Zuma to visit E Cape auto manufacturers

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Thando Cezula

East London - President Jacob Zuma and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel will next week meet with Eastern Cape automotive sector representatives in a bid to stave off the effects of the global economic crisis. 

Zuma and Patel will visit the province's four motor manufacturers - Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and General Motors - in East London and Port Elizabeth.

"The President's visit is critical and welcomed in the context of storm clouds gathering over the global economy, and the need to ensure that we are more prepared than last time to confront the potential fallout," said Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Mcebisi Jonas.

He was referring to the economic crisis between 2007 and 2009 that resulted in the province losing some critical component manufacturers.

"Although the sector seems to be recovering, we need to be extremely careful of the risks brewing in the global economy, particularly in Europe, the Eastern Cape automotive sector's most strategic partner," added Jonas.

He said Zuma will familiarise himself with issues facing the province's four original equipment manufacturers suppliers (OEMS) as well as the component suppliers, identify the needs of the newly established Eastern Cape Automotive Cluster and find out how the province intends to support the sector, given the critical role of local cluster support mechanisms globally.

"It's time the province put its value proposition on the table. We know the President is keen to hear how the sector is performing, especially the OEMS and component suppliers, and how they are responding to the support currently being provided by government," said Jonas.

Jonas said Zuma's visit was perfectly timed to support some of the emerging areas of potential in the province's automotive sector.

The automotive representatives will be led by National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and Volkswagen SA managing director, David Powels, and the National Association of Automotive Component Allied Manufacturers' Roger Pitout. - BuaNews

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