Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday officiated over the Japanese automotive giant’s announcement of a R3 billion investment at its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria with a further 1 200 full-time jobs set to be created.
The investment comes following South Africa’s inaugural Investment Conference in the latter part of 2018. At the conference, South Africa announced that it wanted to raise R1.4 trillion over the course of the next five years.
“It’s a matter of great pride for us that many more motorists around the world will be driving vehicles that bear the industry and craftsmanship of South African workers,” said the Ramaphosa, welcoming the investment, he said many may have dismissed it as a “pipedream that “would never happen”.
The President, who toured the automotive manufacturer’s facility expressed pleasure at how machines have not taken over the production line of vehicles.
The investment will see Nissan produce its new Navara pick-up van for the local as well as international market. Production of the vehicle at the plant is due to commence next year.
“In this era of technological advancements and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we must be deliberate in making the necessary investment to preserving jobs as well as creating more jobs,” said the President.
Artificial intelligence, he said, must not be seen as being job destructive but as an advancement that can create jobs.
“Machines must enhance the work done by humans and not displace them. It’s significant that none of 1 800 workers here will lose their jobs; 400 new jobs will be created mainly in the manufacturing operations because of this new investment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nissan has disclosed that it invested R150 million in the training and up skilling of workers, which will prepare them for the future of work in an era of technological advancement.
Jobs and local content
Nissan, which has been in the country over the last 56 years, will add a further 1 200 full-time jobs across the value chain with the start of the production of the new Navara for the local and continental market.
“We see Africa as [a place] we can make a real contribution to and improve the lives of the people who live here through industrialisation,” said the company’s Africa Managing Director, Mike Whitfield.
The production of the vehicle will initially include a 35% local content element, which will be ramped up to reach 60% local content in total.
“This will generate an estimated R5.8 billion new economic value every year in the immediate region,” said Whitfield.
Speaking on the ease of doing business in South Africa, President Ramaphosa, who got an opportunity to get inside the new Navara vehicle, said government is taking steps to ensure the reliable availability of electricity.
“We are working closely with Eskom management and other stakeholders to fix operational issues,” he said.
In recent weeks, South Africans have experienced load shedding.
The President said the investment was a clear vote of confidence in South Africa’s automotive industry, which contributes 7.1% to the gross domestic product.
“This investment by Nissan is an expression of confidence. It’s a clear signal that we are on path of growth and renewal,” he said.
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