Automotive industry Unites to Drive Transformation Beyond Compliance
The event also provided an opportunity for Neale Hill and Mikel Mabasa, in their respective roles of president and CEO of naamsa, to congratulate BMW on their 50th anniversary in South Africa.

By Austin Gamble

naamsa | The Automotive Business Council, in an inspired move, has in 2023 partnered with strategic partners in a nationwide series of thought leadership dialogues, under the banner of DRIVERS OF CHANGE

In April, WesBank, RMB and FNB sponsored a thought leadership roundtable on the key challenges and potential benefits around the transition to New Energy Vehicles (NEVs), and on 26 June Old Mutual stepped up to the plate to sponsor a discussion around transformation beyond compliance. The event was held at The Venue, Melrose Arch, and was designed to explore how the industry can meaningfully collaborate with other role players to progressively accelerate meaningful transformation that would support the industry’s important role it plays in the local economic landscape.

The key driver for growth is the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035 [SAAM35], which aims to increase local content in locally manufactured vehicles to 60%, widen and deepen value addition within the sector, and double employment opportunities within the auto value chain. And the subject up for debate on 26 June was another key strategic objective of the SAAM35; i.e. industry-wide transformation, leading to employment equity at all levels, and the increase the involvement of black-owned entities in the entire value chain. Skills development goes hand in hand with this goal, and this will require an enormous effort, and co-ordinated partnership between government and private enterprise. This was acknowledged by Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and chairperson of the Executive Oversight Committee Workstream on Transformation, and he clarified that “the industry has set ambitious targets to improve compliance levels and accelerate transformation efforts and all the seven OEMs have achieved Level 3 or better compliance requirements. However, supplier transformation is still a challenge, with 38 multinational suppliers in the approval phase of an Equity Equivalent Investment Programme [EEIP] through the Automotive Industry Transformation Fund [AITF] facilitated for approval by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. OEMs will continue to support their suppliers to enhance compliance and promote transformation.”

The three crucial themes which were debated were the aforesaid skills development, financial inclusiveness and mobility for the poor, plus localisation and the development of new black industrialists. Many interesting solutions were put forward, but the crux of the matter is that it is no longer time for South Africa to play catch up with the rest of the world, but rather to leapfrog from laggard to leader.