Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink has hailed the BMW Rosslyn plant, which recently announced a R4.2 billion investment, as an important part of the local economy because of its potential for creating jobs and opportunities for the country’s automotive manufacturing industries.
Brink visited the plant this week with the DA leader John Steenhuiseun, who on Tuesday launched the party’s voter registration campaign in Soweto ahead of the 2024 general election.
His visit to the plant in Tshwane aimed to highlight the importance of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to South Africa’s economy and foreign exports.
There had been concerns that South Africa could lose out on Agoa’s benefits from the US government because of the country’s neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Brink said: “Part of our export market for this plant is the United States and access to the United States markets without all sorts of tariffs and other blockages is crucial and that is why Agoa is so very much important not just to Tshwane but to South Africa.”
He pleaded with people to understand the importance of Agoa and the component it formed “of our economy and job opportunities and opportunities for growth in future”.
“BMW competitiveness in the world depends on Agoa. The United States is the second largest export market for the cars manufactured here. And with the changes in Europe that might even become a bigger export market.
“It is important for ordinary people to understand that this is not about international politics, this is bread and butter and this is jobs and opportunities for this country,” Brink said.
During the 50th anniversary celebration of the BMW Group plant in Rosslyn, it was made known the car manufacturer would invest R4.2 billion in the plant over a five-year period.
The investment would be for the production of the BMW X3 in South Africa as a plug-in hybrid, and export to the rest of the world.
The event was attended by Deputy President Paul Mashatile and Tshwane MMC Hannes Coetzee.
Coetzee said: “The investment in electrification and digitalisation shows BMW’s commitment to South Africa. More than 23 000 individuals who are directly and indirectly employed at the BMW Group South Africa’s facilities and across its supply chain will have stable futures, as will BMW Group Plant Rosslyn.”