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Government and Corporate Capital Investment in the Eastern Cape

VW Invests billions in Uitenhage


Thomas Schaefer, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) announced the next phase of major new investments in the factory in Uitenhage, its supplier base and the training of employees for the next generation of products to be manufactured in South Africa.
The estimated R4.5 billion investment includes over R3 billion in production facilities and quality, around R1.5 billion in local supplier capacity and a further estimated R22 million for the development and training of employees.
This will be the first time that a version of the Modular Transverse Matrix platform will be utilised in South Africa featuring the latest technologies and driver assistance systems. This will be built for both the local and export markets. Further details will become available once VWSA announces which new models will be produced at the Uitenhage plant.
Between 2007 and 2014 VWSA invested some R5.9 billion in South Africa; this was for the current generation Polo and Polo Vivo as well as plant and infrastructure.
The Polo is also produced for exports and some 66 000 4-door Polo’s are expected to be exported to mostly right hand drive markets in 2015, a 21% increase over 2014. The current localisation level is around 72% and the new models are expected to have an even higher level of local content.
Schaefer also used the opportunity to update the media on various aspects of the motor industry and VWSA’s performance in the local market.
“South Africa is not a logical production location for the motor industry as only 0.6% of the world’s vehicle production is situated here, said Schaefer.
“However owing to the strategic location and the potential of Africa as a future market for exports, as well as the security that the APDP provides for investors, on-going investment in our vehicle manufacturing base makes sense.
“Hence the decision by our parent company to allow us to embark on such a major new investment. Exports will again play a key role in our strategy going forward.
“We are very grateful to the Board in Germany for this vote of confidence in our country, management and employees and we will ensure that we deliver on our commitments.”
Volkswagen Group South Africa has dominated the passenger market for the last five years and continues to do so in 2015 with a year-to-date market share of 21.4%.
“On-going investment in new technologies and products will ensure that Volkswagen is positioned to continue to be the dominant player in the South African passenger market.” concluded Schaefer.
The Polo Vivo and Polo have been the number one and two sellers respectively in the local market since they both were launched in early 2010. Volkswagen Group South Africa highlights include:
•Volkswagen Group South Africa to invest in excess of R4.5 billion by 2017 for new products and infrastructure
•Volkswagen Group South Africa announces plans to invest over R4.5 billion for new models to be produced at the Uitenhage factory by 2017.
•New model to be built on the MQB platform and will feature new technologies and driver assistance systems.
•Volkswagen Group South Africa continues to dominate the passenger market with a share of 21.4%.
•Export volumes of Polo in 2015 expected to increase by 21% over 2014.
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“On-going investment in new technologies and products will ensure that Volkswagen is positioned to continue to be the dominant player in the South African passenger market.”
- Thomas Schaefer

Goodyear South Africa to invest ZAR670 million to increase High-Value-Added production at Uitenhage Tyre Factory

Port Elizabeth, South Africa - 15th September 2015: Goodyear South Africa today announced it will invest ZAR670 million to increase production of high-value-added (HVA) consumer tyres at its Uitenhage manufacturing plant to drive profitable growth and meet market demands.

The investment plan would see the introduction of state-of-the-art manufacturing technology for the plant and will enable Goodyear to meet the strong and growing market demand for HVA consumer tyres in South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa. The tyre market in South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa is expected to experience double-digit growth through 2020 led by the consumer segment.

"This is an important investment by Goodyear and is consistent with our strategy to serve the needs of our customers and the company's focus to invest in high return projects that drive profitable growth," said Jean-Jacques Wiroth, managing director of Goodyear South Africa.

The new technology and accompanying comprehensive employee training will further improve the plant's capability and capacity to produce Low Rolling Resistance tyres that promote fuel economy in vehicles to meet the growing demand from vehicle manufacturers and the replacement market, as well as meet the increase in market requirements for HVA 4X4 SUV tyres.

To allow for this expansion, Goodyear South Africa also proposes to relocate the plant's production of Medium Radial Truck tyres (MRT) to other plants across the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Under the proposals, Goodyear has affirmed its intention to consult with the union
representatives and employees who are currently working in the MRT area to minimise the impact through offering a variety of alternatives.

Subject to consultation, the company expects to be substantially complete with the investment plans by the end of 2016 or early 2017. The company does not anticipate disruption to tyre services or supply during this period.

