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The automotive sector, a key economic contributor with a potential to create sustainable jobs, is to be given a new injection in Johannesburg with the establishment of the Greater Alexandra Automotive Industrial Park on the outskirts of Alexandra Township, northern Johannesburg early next year.

The R34 million project, which is modelled around a typical industrial cluster and a successful and vibrant motor industry establishment, is the brainchild of the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development and the National Treasury.

The industrial park will consist of motor dealerships, fitment centres, spares shops, glass fitment centres, panel beating shops, automotive electrical workshops, licensing and license plates establishments, upholsterers, a petrol station and a fuel depot.

City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee on Economic Development Cllr Ruby Mathang said the industrial park would create more than 200 jobs during the construction phase, which starts in January next year, and accommodate up to 18 small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) on completion a year later. It is envisaged that most of the SMMEs will come from the neighbouring Alexandra community.

With each SMME expected to employ at least five people, the park will have the potential create at least 90 jobs.

This automotive industrial park is geared towards attracting increased private sector investment into the township, the building of local businesses that will expand employment and the development of infrastructure in the township. The park will, on completion, impact positively on local economic development, Cllr Mathang said.
He said the objectives of the project were to:

• Make a strong contribution to long term-qualitative and profitable job creation;
• Focus on attracting, developing and supporting viable SMMEs; 
• Ensuring that SMMEs from Alexandra are the primary beneficiaries;
• Investing in a strategic sector of the economy; and
• Using the development of the automotive node as a catalyst for the industrial regeneration.

The successful contractor will be required to sub-contract a minimum value of work. In cases where SMMEs are sufficiently resourced to execute the proposed works as a complete package, the contractor may conclude full sub-contract agreements with locally based SMMEs to a minimum of 30%.

A local SMME database will be compiled by a community participation consultant.
The MMC said in line with the City’s green culture mandate, the development of the park would incorporate design, construction and operational practices that would significantly reduce or eliminate any negative impact on the environment and the community.

The focus will mainly be on the selection of cost-effective, durable and robust materials that are environmentally friendly to reduce the negative impact on the environment, Cllr Mathang said.
For example, current best practices in landscape irrigation will be applied and water consumption will be reduced through appropriate plant choices and an irrigation system that takes into account seasonal rainfall.