Mpahlwa opens R600m aerospace village in Centurion

A R600-million aerospace village was opened in Centurion south of Pretoria by the Minister of Trade and Industry on Tuesday.

Mandisi Mpahlwa said in a statement the commitment was to develop the aerospace industry to the level of the automotive industry and as a ”sustainable, growing, empowered and internationally recognised industry”.

A supplier park development, which consists of aero mechanical manufacturing of parts and components that would be applied to aerospace related manufacturing, was also included in the scope of the sod-turning ceremony.

Mpahlwa said the supplier park was not only modelled on the successes obtained in the South African automotive industry, but also on similar parks such as the Silicone Valley in California and Toulouse in France.

”This will allow for small companies to now be located around primary suppliers such as Denel and Aerosud and a lean supply chain to be established resulting in a cluster focused on aerostructure manufacturing,” Mpahlwa said.

About 1 500 jobs for local people were created with the development of the village.

”Not only will a significant number of jobs be created, but also the integration of small companies into the industry will be advanced significantly.”

The Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) was designed to unlock the growth potential of the aerospace and aviation industries.

”Local original equipment manufacturer representatives, suppliers of components, parts and tools, as well as service providers would likewise benefit from synergistic and economy of scale applications, including incubation of small- and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.

Mpahlwa said the national industrial policy framework (NIPF) recognised aspects of advanced manufacturing, particularly the long-term intensification of the country’s industrialisation process.

”The aerospace industry provides us with an opportunity to ensure that we remain within the broad ambit of the technological advances in the frontier of human endeavours.”

”The project seeks to reposition the South African aviation sector to ensure its participation in the global aviation market,” Mpahlwa said.

The CAV development was supported financially by the European Union and the South African government through the sector-wide support enterprise, employment and equity programme (Sweeep), and the fiscus, respectively.

European Union coordinator, Corrine Salinas, said central to the initiative were the promotion of growth, the fostering of enhanced skills in the industry, employment creation and the stimulation of further trade with European counterparts such as Airbus.

Salinas said a total of over half a billion rand has been allocated under Sweeep 1&2 to date, of which R279-million has been disbursed within different Department of Trade and Industry projects. – Sapa

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