On 11 October 2014, local automotive supply company Johnson Controls hosted South Africa’s automotive industry Who’s Who to celebrate 20 years of successful business in democratic South Africa. Johnson Controls brought together employees, management, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and business associations in what was a Who’s Who of the local automotive industry at a gala event at Port Elizabeth’s Boardwalk Convention Centre. Among the international guests were David Powels, managing director of Volkswagen group South Africa, Councillor Mafaya, vice president of the economic development portfolio committee and five of the six Johnson Controls South African general managers who have led the company during the last two decades.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s premier convention venue demonstrated its ability to put on a dazzling festive event with top entertainment and the 2013 MTN Best Breakfast Show presenter, Daron Mann setting the pace as Master of Ceremonies. Besides all festivities, those in need were not forgotten as Johnson Controls auctioned pieces of the exclusive birthday cake among the audience eventually doubling the raised amount to a total sum of more than R 40,000. The money will be donated to Lelethu Baby Shelter, Port Elizabeth, a temporary safe house for babies in need.
The celebrations embraced the past, present and future of the automotive seating, overhead systems, floor consoles, door and instrument panels industry.
“Our entry into South Africa when Nelson Mandela became president in 1994 was the fastest start-up of a plant in Johnson Controls history,” Bryan Gray, the local company’s first vice-president told guests. “We estimated that we would create 250 to 300 jobs at that stage. Over the last two decades, together with our business partners and governmental support a vital industry was created that proved to be a success story for South Africa.”
Fast forward to 2014 and the company now employs over 2,000 people in South Africa, generating more than R 2.5 billion in revenues. “We are an integral part of South Africa’s automotive supply chain, fitting vehicles for domestic sales and exports,” added the current vice-president, Marco vom Wege. As witnesses of the two decades of success, eight employees who have been with the company since the first day of operations were specially awarded for their commitment. In addition, Boikuhutso Mokgosi, one of the successful participants in Johnson Controls South African Graduate Program, impressively presented her impressions and personal developments through the program.
Jacques Minnie, Johnson Controls new South African born general manager said the company and its stakeholders were not only proud of their achievements but were also aware of both the challenges and opportunities the country’s automotive sector provides. This was especially so in the light of the national target of 1.2 million vehicles per annum to be produced by 2020, continuing growth in vehicle exports and the close partnership Johnson Controls enjoyed with OEMs and the players in the automotive supply-chain.
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