Goodyear South Africa will continue to communicate with union representatives, employees, customers, business partners and local authorities in an on-going dialogue together throughout the consultation process.

UItenhage Tourism


South Africa’s tourism sector is emerging as one of the most important pillars of the country’s economy in terms of growth and competition with other emerging economies of the world.
This industry contributes significantly towards the creation of employment, growing the economy and developing entrepreneurs. It presents opportunities for self-employment, it contributes to rural and urban development andforeign exchange earnings.
Tourism Month is an annual celebration held in September to focus on the importance of tourism to the economy of South Africa. An additional purpose is to alert locals to the attractions within their own areas.
The locals are considered to be the best tourists and Tourism Month aims to increase civic pride and enable the residents to persuade visitors to spend at least an extra night in the province which will furtherboost the local economy.
In aid of this and to celebrate Tourism Month, the ECPTA has planned initiatives that will showcase the area to residents and visitors alike.
The ECPTA manages some incredibly diverse Nature Reserves in the Eastern Cape. A Promotional Campaign called “Go Wild” has been launched to increase awareness of the Wild Coast Provincial reserves and ultimately to increase the bookings.
The stunning coastal nature reserves like Silaka, Hluleka, Dwesa and the spectacular Mkhambathi offer more than just natural splendour. And this Tourism Month the ECPTA will be offering a 20% discount on all bookings for the months of September, October and November 2015.
The beautiful Groendal Wilderness Area is the only established wilderness area in the Eastern Cape roughly10km from Uitenhage, renowned for its remoteness and myriad hiking trails.
Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) encourages visitors to the Groendal Wilderness area to enjoy a Hiking Trail Challenge during the month of September. Nature lovers and hikers will be encouraged to take up the Groendal Wilderness Hiking Trail Challenge hiking two or more separate trails featured in this hidden gem.
The reserve offers both marked and unmarked trails that include the relatively easy 16km Blindekloof trail that takes hikers to Crystal Cavern Pool, and a short 4km circular trail to the picnic area that is good for families.
Members of the public will be able to access the reserves at no charge during the month of September. The open days will take place on each Saturday and Sunday in September.
Groendal photographic challenge

Nuclear Power Plan: Thyspunt, Oysterbay

Many of you are aware that Thyspunt at Oyster Bay has been identified as one of the sites for a nuclear plant along the Garden route to alleviate the power shortage in the country. I thought this excerpt of an article by Bev Mortimer of the Chronicle newspaper would be of interest to you.  

"The construction of a nuclear power plant is definitely going to happen and soon. “It is not a case of if, but when,” says Dr Kelvin Kemm, a nuclear physicist who heads up Nuclear Africa, a private project management company. He has recently been appointed to the special South African Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy (MACE). He also sits on two prominent nuclear boards in the US.

If the Thyspunt site at Oyster Bay is approved as the preferred site for the construction of a nuclear power plant the reactors will be built about 500 metres away from this spot on the 3800 hectare site and construction could start as early as 2016. He told St Francis Chronicle that the nuclear procurement process is imminent. This process involves the bidding for nuclear components.

Dr Kemm points out that the long awaited EIA draft for the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site is currently with the Department of Environmental Affairs and it's release is scheduled very soon. Following this, the Department needs to take a Record of Decision and then submit it to the Minister of Energy for a final approval. Provided there is no hold up, construction of the first of three nuclear power stations could start next year, Dr Kemm advises.

Interviewed last week by John Robbie on 702, Dr Kemm said that nuclear power provides consistent electricity, whereas solar and wind technologies are variable. They have their benefits but they cannot supply baseline electricity.

In an aside and talking on the benefits of nuclear, Dr Kemm revealed that South Africa is the second highest exporter of nuclear medicine in the world and one of the world leaders in medical radioisotope production. The country exports more than R1-billion worth of nuclear medicine annually from South Africa. “Nuclear components have many uses… there are even silicon chips in cell phones which were processed in the Safari nuclear reactor near Pretoria,” he added."

