South Africa is the 18th largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world and represents 80% of Africa's vehicle output, but only 0,9% of the world market. While global production increased by 3,8% in 2000, South Africa's production expanded by 9,6%. All major motor manufacturers are represented in SA: BMW, Delta, Fiat, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, VW and , DaimlerChrysler, which is in East London.
The automotive industry contributes 5,7% of GDP and is the third largest sector in the South African economy, accounting for 29% of the country's manufacturing output. It employs 261 000 people directly and many more indirectly.
DaimlerChrysler SA operates one of the largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car manufacturing plants outside of Germany. The company recently spent R1,4-billion on upgrading and expanding its East London plant. There is a R5,3-million bridge linking DaimlerChrysler's manufacturing facility with the port's new vehicle terminal, making the efficient delivery of vehicles to the international market possible. (The Port of East London has a R70-million, four-level vehicle terminal.)
DaimlerChrysler SA has bid for the worldwide contract to manufacture the new C-Class model. If it is successful in netting this contract, the city's automotive industry reportedly stands to attract a R10-billion investment within the next seven years. (Daily Dispatch, Mayor assures DCSA of BC's full support, 4 February 2003)
Finance and Provincial Expenditure MEC Enoch Godongwana said the Eastern Cape has plans to establish a partnership with the Blue IQ/Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) to provide accessible and affordable world-class technical and project-focused resources for building a local motor industry with world-class automotive competencies. (Daily Dispatch, Godongwana announces new projects for EC, 18 March 2003)
The AIDC is an initiative of the Gauteng Blue IQ. It seeks to build a network of government and technical service providers aimed at addressing the technology needs of the automotive industry in South Africa.
Click here for the Automotive Industry Development Centre site
Click here for the Blue IQ site
The second largest manufacturing subsector in the Eastern Cape is the textiles, clothing and leather industry. The industries are well serviced by the more than 5 000 farmers making a living out of wool farming in the province. In fact, the Eastern Cape is the centre of South Africa's mohair industry and is the country's second largest wool producer.
Da Gama Textile Company is based in East London and currently employs about 2 450 people. Da Gama Textiles is a division of KAP Textile Holdings SA.
The activities of the Da Gama Textile Group embrace a full range of manufacture and make-up of cotton and cotton/man-made fibre fabrics. This includes the blending and spinning of the fibres, weaving, dyeing, printing and finishing of fabrics and the make-up of household textiles. The manufacturing units have a combined annual output capacity of more than 12-million tons of yarn and more than 45-million square metres of fabric.
East London is home to two major pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson
and Aspen Pharmaceuticals.
Johnson & Johnson's head office and divisions for operations, finance, marketing and research and development are based in East London. Aspen, the largest generic pharmaceutical manufacturer in South Africa, recently built an R8-million oral contraceptive facility in East London.