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Stumbling blocks but work on R3.4 billion Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone continues

Kelly Byrne, executive manager of Coega, provides an update on the development of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone. Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi

Kelly Byrne, executive manager of Coega, provides an update on the development of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone. Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi

Published Nov 6, 2020

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Pretoria - Despite tight deadlines and unexpected stumbling blocks, work on the R3.4 billion Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone continues.

According to Kelly Byrne, executive manager of the development company heading the automotive plant Coega, they are facing a great challenge with the deadline.

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“Ford Motor Company needs to be in production of the new Ford Ranger Raptor by December 2021, and by the time that happens all 12 suppliers need to start producing.”

Byrne said they were busy with earthworks and needed to get to top structures very soon.

“The time-lines are even tighter because not only do they have to be in production by December, the car components need to be sent in time to America to be tested and approved for production, and that poses a challenge.” Byrne said the intention was to give suppliers beneficial occupation by April so they could start to install their equipment, and between August and September start producing their first samples.

“Be that as it may be, they are still well on track ,just with heightened pressure,” Byrne said.

Some delays were due to the pandemic, with clearing of the site, groundwork and installation of bulk infrastructure under way.

The lockdown had delayed the project by several months and affected the disbursement of the initial funds for clearing of the site and commencement of the bulk infrastructure implementation.

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Extensive design work was done, and the construction teams were on site from the beginning of August, and significant earthworks were completed over the past month.

By the end of August, more than 95 000m² of the main site adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant had been cleared, with more than 10 500m³ of top soil hauled or stockpiled for construction.

Senior executive at Ford Motor Company, Ockert Berry, said the project’s board had developed a comprehensive recovery plan with all key stakeholders to ensure that the project met the targeted deadlines for the bulk infrastructure to be completed and the top structures to be built.

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“We are confident that most of our suppliers will be able to take occupation of their facilities as planned during the first half of 2021, thanks to the commitment of the appointed contractors.”

Once completed, the economic zone will span 204ha of land currently owned by the City of Tshwane.

With the economic empowerment of local communities being one of the overarching principles, the board has established a community engagement framework to drive this process.

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