What does this mean for You if you are thinking of buying property?
*  Nuclear power is safe - how many of us visit Cape Town without a thought for Koeberg?
* Once announced, sellers will either withdraw their properties from the market,unreasonably increase their prices or be less negotiable.
* Or, once you make an offer, the seller will decide he wants more than his listed price!
* There will be HUGE demand for rental properties in a current market which is already strained - great opportunity for the buy to let investor.
* Security estates will attract the most attention as will lock up and go type housing      
 

Nuclear Power Plant: Thyspunt, Oysterbay

By Bev Mortimer

The construction of a nuclear power plant is definitely going to happen and soon. “It is not a case of if, but when,” says Dr Kelvin Kemm, a nuclear physicist who heads up Nuclear Africa, a private project management company.

Dr Kemm is a nuclear physicist, who has recently been appointed to the special South African Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy (MACE). He also sits on two prominent nuclear boards in the US.

 If the Thyspunt site is approved for the construction of a nuclea power plantm the reactors will be built about 500 metres away from this spot.Dr Kemm made these remarks during his visit to the 3 800 hectare Thyspunt site earlier this month.  Thyspunt is one of three proposed nuclear sites.  

 Dr Kemm believes construction could start as early as 2016.  And he told St Francis Chronicle that the nuclear procurement process is imminent. This process involves the bidding for nuclear components.

Dr Kemm points out that the long awaited EIA draft for the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site is currently with the Department of Environmental Affairs. This report is scheduled to be released very soon. Then there will be a public participation process with public meetings, expected to start in September. Following this the Department needs to take a Record of Decision and then the process moves to the Minister of Energy for a decision. Approval for one of the three sites to be used for the construction of another nuclear power plant in South Africa could be given as early as April 2016.

 Provided there is no hold up, construction of the first of three nuclear power stations could start next year, Dr Kemm advises.

Under South Africa’s current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, the intention is to introduce 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity, or some six to eight reactors, between 2023 and 2030. The Department of Energy has said that it will “follow the approved procurement process, which will include a competitive-bidding process that is transparent and cost effective and in line with legislation”.

While most local businesses believe Thyspunt will be good for St Francis Bay and the whole Kouga region in a flagging economy, not everyone in the idyllic town is pro-nuclear.

One of the main local antagonists is the Thyspunt Alliance which maintains it is not anti-nuclear but is opposed to a nuclear power plant being constructed at Thyspunt, only 10 kms away from St Francis Bay.  Trudi Malan who heads up the Alliance was reported last week to have told an online business news website that the site was not suitable for various reasons, including fears that it could negatively affect the local chokka industry. On the Thyspunt Alliance blogspot it states that "a War Chest" has been established "to raise funds for a possible legal challenge".

Interviewed last week by John Robbie on 702, Dr Kemm said that nuclear power provides consistent electricity, whereas solar and wind technologies are variable.

They have their benefits but they cannot supply baseline electricity One needs to have a baseline technology that will consistently supply electricity, he said, adding that a wind farm went four times to zero in a month recently. One cannot have electricity kicking out in the middle of a heart surgery, Dr Kemm stressed. .Asked if nuclear was the way to go he replied “Absolutely! There is no option!”

 Dr Kemm also told St Francis Chronicle that South Africa should have started already with nuclear, but there has been stalling. “The whole new nuclear power build programme has reached the point where we need to start moving to the implementation of the build, with specific dates in mind.”

Dr Kemm quoted the environmental manager of Eskom, Deidre Herbst, who spoke recently at the Nuclear Africa 2015 conference on how much work had been done to categorise the proposed sites for the new nuclear construction.  Herbst revealed potential sites have been drilled to gather information on the geology below ground, meteorological measurements have been taken for years (so weather patterns over the areas are really well known) and the fauna and flora have been studied in minute detail, plus ocean areas were examined.

Dr Kemm said the conference clearly showed the vast potential of nuclear power for Africa and also indicated that South Africa is ready to start building right now. “We need to get going!

“The first site is ready for use. A few legal procedures are left and then we are ready to roll,” Dr Kemm said.

 In an aside and talking on the benefits of nuclear, Dr Kemm revealed that South Africa is the second highest exporter of nuclear medicine in the world and one of the world leaders in medical radioisotope production. The country exports more than R1-billion worth of nuclear medicine annually from South Africa.

“Nuclear components have many uses… there are even silicon chips in cell phones which were processed in the Safari nuclear reactor near Pretoria,” he added.