President Cyril Ramaphosa says the cash injection by Mercedes-Benz in South Africa is proof of its confidence in the economy.
“The decision by Mercedes-Benz to further increase its investment in South Africa is a firm statement of confidence in the country and its economy.
“It is a statement about the skills that are available in South Africa and those that can be developed,” said the President.
On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its R10 billion investment into its Eastern Cape plant. The investment will see the car manufacturer produce its latest range of the luxury C-Class cars.
“With the investment of 600 Million Euro (R10 billion) we are significantly expanding our plant in East London and equipping it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
“The investment is also a sign of our commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region,” said Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, Markus Schäfer.
President Ramaphosa, who visited the Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy prior to the official investment announcement, hailed the automotive group’s efforts to improving the skills of the youth through its apprenticeship and learnership programmes.
“We say this is an investment in people because it deepens the commitment that Mercedes-Benz has to developing skills and nurturing talent.
“It understands that for its business to grow, for it to keep pace with rapid changes in production methods, it needs to train new entrants and continuously upgrade the skills of existing employees,” said the President.
Fertile ground for investment
President Ramaphosa said the Mercedes-Benz investment should send a clear signal to investors around the world that South Africa is “more than capable of sustaining an advanced manufacturing sector” and doing so profitably and sustainably.
“We are also determined to lower manufacturing costs by, among other things, significantly improving Eskom’s financial and operational performance, aligning port and other tariffs with our industrial strategy and sustaining investment in rail and road infrastructure.