Pretoria- Economic Development Minister, Ebrahim Patel, has noted solid progress in government’s localization programme, namely in the minibus taxi industry.
South Africa has improved localization in this industry from zero percent of the annual local demand for taxis being assembled locally at the beginning of 2012 to about 50 percent in 2013.
“We have made significant progress in localizing the manufacturing and assembling of minibus taxis in South Africa. Some 12 months ago, none of the taxis on our roads were assembled in South Africa.
“Today about 50 percent of all taxis that are purchased, are made or assembled here in South Africa and we’re moving towards the target of localizing two thirds of assembly in the taxi industry by 2015,” he said.
Minister Patel said government will continue to invest millions of rands to improve localization of supplies in the manufacturing sector.
He said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has been mandated to develop a national localization strategy which will guide all spheres of government.
He said labour-absorptive capacity of local manufacturing industries must be boosted to help stimulate job creation and economic growth in South Africa, adding that a strong local manufacturing sector can have a positive impact on the country’s balance of payments.
“We are working partnership with a major manufacturer, Toyota, who has expanded the factory in eThekwini, as well as a partnership with the IDC and a Chinese manufacturer called the Beijing Automotive Works that has started a factory in Gauteng.
“All of this helps to support the Bi-local accord that government signed with social partners in October 2011. This for us is real progress, this is localization in action, this is how we create jobs,” he said.
These companies have already employed 220 people to assemble the taxis locally with the number set to increase significantly by 2015.
The South African government is leading a campaign to promote local procurement of supplies across all industries to boost the economy’s capacity to create decent jobs.
In October 2011 social partners that included representatives of government, business, labour and community-based structures signed a Local Procurement Accord and the partners have been making progress in its implementation.
Progress includes the local sourcing of 80 percent of all inputs and supplies in the manufacturing of bus bodies for the rapid public transport systems in the Tshwane, Cape Town and Johannesburg metropolitan municipalities.
All bus bodies, for the R327 million tender for Gauteng’s rapid transport scheme, will be sourced from the Gauteng-based manufacturer – Marco Polo. The chassis will be sourced from the East London based manufacturer Mercedes Benz. –SAnews.gov.za