New Benz to boost auto exports

first_img18 September 2007DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) has spent approximately R2-billion upgrading its manufacturing plant in East London, which now produces both right- and left-hand drive versions of the latest Mercedes Benz C-Class car for domestic and export markets.The decision demonstrates the confidence that the German-based automaker has in its local unit, which had also been producing right-hand drive versions of the previous C-Class model, for both local sales and for exports to countries like England, Australia and Japan.For the first time, DCSA will manufacture left-hand drive versions of the new C-Class model, dubbed internally as the W204, for export to the United States. East London is one of only three plants globally manufacturing the new C-Class, the other two being Sindelfingen and Bremen in Germany.Speaking at the launch last week, President Thabo Mbeki commended DaimlerChrysler for their investment, which would ensure that the port city became a major manufacturing node.Mbeki said the government was aware of the motor industry’s contribution to the South African economy – currently about 7.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).“Our government has formally taken the decision that in terms of our industrial policy, we must encourage and support the automobile sector as one of the leaders in our process of radical expansion of our manufacturing sector,” he said.New technologiesHighly specialised robots, controlled and monitored by computers, were installed in DCSA’s new plant for laser welding and brazing, high-strength steel welding and structural gluing, while a revamped production line allows for quick and efficient operations.According to DCSA, several of the company’s just-in-time and just-in-sequence suppliers are based in the nearby East London Industrial Development Zone and are linked with the manufacturing plant by a small train.Since the last W203 C-Class car rolled of the production line at the end of February, the electro-coat and primer ovens in the paint shop have been upgraded and a completely new assembly line has been installed.Re-training workersWith some 70% of the welding processes now being carried out by the 230 robots in the bodyshop, existing employees had to be retrained to manage and maintain the robots.DCSA adds that virtually all of its 1 600 employees working on the new C-Class were trained in new skills to support the flexibility concept, which allows for the movement and redeployment of employees capable of building all the options available for the new car.Work at the plant is being carried out in eight-hour shifts, though DCSA chairperson Hansgeorg Niefer states that a good relationship with the relevant trade union gives them more flexibility to extend working hours or add additional shifts should there be a higher demand for the new vehicles.“We have a flexibility agreement in place with the union which will help absorb market fluctuations,” he said. “This type of understanding with Numsa [the National Union of Metalworkers of SA] and our local shop stewards is testimony to the high level of maturity in our relationship with the union.”Commenting on the quality of the luxury car, Mbeki said its class and elegance sent out a message that South Africans were capable of making products of the highest quality.Niefer added the new vehicle was the most technologically advanced product that the company had built at its East London plant.“It is our ticket to the future that has been bought and paid for by many,” he said. “We know that South Africa will reap the rewards of economic growth, skills and technology transfer, supplier development, black economic empowerment, job growth and global respect.”SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Giving kids a sporting chance in life

first_imgIn the 25 years that Sporting Chance has been in existence, it has worked with about 170 000 and even helped unearth exceptional sporting talent. (Images: Shamin Chibba)Sporting Chance, as the name suggests, is a sports development agency that gives children from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to participate in sport while also receiving a physical education.One of the organisation’s more important goals was to instil an active life pattern, said founder and managing director Brad Bing. He was speaking at a Play Your Part Rugby Activation held at Khayelitsha Rugby Stadium in Cape Town on 2 October. “What you need is to create life patterns by the age of 12. You don’t just wake up on your 14th birthday and say, ‘Tomorrow I’m going to play squash.’ Your kids are going to grow up following that and that’s the culture we need to have.”Sporting Chance helped Play Your Part facilitate the activation in Khayelitsha, bringing along rugby coaches and experts to train the children.With calypso cricket and street soccer programmes their mainstay, Sporting Chance is taking sport to the children. “Basically we never make plans. All we do is facilitate the opportunity and these kids have got to grab the opportunity themselves,” said Bing.Bing himself has been active all his life. He played cricket professionally for Western Province in the late 1980s and played in England for 10 years. After he retired, he returned to South Africa with the idea of getting children outside and playing sport.“I came back with international ideas to South Africa and if you remember correctly in the 1980s it was the height of apartheid and the height of the struggle. Not many people understood the ideas I was talking about. Out of pure frustration, in September 1990 I said: ‘That’s it, I’m going to start my own company.’”And 25 years later, the organisation is still moving strongly. It has worked with about 170 000 children, some of whom have gone on to represent South Africa at the highest level. According to Bing, these include six members of the national men’s hockey side and cricket player Herschelle Gibbs.However, he insists that the organisation’s job is not to produce international level talent but to get children to play sport, lead a healthy lifestyle and receive mentorship from experienced coaches.Play Your Part worked with Sporting Chance coaches to run the rugby activation in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. MENTORSHIP IS CRUCIALBing’s cricket career would not have bloomed had he not received mentorship from teachers, coaches, fellow players and his father. “On a Saturday morning, when my dad or my mom took me to play cricket, they sat there and watched me. And my father would say to me: ‘You made this mistake or that mistake.’ These kids don’t have that. In our townships, those parents only come back at night and those kids get fed and put into bed so where does the mentorship come about?”When a budding athlete from a disadvantaged background lacked mentorship, he added, it was difficult to progress through the ranks. “That’s the obstacle we have to get around. You’ll always see our township [children] struggling and that is the bridge we have to cross in order to make sure that South Africa really becomes a powerhouse in sport.“If I was formerly disadvantaged I would still be toyi-toying outside the Department of Sport and Recreation’s office not because I want to be a rebel but because I want more access to facilities.” By having the sports facilities and equipment at their disposal, Brad Bing believes children from disadvantaged areas like Khayelitsha can realise their potential not just as athletes but as good people too.LACK OF ACCESSSporting Chance sees itself as a business that gives communities access to sports, coaches and facilities. “We run coaching programmes as well regardless of the type of sport it is in that community.”At the rugby activation in Khayelitsha, Bing said that though there were facilities in the area, they were not maintained. “We have a rugby facility here but with all due respect you look at the clubhouse… You’ve got the poles here but you don’t see the field markings and if the fields are not marked are you telling me that rugby is actually played on a daily basis… most of those people are out there working, when do they have time to make the club work?” Bing asked.“So we are talking about rugby but where are the squash courts and the tennis courts? There are cricket facilities that haven’t been maintained. How are we going to produce black cricket in communities?”In addition, although the facility was there, residents did not have access to equipment. “We fully know that if we leave equipment here we won’t find it tomorrow so you need someone to lead that facility and make sure it’s secure.”There is also no access to professional and structured coaching. At the rugby activation, former Springboks Sevens player Mpho Mbiyozo and Sporting Chance coaches were on hand to teach children from the township about rugby and life.However, Bing said such events took place once; training programmes should be ongoing. “Believe me, in a population as big as Khayelitsha where you have got half-a-million people, you can have 400 to 500 kids coming here at any time.”Mbiyozo agreed, saying: “It ends here today, and when they go home and they’re all happy. This event is a seed but we need to water it to germinate.”last_img read more

Congress leader Rohit Tilak booked for rape

first_imgCongress leader Rohit Tilak, a a descendent of Lokmanya Bal Gangadar Tilak’s family, was on Monday booked for allegedly raping a woman.The Visrambaug Wada Police on late Monday evening booked Pune Congress leader Rohit Tilak under sections 376 (rape) 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) 504, 506 (criminal intimidation) 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication) , acting on a complaint filed by a woman on July 8.The accused is a scion of Lokmanya Tilak’s family and the grand son of Jayantrao Tilak, erstwhile Speaker of the State Legislative assembly and son of Deepak Tilak, who is the Vice Chancellor of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth.The police said the 40-year-old complainant and Mr. Tilak knew each other for the last couple of years.“The complainant alleged that Tilak repeatedly raped her on the pretext of marrying her,” said a police officer.Mr. Tilak had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls from the Kasba Peth seat in Pune against the BJP’s Girish Bapat. (With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

London Olympics 2012: Saina Nehwal marches into quarters

first_imgOn a day when the badminton world was shrouded with controversy, it was business as usual for India’s Saina Nehwal as she cruised into the quarterfinals of the women’s badminton singles at the London Olympics here Wednesday.Eight women badminton players were disqualified from the doubles event for throwing matches to get a favourable opponent.Saina, who will be making her second quarterfinal appearance in the Olympics, though didn’t let any of this distract her as she disposed off Jie Yao of the Netherlands 21-14, 21-16.The Indian, seeded fourth, was in top form and sent a warning to her opponents with her full array of shots that demolished the eleventh seed.The first game was easy for the Indian, as she opened a 10-4 lead. Saina made her opponent run all over the court with her trademark disguised drop shots in full show.The second was a tighter affair, the Indian took a 5-2 lead initially but was pegged back by some dogged play by the Dutch player, who then managed to take a 8-5 lead.Saina’s reply came swiftly as she lifted her game to wipe off the deficit and then take a 13-9 lead. Some bad judgement calls by the Indian allowed the 11th seed to crawl back into the game but the writing was on the wall for the Dutch shuttler as Saina finally closed the game 21-16.Earlier in the day, Parupalli Kashyap created history by becoming the first Indian male player to enter the singles quarterfinals at Olympics, defeating Sri Lankan Niluka Karunaratne in three games.advertisementKashyap won a tough match 21-14, 15-21, 21-9, in one hour and six minutes at the Wembley Arena. The previous best performance was by Dipankar Bhattarcharjee in the 1992 Barcelona Games where he lost the third round match to Chinese Zhao Jianhua.last_img read more

Dame time: Blazers guard continues to beat the odds

first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Now a four-time All-Star, Lillard had another series-clinching 3-pointer, back in 2014 in the first-round against the Houston Rockets.For the past several years, the Blazers have had a reputation as the West’s overachieving underdogs — a smaller market team that always puts up a fight in a conference dominated by the Warriors. In a way, the whole team has taken on Lillard’s prove-them-wrong persona.Portland has been swept in the postseason’s opening round for the past two seasons. Last season especially stung because the Blazers were a third seed with homecourt advantage over New Orleans.Lillard was asked at practice this week whether the Blazers are playing with a chip on their collective shoulder, given the recent past. His drew on his own story when talking about his teammates.“Over time you’ve gotta grow and you gotta move on from stuff. You gotta let it play its part, you can’t just hold to it,” he said. “I know what my story is, I know I was under recruited, I went to a small school but I don’t come in here every day like ‘They didn’t want to recruit me.’ It was what it was. It kind of pushed me to where I was at that time.“Then you just move on to the next thing. I think that’s where we are.”Lillard has moved on from the first-round series, from the shot and perhaps from his past. While he’s known to point to his wrist after big shots, indicating “Lillard Time,” it’s now as if that’s no longer necessary. Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments “It’s was a great, great feeling to go out that way, and get that series,” Lillard said. “But at the end of the day it’s just the first round, you don’t want to get too emotionally excited about it, and try to trying to move forward and lay an egg because you’re too emotional about this whole thing. It’s a great feeling, I’m excited about it. But I’m ready to move on.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Shooting kills college football player, injures Giants’ pick Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid He averaged 33 points over the five games against the Thunder, best for a playoff series in franchise history.He has the Nuggets attention — along with the rest of the NBA.“Damian Lillard’s on a tear right now,” Denver’s Paul Millsap acknowledged.Lillard averaged 23.8 points per game to lead the Blazers in the regular season. Portland finished third in the Western Conference with 53 wins for a sixth straight appearance in the playoffs. Lillard has been on each of those teams.“This was not a coming-out party. This is who he is,” said Blazers guard Seth Curry. “You watch basketball, you pay attention, you watch highlights, you know who he is as a player. He has done this all year and he’s been doing this every year.”ADVERTISEMENT Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard leaves the court after hitting the game-winning three-pointer to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-115 in Game 5 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Lillard finished with a franchise playoff-record 50 points and Portland eliminated Oklahoma City from the postseason. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)PORTLAND, Ore. — After he made his unforgettable 3-pointer at the buzzer to clinch Portland’s first-round series over Oklahoma City, Damian Lillard was mobbed by his teammates.The television camera moved into the scrum, and Lillard looked directly into the lens. His expression was pure told-you-so.ADVERTISEMENT Said teammate Rodney Hood: “It is time to put him up there with the top players in the league. This was icing on the cake. I know he is one of the best players in the league, now this performance will put him on the radar nationally.”It seems the 28-year-old Lillard has spent his entire basketball career off the radar.Lillard didn’t get a lot of interest from recruiters when he was a kid growing up in Oakland, California, and wound up at Weber State. He grabbed Portland’s attention and after an impressive hour-long solo workout and a dinner with owner Paul Allen, the Blazers took him with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte “Obviously he can score the ball with the best of them. But Dame has a chip on his shoulder, and he has since the day he walked into this league,” said Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. “Just the way he grinds, he played like a guy from Oakland with a chip on his shoulder and a guy who has been doubted forever.”The doubters don’t bother the 6-foot-3 Lillard. They seem to motivate him, fuel his hunger to prove them wrong.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsHe enters the NBA conference semifinals on a roll, as confident as ever.And it’s not just because of the 37-footer that eliminated the Thunder: He had 50 points in last Tuesday’s deciding game, a 118-115 Game 5 victory that sent the Blazers through to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in three seasons. He had 34 points in the first half and finished with 10 3-pointers, second most ever in the playoffs. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles LATEST STORIESlast_img read more