Construction of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has been officially launched by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. The US $236m project is funded by the government of South Africa and will be located in Silverton next to the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) plant. The SEZ will act as an automotive component supplier industrial park.
In partnership with a public-private entity, the SEZ will support FMCSA’s ambition to become the world’s largest Ford Ranger pickup plant after the Thailand plant, which is currently the largest production site. FMCSA MD Neale Hill while speaking at the launch ceremony said that the current Ranger production stands at 100,000 and they aim to increase it to 200,000 units in the next three to four years.
Phase I and II of the project
Additionally, the SEZ which occupies 162 ha of land will be developed in phases with the first phase of 81 ha set to house nine suppliers. According to government officials, phase 1 of the project will create 6,700 new jobs. Mr. Nill noted that nine suppliers would be new while some would be relocating to the new development. He added that they expect operations by the end of 2020.
Moreover, Mr. Hill said that the development of phase 2 was imminent noting that phase 1 had been oversubscribed. Apart from phase 1 tenants, four more suppliers indicated they would be interested in moving to the SEZ. Hill said the SEZ will increase efficiency at Silverton Ranger plant as it will improve the speed at which components are delivered to the plant.
“Once a project is launched let’s unlock the energy in all of us and let’s get South Africa working and moving,” President Ramaphosa said after cutting the sod. Currently, there are ten SEZs in South Africa.