US Ford Motor Company’s decision to work with the South African government to establish the first automotive hub at the Special Economic Zone in Pretoria “is encouraging,” President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president said this on Tuesday, 5 November 2019, during a ground-breaking ceremony of the automotive hub, which is part of the expansion of the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the capital.
“This (hub) is immensely encouraging, and comes at a time when business, government, labour and civil society must work together to resolve the twin challenges of slow economic growth and unemployment,” Ramaphosa said.
The hub is expected to create over 5 000 jobs once fully operational, and that this would result in a few new business opportunities to nearby communities of Pretoria.
The president said there were several benefits for bringing business to a SEZ, such as a preferential corporate tax regime, building allowances, employee tax incentives, favourable customs regulations, VAT exemptions and support for capital investment and training.
“The development of the Pretoria Automotive SEZ will contribute more broadly to the development of black industrialists in the country and enable the Ford Motor Company to help expand its automotive footprint in South Africa through the attraction of its global suppliers into the country,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that the initiative was proof that partnership between government and the private sector was vital in driving the development agenda of the country.
“The government’s new region-based model for special economic zones is an important new tool to attract domestic and international investment, which will help businesses to become more competitive on a global scale,” Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa Chief Executive Neale Hill said.
Hill added that the launch of the automotive SEZ was a milestone achievement following five years of negotiations between Ford Motor Company and government.