Thursday, 07 April 2022 14:48

Ramaphosa praises Isuzu SA at launch of new locally manufactured D-MAX.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to Isuzu Motors South Africa, saying the company's multi-billion rand investment for the production of the new Isuzu D-Max bakkie, was proof that South Africa was the gateway to Africa.

The President delivered an address at Thursday's official launch of the 7th generation D-Max bakkie at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

"I believe through your manufacturing capabilities here, you are making vehicles that go right into the heart of our continent. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is going to be a great boon and a great advantage to those businesses that want to grow exponentially."

"Ramaphosa also said that the Japanese company's R1.2 billion investment into the new project was a welcome contribution to efforts to significantly expand local production.

"The automotive industry is one of our economy’s most important sectors. It is a significant source of employment and small business development in the Eastern Cape, particularly in Gqeberha. I want to thank Isuzu Motors for supporting the localisation objectives contained in our Automotive Production Development Programme, "Ramaphosa said.

Isuzu Motors South Africa said around 1000 direct jobs were secure at its Gqeberha operations through this investment and many more in the value chain which is a directive of the South African Automotive Master Plan (SAAM).

"It also resulted in the strategic improvements and upgrades of the manufacturing plant in Struandale, together with the technology and skills development required to produce the seventh generation ISUZU D-MAX bakkie," said Billy Tom, President, and CEO of ISUZU Motors South Africa.

"Our sourcing strategy has enabled us to acquire plans and procure local manufacturers to design components needed for the manufacture of the next generation D-MAX. Through this process we have created at least 235 new job opportunities at local component manufacturers," he said.

Tom said the D-Max project was also an opportunity to drive its localisation plans to build and strengthen South African industry and to accompany them with regional value-chains.

Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, expressed his gratitude to the company for the massive investment.

"Your investment came at a very critical time in our Province when we are still pondering over the disinvestment of General Motors. Isuzu Motors South Africa rescued our situation in a very massive way and save the livelihoods of more than 1000 workers."

"May your investment multiply and you reap positive returns on your investment and grow your employment numbers at this plant because our people yearn for jobs," Mabuyane said.

Livestream Video Below:

Video Courtesy of Presidency.