Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has commended Caterpillar for its commitment to source components and related services in South Africa worth a total estimated value of R 1.3 billion.
The commitment is for a period of 10 years, in support of local enterprise and supplier development.
Caterpillar is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
"These agreements are also positive for the companies that participate in the Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP). I want to commend Caterpillar for embarking on this journey with us as partners to stimulate and grow the South African economy. I look forward to see these commitments being executed," said Minister Davies.
On Wednesday, the company, together with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), launched the largest ever EEIP in the country at a ceremony at Barlow Park near Johannesburg.
Minister Davies said the company's commitment is one of its largest engagements in Africa to date. It is also part of the previously announced plan of Caterpillar, its independent dealers and the Caterpillar Foundation to invest more than $1 billion in countries throughout Africa over five years.
EEIP is a dti initiative where multinational companies are invited to participate and contribute positively towards B-BBEE in South Africa.
Caterpillar applied for participation in EEIP to empower local and black-owned enterprises through Enterprise and Supplier Development.
Caterpillar Director for Southern Africa, Chris Monge, said the commitment will help to develop South Africa's local industrial supplier base.
"Our multi-year commitment will help develop South Africa's industrial local supplier base, generate more inclusive economic growth, and support our goal to be a leading B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) organisation in the industries we serve. We look forward to working with the South African government towards transformation and industrialization," said Monge.
Managing Director at Caterpillar Industries (Pty) Ltd, Zakieya Parker, said the company's participation in EEIP supports the development of local suppliers and enterprises.
"Our participation in EEIP supports the development of local suppliers and enterprises, local content, skills transfer and development and job creation. The localisation opportunities we are looking at include sourcing components locally to support the mining, construction, energy, and transportation industries," said Parker.
Caterpillar has been in South Africa since 1927, operating through independent dealer Barloworld Equipment. The company recently invested in a new 60 000 m2 parts distribution centre in Johannesburg, which is improving customer service by expanding parts availability throughout the southern African region (including the islands of Mauritius, Madagascar and Reunion).