Corolla’s R2.6bn investment set to boost economy and push SA into green future - Ramaphosa
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Durban - With a significant investment of R2.6 billion into the country’s economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that he is looking forward to seeing the new Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid vehicle on South African roads.
Ramaphosa was conducting an oversight visit at Toyota South Africa Motor’s (TSAM) production plant in Durban to officiate the launch of the Cross Hybrid vehicle, a first generation of hybrid automobiles to be produced on a South African assembly line.
He was joined by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala and Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay and TSAM CEO Andrew Kirby.
Ramaphosa said that the start of the Corolla Cross project was an important step for the country in transforming the car-making business into a green industry success story. He also paid tribute to the late Dr Johan Van Zyl, the former CEO and executive chairperson of Toyota who died in July from Covid-19 complications.
With South Africa’s automotive sector serving as a key contributor to the country's GDP and accounting for around 100 000 jobs, Ramaphosa said the Automotive Production Development Programme, which came into operation in July, aims to grow the industry in South Africa over a 15 year period to reach 1% of global production.
“We have identified three key priorities for climate action: for Eskom to reduce its carbon emissions, for electric vehicles to be produced in South Africa, and for the green hydrogen economy to be fast-tracked locally. Government published a draft paper for public comment on a roadmap to the production of fully-electric vehicles, which will be taken further based on the discussions with international partners and the local industry.
“The launch of the Corolla Cross Hybrid is an important step on our path to transforming the car-making business into a green industry success story. It will take hard work. But we must do it. Today is about celebration, about a new milestone we have reached locally. I would like to congratulate Toyota on this launch and look forward to seeing the Corolla Cross on our roads,” the president said during his speech at the launch.
With just a week left before South Africans take to the polls for the local government elections, another murder of a councillor candidate has rocked KZN, this time, on the day that President Cyril Ramaphosa descended on the province.
The deceased candidate, Dumisani Qwabe, a member of the National Freedom Party (NFP) in Nongoma who was running for councillor in ward 17, was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning in his car, which was burning.
Qwabe’s murder comes just a day after Kaunda revealed that the eThekwini municipality has spent R70 million to guard councillors whose lives are under threat. Kaunda was speaking during an ANC hosted event on Monday.
He said they felt they had a duty to protect them even before the SAPS was done with its security threat assessments, but he did not specify how many councillors were given a security team.
“I think that’s where the challenge is, the SAPS do not have the capacity adequate to assess councillors, I am sure all municipalities have met a similar challenge of delays when it comes to that. In the whole province, there were only three people designated to conduct threat assessments.
“So you can’t have a municipality that folds its hands. For the period from July to September, we have spent about R70 million in that quarter alone. So that shows the mandate of investing when it comes to security,” Kaunda said.
The NFP expressed its shock on Tuesday following the killing of their councillor candidate. NFP secretary general Canaan Mdletshe revealed in a statement the details the party had regarding Qwabe’s death.
"It's a worrisome situation as this happens just five days before the elections. As things stand, our candidates in Nongoma are in fear. They are scared to continue with campaigns and this does not augur well for democracy in general,” Mdletshe said.
The NFP candidate’s death comes at a time when the province has been identified as an epicentre of political killings, as the fight to claim a councillor seat rages on across KZN municipalities. Six politically connected killings are currently being investigated in the province, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.