Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has released a White Paper that outlines a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) roadmap for South Africa and the structure of a suite of policy interventions tailored to the automotive industry.
“It is a product of constructive engagement with stakeholders, including within government, industry and labour, to chart a viable and sustainable transition path for the industry,” Patel said on Monday.
At a media briefing in Pretoria, Patel said the primary goal of the White Paper is to set a course to transition the auto industry from primarily producing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles to a dual platform that includes EVs in the production and consumption mix, alongside ICE vehicles in South Africa by 2035.
“This vision is aligned with the foundational objectives outlined in the SAAM, a strategic framework implemented from 2021 to shape the nation's automotive industry,” Patel said.
Patel explained that it also aligns with changing demand in export markets and South Africa’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.
“The compelling reasons behind this transition are numerous. Foremost is the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Additionally, we recognise the pivotal role the automotive industry plays in South Africa's economy, as a major employer and a driver of economic growth.
“This White Paper presents a comprehensive, coordinated approach to the transition to minimise the perils of an uncoordinated transition. It draws on extensive international and domestic research and consultations, spanning from 2019 to 2023.
“It is grounded in the principle that decarbonisation should not lead to de-industrialisation but rather be leveraged for growth, deepening the automotive value chain, fostering growth of the local industry, and ensuring the transition aligns with economic priorities,” Patel said.
Patel said successful management of the transition is a pro-growth and pro-investment strategy.
“The success of the transition requires all stakeholders to continue to work collaboratively to navigate this challenging transition and transform it into an opportunity for growth, sustainability, and economic vitality,” the Minister said.
Patel said South Africa could see the first electric vehicles as early as by 2026.
Last week, Cabinet approved the White Paper on EVs to ensure that South Africa becomes part of the global shift from internal combustion engines to new technology vehicles.
Addressing the Post Cabinet briefing last Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the policy supports investments in the development and expansion of new and existing manufacturing plants to support the production of electric vehicles in the country.
“South Africa’s automobile industry plays a critical role in economic growth and supports thousands of jobs, and the country is also endowed with mineral resources that position it to become a key and strategic player in EV value chains,” the Minister said.
The White Paper is the culmination of substantial research and engagement over the last number of years and follows the publication of a Green Paper in 2021, extensive industry consultation (assemblers, component makers and organised labour), consideration of public comments, all of which helped to shape the policy actions to be taken.
Patel also highlighted the Green Paper on the advancement of new electric vehicles and battery-electric vehicles in South Africa. The draft Green Paper seeks to develop a framework upon which a comprehensive and long-term automotive industry transformation policy on new EVs can be developed. – SAnews.gov.za