Address by Transport Minister Nzimande at FIA and Motorex Conference at Sun City

30 April 2019 | Department of Transport

President of the Federation Internationale De L’automobile (FIA) and UN Special Envoy for road safety, Mr. Jean Todt;
DoT DDG for Integrated Transport Planning (ITP), Mr. Themba Tenza;
Representative of the Department of Sport and Recreation;
Road Traffic Management Corporation representatives(RTMC);
Automobile Association of South Africa (AASA) team, led by Mr.
Sikkie Kajee, Chairman;
Motor Sport South Africa representatives;
FIA Members;
Industry Leaders;
Renowned Speakers;
NAVYA team;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen;

First and foremost I would like send a message of goodwill from the South African President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, who unfortunately cannot be wish us today.

Due to the importance of this conference and given the mandate of the of Transport, I am here today representing the government of South Africa.

I am gladly accepted this invitation with the knowledge that as a country we still have much to learn from other countries in creating an integrated, safe, affordable, reliable and accessible transport model. 

It therefore becomes critical that as government we seek closer relations with highly developed countries and multinational corporations throughout the world to modernise our transport systems.

Whilst we acknowledge the fact that the challenges confronting us may not be the same, we should be all united to create an efficient, safe affordable and environmentally friendly transport system. 

As the government of South Africa, our participation today is also motivated by the fact that FIA and Motorsport South Africa does not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, creed or religion, important tenants enshrined in the South Africa’s Constitution.

Conferences of this nature also boost our tourism sector and our economy in general. This is the reason why the South African government calls for local and foreign direct investment to grow our inclusive economy.

The South African government held the Investment Conference and subsequently the jobs summit to raise R1.4 trillion investment over the next five years. 

The automotive sector is one on the identified and reliable partner to ensure the success of our investment goals. I see this conference as yet another opportunity for the national and international automotive sector to heed to the call by President Ramaphosa and invest in South Africa.

On the sporting side, our view is that sporting events plays an important role in social cohesion and nation building.  Our Former President Nelson Mandela said, I quote:

“Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does it speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers”.

It is for this reason that I could not miss this opportunity to share and learn from all of you. I am also looking forward for the demonstration of the FIA MotorEx, which i am told will be demonstrated for the first time in SA, and possibly for the first time on the entire African continent.

This conference comes at a time when South Africa celebrates its 25th Anniversary of a democratic dispensation.

25 year ago, South Africans founded a new country defined by the principles of equality, unity, non-racialism and non-sexism.

Despite the passage of time, on the 27th April annually, we remember vividly - the exhilaration of seeing nearly 20 million South Africans of all races waiting patiently at polling stations around the country to cast their ballots.

South African have so much to celebrate, as we reflect where we come from as a country.

Most prominent among our achievements has been the promotion of our nationhood in a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.

Our new nationhood manifests itself in manyways. Today, the children of our land, black and white, can learn in the same schools, and study in the same universities and colleges.

When democracy came, we did not skink into the abyss of vengeance and retribution.

Our Constitution is the main pillar of our democracy. It is the safeguard of our independence and the expression of our commitment to human rights. It is an enduring symbol of our commitment to heal the rifts that once divided us, and to put aside the bitterness of the past and to build a common future.

On the 8th May 2019, South Africa will once again take to the polls. 

It remains our shared aspiration that the elections be free and fair, so we honour the sacrifices of our forebearers.

Their sacrifices were too great, and the price they paid too high, for us to see our hard-won gains diminish by intolerance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am extremely passionate about science, innovation, and new and smart technologies within the transport sector.  What makes me more pleased is the conference programme, which will focus on the most critical transport innovative issues that will have a positive impact on the future transport needs of our country.

Due to other work engagements, I will not be here for the entire conference, but I am taking a keen interest in all the deliberations taking place in this conference. Officials from my department will be with you throughout the conference. 

South Africa has adopted the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP 2050) which advocates for a comprehensive, multi-modal, integrated, dynamic and sustainable transport framework, that is safe for commuters and the environment. 

The NATMAP 2050, advocates for a well-managed and regulated transport sector, within a multi-sectoral sphere of effective coordination within and in cooperation between government spheres, the private sector, civil society and other key stakeholders. 

Through NATMAP 2050, we also intend to address some of the historical imbalances of our country including the infrastructure developed by the colonial oppressors which was designed to cater for a selected few, based on race. 

Ladies and gentlemen

South Africa, under the National Department of Transport, launched the Green Transport Strategy (GTS), in 2018, during the October Transport month.  

During this month, South Africa celebrates and showcases its transport achievements and rally South Africans to use public transport to protect the environment.

At the centre of our Green Transport Strategy, is the promotion of green mobility by ensuring that we attain our economic growth targets, whilst providing greater safety to citizens, communities and protecting our precious environment. 

Transport is the driver of socio-economic development, but our carbon footprint continues to grow at an incrementally substantial rate. 

The transport sector is the most rapidly growing source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) in the country, and the second most significant source of GHG emissions. 

This is partly attributed to the high-energy intensity in the sector, which relies on imported fossil-based oil, and locally-produced synthetic fuels. 

The transport sector accounts for 10.8% of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa, with Road Transport responsible for 91.2%. 

