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Kick-starting Durban’s automotive manufacturing industry

eThekwini Municipality engages with automotive industry to promote manufacturing in the City

The eThekwini Transport Authority, recently held a ground-breaking workshop which was well attended by automotive industry stakeholders. The workshop was a significant move ahead of major tenders being advertised for the procurement of buses for the new GO!Durban IRPTN. It is part of the network’s endeavour to encourage meaningful transformation and renew manufacturing in this sector in the City.

The workshop aimed to enlighten stakeholders on GO!Durban’s progress and the government policies in relation to the procurement of fleet that will be required for this new network. Recent changes in procurement legislation that have been introduced by national and local government prioritizing localization were presented. The industry was encouraged to look at creative ways to work together to achieve true and meaningful transformation in this sector.

Speaking on behalf of the eThekwini Municipal Mayor, Andre Petersen, Head of Supply Chain Management said “This marks another important step for local Government, as we continue this long journey to transform society within the framework of National Government’s Radical Economic Transformation policy. We trust this will have a long-lasting effect on economic development and growth within our Municipality.”

About 150 automotive industry representatives, public transport operators, business people and entrepreneurs gathered at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 30 to discuss some vital issues that will ultimately affect the efficient running of future public transport in the eThekwini Municipality, and by extension the people of the City. Petersen explained that GO!Durban is serving as a major catalyst for economic growth and development in the City. He went on to say that while government provides the platform for economic growth and development, acting as an enabler for this to take place, the private sector needed to work closely with government to enable meaningful transformation for those that have been excluded in the past.

“Together, we need to look at ways in which the private sector can be involved in the future success of GO!Durban,” he further explained. “The GO!Durban Empowerment Charter with its provisions attached to the numerous awarded contracts, that aim to accelerate the inclusion of previously marginalized individuals, has resulted in some significant shifts for local businesses. Since 2014, when construction of the GO!Durban network began, close to R1.2 billion has been made available for subcontractors, almost R372 million has been injected into enterprise development, and R526 million spent on 155 business beneficiaries with some 22 500 job opportunities created.”

Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority, Thami Manyathi, presented an update on the GO!Durban project and gave an overview on the fleet requirements for the first phase of the upgraded public transport system. Manyathi said that around 200 rigid buses, 180 articulated buses and 765 midi-buses will be required for the new system over the next 5 years. In addition, 250 commuter buses will be required as part of the replacement programme for the existing City Public Transport contracts. He said the bus delivery timeline is estimated for the second half of 2018 and that a first tranche of R1.2 billion is planned for the fleet for the C3 route that runs from Pinetown through New Germany and KwaDabeka to Bridge City, KwaMashu. He said that the City will be advertising these tenders within the next few weeks, and because of the nature and size of the tenders, an extended submission period will be provided to give businesses enough time to submit tenders to meet the transformation and local investment objectives.
The next tranche of tenders will cater for the C9 route from Bridge City via Phoenix Industrial and Cornubia to Umhlanga, as well as fleet to be used in the Inner City.

Manyathi explained that the magnitude of the GO!Durban project over the long-term and requirements into the future, supports investment confidence. “This will help strengthen the manufacturing sector, and link component suppliers to fleet production processes in order to achieve enterprise development and expand capacity to maintain the fleet.”

Key to the unlocking and growing of the local economy is the practice of localization, a topic covered by a number of the speakers including Catherine Matidza, Director of Industrial Procurement at the Department of Trade and Industry, Riaaz Haffejee, CEO of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, and facilitator Dionne Kerr of Siyakha, a management consulting firm that specialises in implementing Enterprise Development. Ms Kerr said that the notion of merely having a BEE certificate is “misguided”. “What will drive transformation is local content and a local to site approach. With GO!Durban, a R23 billion project for this City, this is a perfect platform to achieve it.”

