South Africa: Automotive Industry Moves Into PPE Space

Her container clutched tightly under her arm, experience has taught this young woman that when hand sanitiser is sprayed outdoors and there’s a breeze, it’s best to shut your eyes.

The South African automotive sector has stepped up to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), which is high in demand as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) identified an area of opportunity for a number of their manufacturers to produce one of the items that the COVID-19 pandemic demands in order to keep us safe and protected from the virus, namely face shields and visors," Proudly South African said on Thursday.

Together with Business for South Africa, NAACAM did their research and will use existing capacity, machinery, raw materials and the sector's engineering skills to mass produce face shields, which could compete in terms of price and quality with imported versions.

The sector is manufacturing face shields that strictly adhere to the recommended guidelines drafted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Department of Health and the South African Bureau of Standards.

"Of the 14 companies that were initially identified as being able to respond immediately to the production switch, many are 51% or more black-owned, putting the economic benefits of this new production line back into communities," Proudly South African said noting that the demand for visors is expected to rise significantly, as face shields are seen as a secondary barrier to infection in the health sector and in non-health care spaces.

The manufactures of the PPE will be listed on the Proudly South African portal.

"Listing manufacturers on this new portal allows buyers to source locally made face shields and visors. The site is non-transactional and so no one but the manufacturer benefits.

"All sales are made directly - we are simply the host for the information, which includes prices, technical specification and contact details of the suppliers. We urge anyone looking to purchase these items to use the portal to ensure they are supporting local, and are getting high quality and competitively priced items," Proudly South African CEO, Eustace Mashimbye, said.

NAACAM's Shivani Singh said it has been interesting to see the quick turnaround by some manufacturers, who seamlessly moved from the manufacture of automotive components to the manufacture of essential protective wear for South Africans.

"This pivot has allowed these manufacturers to keep their doors open and bring most of their staff back to work. We are proud of how the sector has responded to this demand and of what we are managing to produce at a fraction of imported prices, and to a very high standard," Singh said.

More information on this project can be found on the COVID-19 portal on www.proudlysa.co.za.

More From: SAnews.gov.za

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