ELIDZ to Host Provincial Wide Hackathon

The ELIDZ STP invites you to take part in the hackathon which aims to advance ICT in the Eastern Cape.

The hackathon will be hosted from: 04 – 06 June 2021

ELIDZ will be hosting a provincial wide hackathon in partnership with Eastern Cape institutions of higher learning, incubators and government. The goal of the hackathon is to create effective working solutions that can be deployed to the province to enhance economic development, specifically on 4IR activities.

As part of this hackathon they are bringing knowledge workshops on critical 4IR initiatives, e.g. Python programming, Design thinking and coding etc.

PRE-WORKSHOPS

Virtual Knowledge Workshop

  • Cracking the Hackathon: What is a hackathon and how you can win it.
  • Hacking Toolbox: Practical Tips and Tricks to survive a hackathon.
  • SMARTA Goal Setting: using 48-hours effectively and efficiently.

Virtual knowledge workshop will be hosted on
26 May 2021.

Pre-hacking Workshop

Pre-hacking workshop will be hosted on
28 May 2021.

Master Classes

  • Programming using Python
  • Design thinking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Coding

PRIZES

  • 12 Months sponsored Incubation & Acceleration towards further development of the overall main winners’ solution (Prototype Development).
  • Opportunity for market access and linkages
  • Prize money

THEMES

  • Theme 1: Unemployment
  • Theme 2: Service Delivery
  • Theme 3: Education & Upskilling

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

NRF Formalizes Agreement To Send Phd Students To The USA

The United States Mission to South Africa is pleased to announce the formal partnership between the Fulbright Program and the National Research Foundation (NRF) that will support NRF-funded PhD students registered with a South African university to travel to the United States to conduct research towards their doctorates at a host U.S. institution or university, as part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program (FFSP).

This partnership is aligned to the NRF’s Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme, and will contribute to the NRF’s efforts to increase the number of South African PhD-qualified faculty that fully represent South Africa’s diverse demographics. This cost-sharing agreement will accelerate the career pathways of exceptional early career researchers and Postdoctoral Fellows to become leading international researchers with strengthened academic rigor and competitiveness, through increased international exposure, collaboration and mentorship opportunities.

Speaking at the partnership signing, Prof Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Chief Executive Officer of the NRF said, “The NRF acknowledges the significant contribution the Fulbright Program has made to enhance excellence and international research, and especially the significant impact it has had in the transformation of the South African research and education system. This agreement with the IIE attests to our mutual intent to support and foster a globally engaged cohort of exceptional early career researchers.”

Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Matthew Lussenhop added that, “This historic agreement with the National Research Foundation underscores the strength of the U.S.-South Africa partnership in Fulbright exchanges. It reflects our shared commitment to expanding higher education opportunities for diverse populations, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This 75th anniversary year of the Fulbright Program reminds us of the enduring importance of international exchanges in building bridges of understanding among peoples.”

Visiting Student Research grantees of the FFSP 2021-2022 cohort will be the first to be formally funded under this partnership, which will amount to approximately $1.8 million (R26 million) over the next five years.

Applications are currently open for the 2022-2023 Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the 2022-2023 South African Research Scholar Program. To learn more about how to apply, please click the appropriate link below.

2022-2023 FULBRIGHT FOREIGN STUDENT PROGRAM – APPLICATION

INFORMATION2022-2023 SOUTH AFRICAN RESEARCH SCHOLAR PROGRAM – APPLICATION INFORMATION

Poor Infrastructure Management Will not Retain Current Investment nor Attract Future Investments in The Eastern Cape

The AIDCEC is calling for immediate and urgent action around the state of infrastructure and planning in the Eastern Cape to support its manufacturing industry with special focus in the metros.

While the province’s economy and jobs are driven by the manufacturing industry value chain, particularly global automotive OEMs and suppliers, the AIDCEC CEO Thabo Shenxane said the level of investor confidence generated by  local authorities was “dangerously inadequate”.

“With dam levels servicing Nelson Mandela Bay at just over 12% and day ZERO a looming reality, OEMs and other businesses need clarity and assurances on suitable water contingency plans,” Shenxane said.

“Water is as much a human necessity as it is a requirement in the manufacturing processes that contribute massively in both GDP and jobs in the province – already struggling socio-economically.”    Jobs and socio-economic growth are linked to production and yet no clear plan for the provision of water to industry at Day Zero has been communicated as yet.” 

Shenxane said “dreadful and hopelessly inadequate efforts to create business confidence with a clear water contingency plan in the Nelson Mandela Metro not only disrupt existing business planning but certainly do very little for future investments into the Nelson Mandela Metro and the province at large.”    

“How do we possibly hope to encourage further investments in our region with the currently demonstrated poor and deteriorating infrastructure management and business engagement? Business needs surety,” he said.   

The Nelson Mandela Bay’s water crisis aside, Shenxane said the near collapse in Governance within the Buffalo City Municipality as published in the Daily Dispatch on 24 April 2021  “read like a horror story to both existing and potential investors and were indicators of the poor level of governance, planning and infrastructure support provided to the region’s industry.”

The Eastern Cape produces more than 50% of the country’s automotive production. Shenxane said local municipalities and provincial government need to work together, with “deeper regard” to invest in utilities and logistics infrastructure that is supportive to a business environment to grow the economy, which had already been battered by global supply disruptions caused by COVID-19.  

