Today saw the fruits of innovative work spanning some years culminate in the official opening the AIDC Automotive Incubation Centre by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The automotive industry in South Africa is amongst the least transformed, key contributing factors include the high barriers to entry in the sector. Small entrepreneurs who try to penetrate this industry are regularly found to be lacking in key competency areas which include, investment capital required for operations and a proven track record.
Nissan South Africa announced a ZAR3 billion investment into the local manufacturing of the latest version of the Navara pickup. The manufacture of the new Navara will be supported by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are incubated at the AIDC Automotive Incubation Centre which forms part of the Jobs Fund supported Nissan Investment Support Programme.
“The centre aims to catalyse transformation in the South African automotive industry through the incubation and development of black entrepreneurs as tier 2 suppliers of the industry. This support enables the SMEs to grow into larger entities that have the potential to create sustainable jobs,” said Najwah Allie-Edries, Head of the Jobs Fund.
“We must be deliberate in making the necessary investment to preserve jobs as well as to create jobs,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa at the event.
There are currently eight contracted incubatees who are supplying Nissan with components, ranging from bumpers to stillages, for the NP200 half ton bakkie. The success of the Centre thus far has capacitated these small and medium enterprises to be in a strong position to form part of the Navara production line. The latest investment by Nissan will also see the number of incubatees increase to 15.
Ramaphosa also commented on the significance of more jobs being created across the automotive value chain and welcomed the commitment to set up an incubation facility which will develop new suppliers and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills necessary for emerging black industrialists to play a meaningful role in the value chain of the automotive sector.
“We appreciate that this move by Nissan is due to confidence in the skills and competencies that have been developed through numerous innovative initiatives supported by the Jobs Fund, including the Learning and Incubation Centres,” replied Allie-Edries.
The Nissan Investment Support Programme was supported by an investment of ZAR120.8 million from the Jobs Fund and ZAR120.1 million from the Automotive Industry Development Centre.
An ecosystem of support has been created through the establishment of the Gauteng Automotive Learning Centre and Production Simulator which develops programmes for beneficiaries and candidates from Nissan SA as well as the rest of the industry, and also the Trade Testing Centre which provides centralised training certification for the automotive and allied sectors.