Tshitso Mafole from Gibela Consortium, which has the contract to produce the new rolling stock for PRASA, and are themselves currently grappling with transformational processes and empowerment opportunities within this industry, provided valuable insights into their procurement process, which is focused on localization, underpinned by quality. The GO!Durban network will integrate rail and bus services across the City and the ETA are working in partnership with PRASA to achieve this.

Importantly, the gathering was reminded that the tender inclusion of the radical economic transformation framework objectives means that every contract to the value of more than R30 million must set aside 30% for black small businesses, especially youth and women owned and prioritize skill development.
Presentations from the workshop are available on the GO!Durban website The tenders will be advertised by the City’s procurement processes, and a compulsory briefing will be held in conjunction with this.





The eThekwini Municipality recently received the highly commended award in the category of Technical Excellence at the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) regional awards held in June. This award was for their work on the M25/ Bhejane Road Underpass Interchange in KwaMashu, which forms part of the C9 route of GO!Durban, the City’s new integrated rapid public transport network currently under construction.

The internal design team, seconded from the City’s Engineering Unit Roads Provision Department, on the eThekwini Transport Authority managed GO!Durban project, received the award for pushing technical engineering limits to deliver high quality infrastructure that is good value for money.
This keenly awaited M25 diamond interchange into Bridge City, an integral part of GO!Durban, opened as a critical link into the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) neighbourhoods in May this year, heralding the economic growth and development this new hub has the potential to create.

This interchange opens up the Bridge City precinct in KwaMashu on the south of the M25 via the Bhejane Road underpass, to the Phoenix Industrial area on the north side. The interchange with the underpass provides vital infrastructure for next route to be constructed of the GO!Durban network, called C9, which runs from there to Umhlanga Ridge via Cornubia. Construction of a bridge over the N2 linking Cornubia and Umhlanga Ridge to service this route is well underway.

According to eThekwini Municipality Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede, accessibility into INK, as well as neighbouring Phoenix, is key to economic growth and development, itself underpinned by the integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN) GO!Durban, the first route which is expected to be operational in 2018. This multi-billion-rand eThekwini Municipality initiative will deliver more than 100 000 people daily into the Bridge City bus terminus and train station when fully operational. Thami Manyathi, Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority says the contract for the integrated rapid public transport network C3 route between Bridge City and the Malandela intersection was awarded to Inanda JV, a joint venture initiative with WBHO as the main member and partners Thekwane Holdings, Lakeshore Trading, Qanza and Ethos.‘We are thrilled with this accolade awarded to the design team on this interchange,’ said Manyathi. “As one can imagine a lot of creativity, technical expertise and thinking goes into finding engineering solutions, and it is fantastic that their hard work has been acknowledged and rewarded.”

Speaking of the design, Deputy Head of Roads Provision Department, Dave Thomas said “The underpass bridge deck needed to be particularly thin and have curved supports with extremely high skewness. This was done using a design that is unusual in South Africa, because the bridge doesn’t have bearings or expansion joints. The design saves additional money by removing the need for expensive maintenance in the future.”
The on and off ramps introduce direct access to the M25 and N2 to promote better traffic distribution. The result promotes a better distribution of traffic by spreading the access to Bridge City, Ntuzuma and Phoenix between the new interchange and the existing Ntuzuma interchange. There is also consideration for pedestrian traffic as people crossing the M25 can now do so via the underpass.

Bridge City and the resulting infrastructure evolved from a forward-thinking public private partnership between the eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett Developments, the original owners of the 53 hectares on which the new mega city and economic hub is being forged. In tackling inherent underdevelopment in the neighbourhood, the vision plans to inject R10 billion into private and public investments and build a mixed-used city centre. The Municipality’s strict empowerment guidelines ensured that in the construction of the interchange and its connecting roads, 340 local labourers were employed and 26 percent of the contract value was given to 44 emerging subcontractors. Manyathi concluded by saying that the integrated rapid public transport network crisscrossing the City would open in phases over the next few years.