South Africa’s long-awaited White Paper on New Energy Vehicles has finally been given the go-ahead.
During a post-Cabinet media briefing held on Thursday, Minister in The Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Cabinet had approved the draft White Paper on electric vehicles, which aims to ensure that the country forms part of the global shift from internal combustion engines to new technology vehicles.
“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,” the Minister said.
“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 positions it to become a key and strategic player in the full electric vehicle value chains.”
South Africa’s automotive industry currently contributes around 7% of the country’s GDP.
The Automotive Business Council, Naamsa, said the aim of the White Paper was to provide a comprehensive and long-term automotive industry transformation plan on NEVs for South Africa.
Government had not made the White Paper available to the public at the time of writing, but it is expected to be released shortly.
However many of its objectives were outlined in the Green Paper published by the Department of Trade and Industry in May 2021. It also recommended the implementation of purchase incentives for electric vehicles in order to stimulate demand among South African consumers.
The South African government has come under fire in recent years for its lack of an EV policy or any form of incentives for buyers of these vehicles.
This lack of direction was also recently criticised by Volkswagen, whose global CEO caused a stir over the weekend by stating he was “very worried” about the future of the company’s local manufacturing facility in the Eastern Cape, due to both infrastructural and policy related challenges. Read more on VWSA here.
During the aforementioned Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Minister Ntshavheni acknowledged that load shedding was having an impact on the manufacturing sector, but added that she felt the new EV policy would help to retain automotive investments and attract new ones.
“When you go through that policy paper you’ll see among the proposals are incentive schemes to not only keep the current automobile investors but also to expand into new factories for the electric vehicles.”