Motor industry leaders brought up a number of concerns, including foreign imports and rising energy prices, during a meeting with President Jacob Zuma in Port Elizabeth this week. In turn, the president has given instructions that these be looked at.

During his visit, Zuma outlined details of the government's Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which is set to replace the existing Motor Industry Development Programme in 2013.

Industry leaders had pointed out that for the APDP's goals to be achieved, several issues needed to be addressed, including more imports onto the domestic market; inadequate levels of local content; the performance of the global economy affecting demand; relatively cheaper vehicle components from low cost countries such as India and China; rising input costs, for example energy tariffs and port cargo duties; the relatively small size of South Africa’s market (less than 1% in global terms), and the distance to key vehicle markets.

“President Jacob Zuma has directed members of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordination Commission to follow up on the issues raised by the automotive sector during their meeting with the president in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday,” his spokesperson said.

The commission, which held its inaugural meeting in Pretoria earlier this month, is compiling a list of priority economic and social projects. It is chaired by Zuma. Among its aims is to remove logjams and speed up the planning of such projects. -Sapa