Manufacturing sees job growth, increased car production, says Patel

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Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel says more than 6 000 additional jobs and a significant increase in the production of cars have been recorded in the manufacturing sector compared to five years ago.

Speaking to the media at the Isuzu plant in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, Patel gives an update on the implementation of the Automotive Industry Master Plan.

The automotive industry master plan aims to grow South Africa’s vehicle production to 1% of the global output of vehicles by 2035.

“So, for every car that we produce, there are many other jobs that are sustained in the ecosystem and this industry has been a big driver of our foreign exchange. The money that we need to pay for the petrol, the money we need for petrol that we need to import from other parts of the world comes in part our exports of cars to other parts of the world.”

Minister Ebrahim Patel at MEDTECH Master Plan launch: 

Electric vehicles

The production of electric vehicles (EVs) is seen as a key component to fuel growth in the industry.

Last year, the Department of Trade and Industry released a white paper which outlined a comprehensive electric vehicle roadmap for South Africa.

The automotive sector says it’s vital for the government to implement laws and policies on the production of EVs, to enhance South Africa’s competitive global output.

NAAMSA CEO Mikel Mabasa says, “The automotive industry is going through a very major transformative journey and we always argue that our industry is going to change faster in the next 10 years than it did in the last 100. And because of this new evolution, we are absolutely very comfortable that the Minister has really laid a very firm foundation for the industry to be able to get into this new journey over the next centenary in order to be able to take it to greater heights.”

NUMSA’s General Secretary Irvin Jim says the automotive sector has done well in tackling poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

“There is a particular focus in driving and taking ownership of all our minerals beneficiating them, diversifying them, championing manufacturing and industrialisation, creating proper quality jobs that can pay a living wage that is in the best interest of South Africans who are languishing in poverty, unemployment, and inequality.”