South Africa’s share of global new motor vehicle production in 2020 declined to 0.57% from 0.69% in 2019.  Production volumes dropped 29% to 447 218 units in 2020, yet the average global production decline was more moderate at 16%.

Shenxane said while South Africa is a small player globally, the whole sector is fully integrated into global auto supply chains, exporting to seven global regions. Given their exposure to global markets, South African manufacturers, including those based in the Eastern Cape are under the same pressures as those based in other countries.

“Essentially if the country’s economy is to grow and the sector is to reach targets for growth transformation and jobs, government at every level must be supporting, not hindering the growth of these businesses. Infrastructure investment and management is at the centre,” Shenxane said.

The exposure to global pressures is also at the component manufacturing level, with OEMs sourcing components from plants in every major automotive manufacturing region. Amidst a diverse group of various tier-level automotive component suppliers in South Africa there are around 180 first-tier suppliers, of which about 75% are foreign multinational companies. These and others exported R53,7 billion worth of components, across the globe in 2019.

Shenxane said the importance of the automotive sector could not be overstated. It provides at least 457 000 jobs in the formal sector, 110 000 of which are in manufacturing and is the largest manufacturing sector in the country, contributing around 6.5% of GDP.

“It is therefore very concerning that manufacturing production is declining at a time when increased industrial activity is needed to revive the ailing economy. Manufacturing production decreased by 3.4% year-on-year in January 2021.

“With South Africa’s economy having contracted by 7% in 2020, it is imperative that efforts are intensified to revive the ailing economy and focus on the implementation of recovery plans, but local and provincial government needs to contribute – and its starts with basic governance, infrastructure planning and engagement,” Shenxane said. 

The Premier’s admission in a Times Live article of the 23 April 2021 titled “ANC failed in local government” and the Daily Dispatch article of the 24 April 2021 titled “BCM on the verge of collapse, ANC Councillors agree” do not paint a positive picture for our region as a destination for investments.

“It must not be forgotten that as much as R60 billion could be invested in the South African vehicle and component manufacturing industries over the next five years. If the Eastern Cape hopes to be a beneficiary of that investment and others, then government – starting with the local Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipalities – will need to significantly step up,” Shenxane said.

New Automotive Guidelines a Boost to Eastern Cape Economy

Radical new guidelines for the automotive aftermarket sector, which take effect on 1 July 2021, will open entry and participation to SMMEs and black owned firms in South Africa’s lucrative aftersales value chain.  

Commenting on the Competition Commission’s published guidelines pertaining to the servicing and maintenance of vehicles in South Africa, the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDCEC) said the initiative would be instrumental in delivering “massive progress on targets set by the South African automotive sector to grow and transform the automotive supplychain.”

“The targets set for growth, transformation and localisation in the South African Automotive Masterplan were dealt a heavy blow by the economic impacts of COVID 19 but these new guidelines create an opportunity for real progress,” AIDCEC CEO, Thabo Shenxane said.  

“The playing field has been levelled and the opportunity now exists for SMMEs and black independent suppliers to step up. The inclusive growth of the automotive sector depends on it,” Shenxane said.  

Shenxane said the guidelines require industry players to adopt strategies and develop business models that enable small, independent and historically disadvantaged service providers to undertake servicemaintenance and repair work while a vehicle is in-warranty and encourage more HDIs to own dealerships.

The guidelines include the removal of restrictions imposed by the automotive industry on vehicle owners on the choice of service providers for service and maintenance as well as replacement parts for their motor vehicles.

It also requires fair allocation of repair work by insurers to service providers on their panels and the promotion of consumers’ rights to use original or non-original spare parts during the lifespan of their vehicle. The guidelines also require the removal of original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) restrictions in the sale and distribution of original parts, in the purchase of maintenance and service plans and around access to OEM training and technical information by independent service providers.

Shenxane said some of the measures proposed in the Automotive Guidelines, would have cost, staffing and legal implications for participants in the automotive industry but would be “balanced against a fairer system of trade promoting inclusiveness and consumer choice.”

On 10 December 2020, the Competition Commission issued the final guidelines for competition in the South African Automotive Aftermarket (Automotive Guidelines).  The publication of the guidelines is a culmination of extensive consultation and advocacy work that the commission has conducted since 2017, following numerous complaints from various independent players and members of the public. These parties raised concerns about alleged anti-competitive practices that excluded independent players in the automotive aftermarket.

Shenxane said the AIDC EC was working with the Competition Commission to assist industry role-players understand and optimise the implementation of the guidelines, which are expected to “significantly change consumer behaviour and the automotive business landscape when they become effective on 1 July 2021.”

“Our priority is to ensure that key stakeholders have a clear understanding and appreciation of what these new Guidelines entail. Our office together with Competition Commissioner team has developed a simplified information pack around the new Guidelines,” Shenxane said.

The Competition Commission will be conducting a series of virtual workshops across the country to ensure the readiness of both consumers and Independent Service Providers (ISPs), Shenxane said.

Going forward, the AIDCEC has opened an email platform where stakeholders in the province can direct their questions to. They can be directed to the following email address: guidelinescompetition@aidcec.co.za