is set to create jobs for locals, Coega Development Corporation Executive Manager, Kelly Byrne, who spearheads the initiative as project manager, says the TASEZ forms part of a bigger value chain.

“It generates a whole value chain because the vehicles that are produced here… [will also] be exported out of the country.

“We have a rail network from here to Port Elizabeth where the exports will go… All of that is South African job creation.

“In terms of the Gross Domestic Product and employment for South Afric,a that is quite significant,” said Byrne.

According to the dtic, government’s localisation policy imperatives in this project have been surpassed. Currently, 45% local businesses have been empowered in the construction phase.

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