President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza will on Monday, 29 March 2021, lead an oversight visit to the Aspen Pharmacare sterile manufacturing facility and Coega Special Economic Zone at Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.
Deputy President David Mabuza will undertake the visit in his capacity as Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 Vaccines.
The President and Deputy President will be accompanied by Minister of Health Dr Zwelini Mkhize, Acting Minister in the Presidency Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and the Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Cllr Mzwenqaba Bhanga.
The visit to the Aspen Pharmacare COVID-19 sterile manufacturing facility will focus on progress in vaccine production as part of the partnership between government and the private sector in the national vaccination programme.
In November 2020 Aspen Pharmacare collaborated with Johnson & Johnson to establish the capacity required for the manufacturing of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Aspen’s sterile facility in Gqeberha.
This new sterile manufacturing facility contains high-technology equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture state-of-the-art sterile drugs and vaccines. The facility packages these products into vials, ampoules and pre-filled syringes.
Aspen has invested more than R3 billion in the facility which will further provide lifesaving medicines for the domestic and export markets.
President Ramaphosa and Deputy President Mabuza will tour the internationally accredited facility which has the capacity to produce up to 300 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine per annum.
Following the visit to Aspen Pharmacare, the delegation will pay a brief visit to the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
As South Africa accelerates its Economic Reconstruction and Recovery, Coega is an improvement catalyst for investment and local development.
The Coega SEZ, while offering global competitiveness through world-class infrastructure, tax incentives, rebates and a duty-free zone, is purpose-built for manufacturing, beneficiation of export goods, skills development and job creation which benefits the local and national economy.
Following the Coega visit, the delegation will stop over at the nearby BAIC SA (Beijing Automotive International Corporation) auto manufacturing plant, which constitutes a significant investment and demonstration of confidence in South Africa as an investment destination.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, and the nature of sensitivity in a sterile facility that manufactures vaccines, a media pool will cover the proceedings of the visit.
The visit to Aspen Pharmacare and Coega Special Economic Zone will start at 11h00 and can be followed on major news channels and government social media platforms including Presidency platforms.
Tyrone Seale, Acting Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA