During the lockdown in SA, many businesses had come to a halt. With the easing of the lockdown in certain sectors companies have resumed their operations, albeit on a reduced level. They are now preparing for a further ramp-up of their operations while tackling critical maintenance or important upgrading projects. Many of these projects require special expert knowledge that is not available on the ground.
In close cooperation the Foreign Ministers Naledi Pandor and Heiko Maas supported the efforts of the South-African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lufthansa and the German Embassy together with the relevant South African authorities to enable a solution of the most pressing needs. On Thursday, July 16, a special Lufthansa flight is due to arrive from Frankfurt/Germany in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. On board are engineers, technicians and other experts whose skills are urgently needed to help get the economy going and South African exports rolling again.
They have been invited by German companies in South Africa because their scarce skills are not readily available in South Africa and the essential services they can provide i.e. to upgrade hightech production facilities in the Eastern Cape or assist ESKOM in maintaining and upgrading their fleet of power plants.
German Ambassador Martin Schäfer said before departing to South Africa on the same flight in Frankfurt:
“We are in this together! Only if and when the coronavirus is defeated in the north, south, east and west, will we all be able to return to a new normal that resembles at least somewhat the lives we lived before the global crisis.
We will get there through sharing know-how and experiences, with cooperation and solidarity.
The experts of German companies operating in South Africa will hopefully make their valuable contribution to kick-start the South African economy and reigniting exports of high-tech products proudly ‘Made in South Africa’.
We are all extremely grateful for the exemplary, trustful and amicable partnership with the South African government and so many different stakeholders, and in particular with Ministers Naledi Pandor and Ebrahim Patel and their great teams. It was and it is a strong team effort. And we will make sure we deserve the trust that has been bestowed upon us”.
Tim Abbott; CEO of BMW South Africa and President of the South African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
"We would like to thank German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor, as well as all the other relevant South African Ministers for their cooperation in ensuring this significant outcome. This is a great step forward in advancing large and medium scale projects that will have a direct and critical economic impact on the country. It is important that the good technical co-operation between SA and German companies continues so that we overcome the corona pandemic and the negative impact on our economy as fast as possible. We are confident that this early reintegration of German expats will help to get the economy back on its feet as fast as possible and long term it will protect jobs”.
“The Lufthansa Group is pleased to be partnering with the German Embassy and the German Business Community in South Africa on these repatriation flights. Now more than ever it remains essential to reinforce the connection between Germany and South Africa and to demonstrate Lufthansa’s commitment to its customers in the South African market. It gives us pleasure to assist in returning South African nationals back home, while bringing international technical experts and engineers from Europe to South Africa”, says Dr. André Schulz, General Manager Sales, Lufthansa Group, Southern Africa & East Africa.