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Key stakeholder dialogue focused on collaborative opportunities in the automotive industry

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Key stakeholder dialogue focused on collaborative opportunities in the automotive industry

MERCEDES-Benz South Africa hosted its first stakeholder dialogue event at its East London manufacturing plant, bringing together multi-sectoral stakeholders with a keen interest in finding solutions to cross-cutting issues that affect the automotive industry and supply chain. The event discussed current issues, challenges and explored solutions for the sustainability of the South African automotive manufacturing industry.

“Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has a rich manufacturing heritage in South Africa. For the past 65 years, we have had a substantial impact on the South African automotive industry and supply chains. Through today’s stakeholder dialogue, we intended to bring together key stakeholders to exchange new insights, strengthen existing relationships, build new connections and collaboratively problem-solve to lead innovative solutions to ensure the automotive industry and supply chain is better equipped to face future challenges,” said EO of MBSA and executive director for manufacturing, Andreas Brand.

The Mercedes-Benz stakeholder dialogue welcomed distinguished speakers and panellists. Dr Thabi Leoka’s keynote address focused on a macroeconomic overview of South Africa and provided a comprehensive understanding of the latest market trends relevant to the automotive industry. The first panel entitled “Opportunities and challenges of doing business in the automotive industry,” was moderated by manufacturing ambassador for TWIMS, Professor Justin Barnes and featured distinguished panellists such as the executive mayor of Buffalo City Municipality, Princess Faku; chief executive of Transnet National Ports Authority, Pepi Silinga; Naha Advisory MD, Dr Thabi Leoka, CEO of East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), Simphiwe Kondlo and CEO of MBSA and executive director for manufacturing, Andreas Brand.

The second panel, “The path to a sustainable future for the automotive industry,” moderated by editor-in-chief of Primedia Broadcasting, Sbu Ngalwa included Eastern Cape MEC for economic development, Mlungisi Mvoko; special advisor to the Ministry of small business development, Andrew Murray; CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDCEC), Thabo Shenxane, and executive director of Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), Lizelle Maurice and executive director human resources & corporate affairs at MBSA, Abey Kgotle.

The MBSA stakeholder dialogue provided a unique opportunity for delegates to gain a comprehensive understanding of the latest policy and market trends, emerging technologies, and customer preferences, which affect public and private stakeholders. This knowledge can help all stakeholders adapt their product offerings and business strategies to ensure that the South African automotive industry stays competitive.

The stakeholder dialogue also included a tour of the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility following the investment of R13-billion for the expansion of the East London plant and the production of the current C-Class. In addition, key stakeholders had the opportunity to tour the company’s sustainability interventions, notably the solar photovoltaic energy installation that contributes to carbon reduction in the manufacturing process.

“Through the Mercedes-Benz stakeholder dialogue, our aim was to convene an influential community of business and thought leaders and policymakers to tackle the challenges facing the automotive manufacturing industry. We are proud to have led this initiative of forming active cooperation networks and to receive firm commitment of action from stakeholders to support our competitiveness as a global automotive company,” said Brand.

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