Volkswagen South Africa is converting the plant into a temporary hospital

To help the local government in Nelson Mandela Bay care for Covid-19 patients, the Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has made its former plant in Port Elizabeth available as a temporary medical facility.

The German government is supporting the conversion of a former Volkswagen plant in South Africa into a temporary hospital.

The plant in Neave, which is currently not in operation, will be used as a hospital in the future. As soon as the 66,000 square meter facility is fully functional, it can accommodate up to 4,000 beds for patients with the Covid-19 virus. This also includes patients with acute care needs who urgently need oxygen.


The Volkswagen Group South Africa has received 5.2 million euros from the federal government for the construction of the medical facility. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has approved financial support under the develoPPP.de program. The funding is coordinated by the German Society for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ). The Volkswagen Group South Africa is investing 1.37 million euros in the project. In addition, the Volkswagen Group South Africa takes over the project management for the renovation of the facility as well as the procurement management of the personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Solidarity is critical in a crisis – and Covid-19 is an unprecedented global threat,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO Volkswagen Group South Africa. “The collaboration will enable us to achieve the position of strength we need to fight the Covid 19 virus. The Volkswagen Group South Africa used the time to find innovative ways of preparing the region for the care of the infected. We are very grateful for the support from BMZ and GIZ, as it will help us to continue to offer help to protect our citizens and our country. ”

The factory will be made available to the local government by March 2021. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are responsible for the administration and daily operation of the facility. The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is working to simplify the project and get further member support.

After all parties have signed the agreement, the medical facility is to be gradually completed and handed over to the local government as medical needs develop in the region. In the first phase, which lasts approximately six to eight weeks, the hospital can accommodate up to 1,484 patients. The agreement is Volkswagen Group South Africa’s latest initiative to tackle the global Covid-19 pandemic. In collaboration with other local companies, Volkswagen has also worked on the manufacture of ventilators, respiratory protective devices and masks. The Group has also continuously supported the Chamber of Commerce and the Metro in further strengthening medical care in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com



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