- Mercedes-Benz has announced a R10 billion investment in its East London car manufacturing plant
- The investment will transform the plant into a world-class facility and create hundreds of new jobs
- Ramaphosa said the investment proved that South Africa was capable of sustaining an advanced manufacturing sector
German luxury-car manufacturer and preferred transport mode of South African politicians Mercedes-Benz has announced that it would invest R10 billion in its East London manufacturing plant. The investment will expand the plant and transform it into one of the most advanced facilities in the world.
The investment is expected to create hundreds of jobs at the plant as Mercedes ramps up production and produces more vehicles. This will also lead to additional job creation as suppliers expand their own business to meet the increased demand from the plant.
The investment was announced by Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain member Markus Schäffer at an event attended by hundreds of Mercedes employees and dignitaries which included Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, Small Business and Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the news comes at a good time for Ramaphosa’s administration. While a general sense of optimism has been pervading the country since Ramaphosa took office, this optimism has failed to translate into significant economic growth and job opportunities.
Stats SA announced on Tuesday that 56 000 jobs had been created in the last quarter. Worryingly for Ramaphosa, the report showed that overall employment in the manufacturing, mining and transport sectors declined.
EWN.co.za reported that economists have warned that year-on-year employment figures are lower than they should be.
Schäffer said the expansion would make the plant greener, smarter and more environmentally friendly and would equip the plant to better deal with future plans.
He said the plant would become one of only four in the world which would build the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class which is the most popular and important model in the company’s portfolio.
The plant will also be manufacturing the GLC SUV for local and export markets.
Schäffer told DispatchLive.co.za that the investment was proof of the company’s commitment to South Africa and its efforts economic growth and promote socio-economic growth in the East London region.
President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the investment and said it showed that South Africa could sustain an advanced manufacturing sector.
Ramaphosa said Mercedes was not only investing in its own business but by expanding it business would promote growth throughout the sector as suppliers ramp up production to meet the increased demand from the new plant.
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