Strand Hardware Interactive Event – 21 June 2024

Strand Hardware Interactive Event – 21 June 2024

Join us for an interactive morning at Strand Hardware on Friday, 21 June 2024.

Strand Hardware are specialists in woodworking machinery but also assisting day-to-day DIY customers, offering monthly workshops and demos and provide an online store and nationwide delivery.

DATE:       Friday, 21 June 2024
TIME:        08:00 for 08:30
VENUE:    Walmer Down Family Centre, William Moffett Expressway, Nelson Mandela Bay

Click on the button below to book your seat!

Collaboration key to future Africa success story

Collaboration key to future Africa success story

By now, most of us have heard the African continent being labelled as “the next frontier” – perhaps more times than we can count. This repetition notwithstanding, the truth that lies behind this phrase is that the African continent promises significant growth and development opportunities – at the same time that trade will be bolstered by government commitment in the form of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

I have previously written in this very forum about the benefits of the AfCFTA for exporters. Signed by the heads of 54 African countries, the AfCFTA agreement lays the foundation in which many industries are building their African aspirations. The World Economic Forum, in its report “AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa”, highlights that the AfCFTA creates a single market projected to grow to 1,7 billion people and $6.7 trillion in consumer and business spending by 2030 – only six years from now.

Moreover, the World Bank projects that the AfCFTA could “lift 50 million people out of poverty, raise overall incomes by 8%, increase intra-African exports by up to 109%, and increase international exports by 32% by 2035”. To go into specific examples, a high-yield industry such as automotive manufacturing is expected to grow to more than $42 billion by 2027, while intra-African trade in agriculture is expected to increase by 574% by 2030 (provided import tariffs are eliminated under the agreement).

With this kind of advancement, who could doubt the potential of Africa?

That being said, potential needs the right circumstances and support in order to be realised. The World Economic Forum report relies on the strategies of several multinational companies to draw its conclusions on how this potential can be leveraged: through local partnerships with government and local institutions; investment in local infrastructure and logistics; and using synergies through integrated environments.

Or, to sum up their findings in a word, collaboration. If exporters are meant to make the most of Africa as a future market, collaboration in multiple aspects will be the key to unlocking the growth they seek. First, political will is paramount, and partnering with the government of any specific African country can make or break any ventures made into a new market. Just ask the leadership at Volkswagen Group Africa, one of our member companies, who have made government relations the core of any market exploration – and who is cited in the World Economic Forum report as one of the successful pioneers when it comes to expanding into Africa.

The second tier of collaboration is with local business and community; by investing where one intends to operate, one can gain the support and respect of the local citizens – who will inevitably become the customers, suppliers, and economically speaking, the beneficiaries of one’s business down the line.

Finally, though it may sound contradictory, there are benefits to collaborating with your competitors. In establishing an industry where there might not be a substantial one yet, it makes sense to empower a local supply chain – and since suppliers can work with more than one client, larger companies can invest together to create that supply chain for their industry and ultimately build their mutual success.

To any exporters planning their path into Africa, consider how much more we can achieve if we pave that road together. Africa can be a success story – for all of us.

Quintin Levey, Exporters Eastern Cape Chairman

The Herald – Let’s Talk Exports – Published May 2024

Stellantis South Africa: Plant in Coega is forging ahead

Stellantis South Africa: Plant in Coega is forging ahead

The final building blocks for the establishment of South Africa’s latest automotive manufacturing site have been laid, paving the way for construction to begin shortly at the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gqeberha, Nelson Mandela Bay the Eastern Cape.

Stellantis, the world’s third biggest automotive manufacturer by volume, and South Africa’s largest development funder, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have concluded key milestones that will lead to a Joint Venture (JV). The investment estimated at R3-billion is expected to facilitate the creation of massive employment opportunities in the Eastern Cape. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), which is supplying the ground on which the factory will be built, has begun preparing the site for the start of construction.

“I welcome the progress made with concluding all modalities with Stellantis that will enable construction to commence this year and start of production of a new auto model to roll off the assembly-line by the end of 2025. The SA auto industry is Africa’s largest producer of cars, bakkies and trucks and this new investment by Stellantis will consolidate the country’s position, helping us to achieve the goal of producing 1, 4 million vehicles by 2035. The biggest attractions for new investors are the size of the domestic market together with the auto industry masterplan, which supports local production for both South Africa and export markets. Stellantis has a strong growth vision with an excellent range of vehicles in its global stable and we look forward through this investment to increasing the range of locally manufactured cars available to motorists,” said Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.

“It’s heartening to see the manner in which the combination of expertise within the collective of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), the IDC, CDC and Stellantis have united to form a cross functional team that is making excellent progress,” said Minister Patel “It’s this teamwork that will realise not only having Stellantis as SA’s eighth OEM, but most importantly in realizing the plans for employment and investment in South Africa and support our industrialisation drive. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship between Stellantis and South Africa.”

Stellantis Middle East Africa (MEA) COO, Samir Cherfan; Stellantis SA MD Mike Whitfield; IDC interim CEO David Jarvis; including CDC Acting CEO Themba Khoza echoed Patel’s sentiment stating that the progress made thus far was in line with their respective organisation’s strategic development goals.

“The construction of this plant is critical to Stellantis’s Dare Forward 2030 strategy. This strategy also speaks to the South African industrialization plan which is a very important tool in helping us achieve our target to produce a million units in the MEA region by 2030 – a factor that will help us attain 22% market share in this region. Our medium to long-ter objective is to ensure that 90% of vehicles sold in the MEA region are sourced from our production plants in this region,” said Mr Cherfan.

