Maverick Citizen


No cars, no jobs – Chinese auto industry venture in Gqeberha shows little activity seven years after launch

No cars, no jobs – Chinese auto industry venture in Gqeberha shows little activity seven years after launch
President Cyril Ramamphosa. (Photo: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS) | Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: Andre Malerba / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Close economic and political ties have triumphed over national interests, business ethics and proper investment protocols as the South African government continues to keep mum despite the R11-billion Chinese auto investment at the Coega Special Economic Zone outside Gqeberha not gaining any traction since its launch in 2016.

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  • Alan Salmon says:

    China is not our biggest trading partner as stated by the author – exports are far more important than imports, and we export over 35% of our trade to the EU as I understand it.
    Judging from their behaviour in the Eastern Cape, the Chinese cannot be trusted and should be avoided.

  • Benjamin Cockram says:

    Precious little understanding of how actual business is done on display by government. Loudly proclaimed as a victory of direct foreign investment back in 2016.
    Government must just get out of the way.

  • William Kelly says:

    Ummmm. No. Ford pumped in more than this into their operations locally that are actually producing vehicles. When they have electricity that is.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    What we don’t know is what they do on this site. What we do know is that the Chinese have a proud record for speedily getting any project on track. They also tend not to employ locals and they use their own people, materials, parts etc. So obvious are the differences between these knowns and the combination of the promises and inactivity that we can conclude something else entirely is afoot. Some secret initiative between China and the ANC.

  • Ivan van Heerden says:

    Once again a stunning success by the clown show that is this government. Needless to say some “Comrade” has probably made a couple of million off the deal. Viva Comrades of the ANC, Amandla!!

  • Derek Jones says:

    China does not want to hire local people. China does not have a good supply of electricity here.
    Spot the problem, yet as word would have it from Ramaphosa relations with China are excellent. Oh and with Russia too. Our rivers are full of shit. Crooked cops run the police. Nothing works properly. But don’t worry no. Ramaphosa is at work fixing things behind the scenes. Way behind.I think he has done enough nothing. He is obviously close to useless.

  • Paul Caiger says:

    I suspect this was a front set up in order for funds to find their way into some ANC politicians pocket who probably has dished out some dicey underhand concessions to China. Who knows – maybe it’s a smuggling racket – drugs , illegal imports , etc. The ANC would sell their own grandmother to the Chinese if it meant money , Mercedes benzs , Johnny walker Blue label and some other shiny trinkets. Nothing had changed in 500 years….

  • Confucious Says says:

    You mean to say that the anc can’t build a successful business/model/case? I’m so flipping surprised, said absolutely nobody, ever! I wonder who they are going to blame for this mess this time…?

  • Rory Short says:

    “But not a single vehicle has rolled off the assembly line and there are no signs of it gaining traction.”

    I’m not surprised. There is a cultural mismatch between China and South Africa which, as much as the ANC wishes it weren’t so, exists because we have been under Western colonial hegemony for a few hundred years now.

  • Reginald van Rossum says:

    Possibly a way to import Chinese car imports avoiding import duties?

  • blaxx47 says:

    Surely it must be visible from drones, if not from the surrounds, whether BAIC has in 7 years been constructing a physical plant, how close to completion it seems to be, whether they have paid money to power, water and other life-line suppliers to get the necessary infrastructure in place, etc? Local labour brokers, employment agencies, what do they say?
    Your “award-winning” journo Mativare seems to be doing his best to avoid exposing the hard truth, that no assembly line can function until it has a floor, walls and a roof.
    Maybe our bosom buddies the Chinese say “We shall turn the first sod when the government shows its bona fides by paying for the hundreds of locomotives ordered from and delivered by us” ?

    • Ed Richardson Richardson says:

      There is a giant facility clearly visible from the freeway. It even has a test track. Much, if not all, paid for by SA taxpayers through the IDC, which has partnered with BAIC.

  • blaxx47 says:

    If you have never wondered about how factories arise, Max, watch this clip, and ask yourself how can construction progress NOT have been noticed.

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