Automotive sector must transform

Pretoria - Transformation of the automotive industry, which can lead to inclusive growth, is not negotiable, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Speaking at the inaugural National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) Show and Localisation Indaba at the Durban International Convention Centre on Wednesday, the Minister said the industry can advance growth of the manufacturing sector.

“This industry is vital to South Africa’s industrialisation, specifically and most importantly to the manufacturing sector of the economy. The industry’s contribution to gross domestic production (GDP) is estimated at 7.5%, with 113 000 people directly employed in the vehicle assembly and components supply industry. Importantly, 82 000 people of this total employment figure are directly employed in the auto component industry,” said Minister Davies.

He said transformation will ensure that the automotive industry is representative, in line with the national demographics profile.

With the correct support, Minister Davies said the industry can create much needed jobs.

According to Minister Davies, component imports have surged to historical levels at R50 billion, while local content in vehicles has declined to below 39%. Minister Davies said auto component employment has remained a concern, as it has somewhat stagnated.

“Through the 2035 SA Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) process, we are seeking to arrest some of the APDP [Automotive Production and Development Programme] drawbacks, while also ensuring that the long trajectory of industry growth is ensured.”

“This masterplan process is also making us realise that to ensure the long-term sustainability of the automotive assembly and component industry, all the partners, including government, industry and labour, have to make sacrifices,” said Minister Davies.

Automotive industry can address challenges

The President of NAACAM, Dave Coffey, said the automotive industry has the capability to address the challenges facing the economy.

Coffey said investing in value addition to products, keeping up with technology and supporting the development of key policies of the industry can be a shot in the arm for the industry.

A total of 181 companies are exhibiting at the NAACAM show and 34 are black owned. – SAnews.gov.za