The decision to remove BMW South Africa from the list of bidders to produce a new model was not taken by the local company and nor could the decision be reversed by discussions with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).
Guy Kilfoil, a BMW SA spokesman, added yesterday that the company would “leave the rhetoric to the union” in a reference to Numsa’s claim that BMW was blackmailing it. But BMW SA would meet Numsa if approached.
He was responding to remarks made by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim at the weekend at the announcement of the end of the four-week strike in the retail motor industry, which followed a three-week strike in the motor manufacturing sector.
BMW SA said last week that it had been working hard to get a second model to produce at its Rosslyn plant, which would have created a significant number of new jobs, but had been removed from the list of bidders because of the strikes.
Kilfoil said BMW SA had lost the production of about 13 000 units and would be unable to catch up any of this lost output because it was operating at full capacity.
Leo Kok of Toyota South Africa Motors said the company hoped to be back in full production this week. It had lost 14 889 units because of the strike, some of which it would be unable to recover.
Lynette Skriker, a Mercedes-Benz South Africa spokeswoman, said it had resumed production but was not yet back to full capacity because of some component supply issues. The company could possibly recover all lost production.
Matt Gennrich at Volkswagen SA said it resumed normal production yesterday
Rella Bernardes, a Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa spokeswoman, said it had resumed normal production yesterday but had lost the production of about 10 000 units.
Denise van Huyssteen, a General Motors Africa spokeswoman, said it had lost the production of 250 vehicles a day during the strike. Normal production resumed on Thursday last week.
The Western Cape government will announce this week an allocation of more than R50 million that will be dedicated towards developing the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in the province over the next three years.
Alan Winde, the MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, will meet with technology entrepreneurs to discuss business ideas at the Bandwidth Barn tomorrow and Thursday.
Details of how the funding will be allocated would be announced at the briefing, his office said yesterday.
Consideration has been given to new skills interventions with tertiary institutions, incubation and ICT entrepreneurship programmes.
The funding comprised contributions from the government, the Jobs Fund and the private sector, Winde’s spokeswoman Bronwynne Jooste said.
The timing of the funding may raise eyebrows. The Western Cape, which is gaining prominence as a breeding ground for technology start-ups, is under the jurisdiction of the DA, which could be accused of scoring political points ahead of next year’s election.
Then again, the Canadian government is set to make an aggressive play for local technology entrepreneurs from next month when it launches a programme to recruit our bright sparks with the promise of visas and easier entry to the North American market, so there is no time to lose.
Earlier this week industry commentators said the latter event should be a cautionary to the South African government to reapply itself and create a more favourable environment for entrepreneurs.
But Jooste noted that development of the industry had always been an interest of the Western Cape government. “This ICT sector has been one of our key priority areas for some time, having been identified as one of the biggest growth sectors.”
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Roy Cokayne and Asha Speckman.