The project is a major vote of confidence in South Africa as an investment destination and as a gateway into Africa. “We are very proud of being involved in this; the construction o this plant is a major statement of faith in this country and the capacity of South Africans to be entrusted with running a project of this magnitude. This is a factory of which we can all be proud of, not just because of what it will represent to the people of the Eastern Cape, but also because of the technological advances that it will incorporate and the environmentally conscious way that it has been planned, will be built and will be operated.” Cherfan added.

All fauna and flora have been successfully removed from the site and rehomed as per the environmental impact study conducted by Coega. “Coega is focused on delivering the finest plant for Stellantis, reinforcing the Coega SEZ as an automotive hub in the country, in line with its vision to be the leading catalyst for the championing of socio-economic development” said Coega Acting CEO Themba Koza. The impending construction of the Stellantis factory has acted as a catalyst to other investors, he said. “We have had numerous requests to support the automotive sector in Coega and to rapidly grow our planned supplier park.”

“The new company to house the Stellantis-IDC JV is on track to be registered. The milestones concluded thus far will help to kick start a project that will significantly improve the economic fortunes of the Eastern Cape,” said IDC’s Jarvis. He added that the IDC is pleased to be partnering with such a reputable automotive manufacturing company of Stellantis’s stature. “Stellantis’s success with other manufacturing plants around the world is well-known. Together, we are highlighting the IDC’s intent to continually participate and drive investment to develop the regional automobile value chain,” Jarvis commented.

The Stellantis Greenfield project in brief:

  • It will be built in a South African Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Coega, situated near Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
  • Construction will be completed by the end of 2025.
  • A high level of localization is targeted at launch (35%)
  • Ultimate production volume of 50 000 units a year, with the majority destined for export
  • 1 000 new jobs to be created directly
  • Thousands of hours to be invested in training to develop local teams to global standards
Celebrating 60 Years of ISUZU Trucks: A Legacy of Innovation and Excellence in South Africa

Celebrating 60 Years of ISUZU Trucks: A Legacy of Innovation and Excellence in South Africa

Six decades ago, ISUZU Trucks began its journey in South Africa with a simple yet powerful vision: to provide reliable, durable, and innovative commercial vehicles to meet the evolving needs of businesses across the nation. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary of truck, we reflect on a rich history filled with milestones, achievements, excellence, and a steadfast commitment to offer transport solutions to large fleets and single-unit operators alike.

Since our inception, ISUZU Trucks has been synonymous with quality and performance. We entered the South African market in 1964 introducing the iconic ISUZU Elfin TKG 10 petrol-engine 1½ ton truck, marking the beginning of a legacy that would shape the transportation industry for decades to come.

Over the years, we have continuously raised the bar, introducing groundbreaking technologies and pioneering advancements that have redefined the standards of excellence in commercial vehicles and consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation to deliver vehicles that exceed expectations. Securing the top spot in the cab-over-chassis market in the medium- and heavy commercial vehicle segments for 11 years consecutively is testament of our trucks’ unwavering reliability and durability.

One of our key pillars of success lies in our relentless pursuit of technological advancement and environmental sustainability. As part of our 5-step alternative propulsion journey towards full Carbon Neutral New Energy Vehicles, in addition to EURO 5 models already available, we are excited to announce that Diesel Dual Fuel is now available as an option on 20 of our truck models, offering customers a more sustainable and efficient transportation solution. The recently introduced NPR 400 Compressed Natural Gas model further expands our range of environmentally friendly vehicles.

As we commemorate 60 years of ISUZU Trucks in South Africa, we extend our sincere gratitude to our customers, partners, and employees for their unwavering support and trust. Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones and overcome challenges, and we remain committed to driving innovation, excellence, and sustainability in the years to come.

Volkswagen Group Africa emphasises commitment to renewable energy

Volkswagen Group Africa emphasises commitment to renewable energy

Transitioning to renewable energy is more than just a means to avoid the disruptive effects of power outages for Volkswagen Group Africa (VWGA), but rather a conscious step towards reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuels.

Recognising the effect of fossil fuels on global climate change, VWGA is striving to minimise its dependence on these energy sources. As the nation celebrates Energy Month in May, VWGA highlights its commitment to become carbon neutral in vehicle and component production by 2030 through its Zero Impact Factory initiatives. 

To this end, significant investments totalling up to R100 million have been made in recent years to transition to renewable energy. By the end of this year a total of 5.6 MWp of solar energy will be powering Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Kariega. 

The installation of 3 MWp Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels in the employee car park at the Kariega plant is currently commissioned and is expected to be operational by September 2024. The latest installation complements the existing 2.6 MWp of rooftop PV panels in the vehicle assembly plant and the 163 kWp at the component manufacturing plant.

South Africa’s largest exporter of passenger cars is following a global trend. According to the World Economic Forum the world added 50% more renewable capacity last year compared to 2022. The world’s capacity to generate renewable electricity is expanding faster than at any time in the last three decades, giving it a real chance of achieving the goal of tripling global capacity by 2030, the International Energy Agency reported. 

Ulrich Schwabe, VWGA Production Director, emphasised the importance of transitioning to renewable energy. “Our plan to become a Zero Impact Factory by 2030 aligns with our global Group Strategy Way to Zero. We all witness the effects of climate change and its impact on biodiversity. Our commitment to carbon neutrality reflects the urgency for immediate action,” said Schwabe.

According to the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, manufacturing in Nelson Mandela Bay, where VWGA is headquartered, accounts for at least 55% of electricity consumption. This highlights the significance of renewable energy sources as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.



The installation of PV panels underway in the employee car park. From left: Nick Chapman, Graham Partington, Reabetsoe Kgoedi, Michael Petrie, Ntsapokazi Ningiza, Albert Brand and Deon Nel.