BMW Group South Africa has handed over five BMW i3 cars that will be used by community-based care workers to reach victims of gender-based violence.
The vehicles were received by President Cyril Ramaphosa and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They were handed over to the South African Business Coalition on Health and Aids (SABCOHA) to manage on behalf of the multi-sectoral Interim Steering Committee on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
The automotive group’s contribution is a significant demonstration of the growing partnership between government and civil society, which includes the business sector and international partners, in the fight against GBVF.
The initiative is part of the Automotive Industry Transformation Fund (worth R6 billion), which was established to transform the automotive value chain and enable participation in the sector by previously and historically disadvantaged groups, including women, youth and people with disabilities.
Speaking at the vehicle handover ceremony, held at the BMW Group production plant, on Thursday in Rosslyn, Tshwane, President Ramaphosa said the vehicles will help to save lives. He expressed his gratitude to BMW for being the first company to donate the vehicles, and encouraged others to follow suit.
“This practical expression of good corporate citizenship is sending a very good and clear message that we would like many other companies to also notice and adopt.
“The existence of BMW in South Africa demonstrates long standing and strong economic ties between [Germany and SA],” President Ramaphosa said.
Emergency response plan to address GBV
Government has been implementing an emergency response plan to address GBVF.
A National Strategic Plan on GBVF, which outlines a range of measures to tackle GBVF, has also been developed.
“The plan focuses on strengthening prevention efforts, and ensuring safety and justice for the women and children of our country. The plan also touches on economic empowerment, an area that is so important that we, as government, will be focusing on,” President Ramaphosa said.
Group Head of Production and chairman of BMW South Africa, Dr Milan Nedeljkovic, expressed the company’s appreciation for the expertise and wonderful warmth of South Africans.
Nedeljkovic said a total of 4 000 people in South Africa are directly employed at BMW Group, including four out of five managers being local.
In addition to this, Nedeljkovic said more than 40 000 people are employed indirectly through the company’s utilities in South Africa.
“Our first formal training facility in BMW SA opened its doors in 1978 and since then, more than 2 000 have gone through training with BMW and received jobs at BMW.
“Three years ago, the company opened the training academy to raise the technical training to a new level,” Nedeljkovic said.
He said the company’s philosophy underlines that education is the key to success, and “life-long learning through BMW Group is part of that success”.
“By 2025, we will support one million children and young people globally through targeted education programmes, focusing on skill programmes.” –