To address these challenges through GTS, we intend to achieve the following goals:

To convert 5% of the public and national sector fleet in the first five years to cleaner alternative fuel and efficient technologies vehicles, ideally powered through renewable energy. Thereafter, we will gravitate to a 2% increase. 

This strategy will ensure that we have environmentally sustainable low carbon fuels by 2022. 

2.   To reduce fossil-fuel related emissions in the transport sector by promoting norms and standards for fuel economy and putting in place regulations that promote improved efficiency in fossil-fuel powered vehicles with improved environmental impact. 

To achieve modal shifts in transport sector that reduce GHG and other harmful emissions, reducing congestion and improving temporal, spatial and economic efficiency in the sector, characterized by a 30% shift for freight transport, from road to rail, and a 20% shift of passenger transport from private cars to public transport and eco-mobility transport. 

Investing in green energy infrastructure like biogas filling stations, and electric car charging points. 

To ensure that GTS is implemented we are committed to deliberate ensure that there is a shift from road to rail transport for both passengers and freight in order to reduce the heavy load on our roads. 

This will also ensure that the majority of our commuters use safe and convenient modes of transport. 

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a sector driving economic development, South Africa embraces the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

It is our firm belief that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will stimulate our economy, open a corridor of opportunities and produce more jobs, through the enhanced use of technology. 

This is the reason we are modernizing our transport infrastructure to bring it in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

It is a known fact, that as a continent, we played little or no role in the previous three revolutions, namely the Agricultural, Industrial, and Information Revolution. 

As a country, we have taken the mantle in embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure that we close the gap between Africa and the developed continents. 

I am excited by the gradual shift to electronic modes of transport. We need to embrace these innovations in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

We need to look to the future to obtain solutions for the present. With some foresight, we might be able save government billions in the long run, as well as conserving our precious environment. 

As a country, we are gradually entering the developments for electric vehicles.

However, as indicated before, we need to spent some bit more time in the area dealing with research in the form of electronic modes of transport.

It is these forms of technological advances that could also help us to improve our road safety record, which at the moment is higher than similar countries of the same size and development.

We are also warming up to the mobility ecosystem advancements.

Ask any automotive executive the following question: “Which part of your car generates the most power?” Their answer will likely influence your purchase decision significantly. If that person answers, “the engine” or “the powertrain,” you’ll know you are dealing with someone at least 10 years behind the times.

In the post-ownership future, consumers, dealers, and manufacturers alike are learning how to exist in a mobility ecosystem. 

As you may know better, mobility connotes far more than mere car ownership. It includes ride sharing, car sharing, usage by the hour, and using alternate forms of transport as needed. It can also include not moving at all, but arriving virtually through tools like Skype and Facetime from the front seat of your parked vehicle.

On the other hand, the “Ecosystem” brings to mind a remarkably connected and symbiotic existence, where a driver’s music or podcast collection hands off effortlessly to the onboard entertainment system, where turn-by-turn directions and real-time parking space information arrives just when it is needed, where car and owner communicate via smartphone, and where car and manufacturer communicate via the house WiFi.

Indeed, these are technological advancements that as South Africa we are so greatly looking to achieve in a not so distant future.

As we implement these advancement, we are also cautious not to negatively affect our county’s ability to create jobs. Rather, these advancements must assist us to create the much-needed jobs by our communities.

I will be interested to known the pronouncement of this conference on the issues of job creation in the South African automotive industry and its value chain.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Much as we have the Green Transport Strategy, what remains our challenge is that just 0.7% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) goes towards research, technology and innovation. This is even below the African continent’s average of 0.9% in contrast to the African continent’s average, the average of the highly developed states in Europe sits at about 5%. 

This development, should serve as an opportunity for the businesses community, both locally and internationally, to partner with government to ensure that we turn the tide and grow the sector. 

Given the above scenario, there will be long-term benefits for business to invest in South Africa with solutions that may change the transport landscape. 

I therefore implore and encourage business to join us in investing in the South African innovations space. It is through innovation that South Africa will meet its growth and development and bring it on par to international standards. 

As the Minister of Transport, I have appointed a Panel of Transport Experts who continue to share their knowledge on transport related matters. 

We also seek bodies of knowledge from research institutions, tertiary institutions, transport experts, the private sector and key players within the transport sector. 

Part of our commitment is to lead in the creation of Innovation Hubs at a more localized level, to ensure innovative ideas and solutions are tabled at these hubs. 

South Africa is a signatory to the UN Decade for Action on Road Safety and we are committed to the “safe systems” approach. We continue to create safer road environments that will save our people from the scourge of road fatalities.

However, we still have an unacceptable number of crashes and fatalities on our roads. 

Our road safety reports indicated that human factors are the primary reason for 77% of all fatal road crashes. 

This is followed by road conditions at 16%, and the condition of a vehicle at 6%. 

The top six reasons for crashes that are human-related are Drunk Driving, distractions caused by usage of cellphone or texting while driving, speeding, reckless and negligent driving and pedestrians, and tyre burst.

I remain hopeful that this conference will assist us to come up with tested interventions that will help us to deal with this calarmity on our roads. We are more than willing to partner with any member state and association of FIA on any road safety issues.

It is my belief that conferences such as this, should be at the forefront of finding solutions that will impact us to confront and find mutually beneficial solutions that will benefit our countries in the immediate and future. 

I wish a successful conference and enjoy the South Africa sun and hospitality.

Thank you

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