Vehicle manufacturer, Mercedes Benz, has reaffirmed its investment commitment to the Eastern Cape as it ploughed a further R3 billion to its plant in East London. This investment comes to a total of R13 billion since 2018.
It is expected to create 600 new jobs and 2 000 potential jobs for supplier companies. This was revealed during the launch of the latest edition of the Mercedes Benz W2O6 C Class in East London.
This investment comes at a time where the economy has taken a knock due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest unemployment figures show that Eastern Cape has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
The automotive sector is seen as the backbone of the province’s economy. “Most importantly to contribute meaningfully, making the automotive industry the most competitive in Africa. Let’s continue to produce the best Mercedes Benz C Class out of Africa for the world,” says Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Engling.
Mercedes Benz launches its new C-Class generation:
Unions have welcomed the investment.
“I must say that speaking for the workers, we really appreciate it. We are not just celebrating a car here, we are celebrating sustained skills, workers who have given Germany confidence to continue to say we will invest in East London,” says Numsa General-Secretary, Irvin Jim.
More investors are expected to invest in the province.
“Along with Mercedes Benz, a total of 12 pledges have been made at the South African Conference on investment covering the Eastern Cape with commitment to sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure here in the Eastern Cape,” says Department of Trade and Industry Minister, Ibrahim Patel.
The government is urging the private sector to invest more in order to boost the economy.