President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the announcement of further investment of R10 billion by Mercedes Benz to expand its car manufacturing plant in East London Picture: Supplied

East London - President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the decision by Mercedes-Benz to further increase its investment in South Africa was a firm statement of confidence in the country and its economy.

Mercedes Benz announced that it will invest €600 million, or R10 billion, into the expansion of the East London plant in South Africa. The upgrade will extend the production space of the existing plant by up to two-thirds to produce the next generation of the C-Class and also turn out the GLC SUVs.

Speaking at the launch, Ramaphosa said that Mercedes-Benz was not only investing in its own business but that it was investing in its many suppliers and in the development of the infrastructure that supports the production and export of its vehicles.

"This 'multiplier effect' is particularly strong in manufacturing, which typically requires many inputs from a wide range of suppliers from several different industries," Ramaphosa said.

"An increase in the production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles creates greater demand in several supplier industries, stimulating new investment and job creation in many other parts of the economy." 

"This 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."

Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said that the investment was a sign of their commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth.

African News Agency (ANA)