Capital investment in the local automotive industry, which includes the vehicle and asset finance houses, requires certainty in policy frameworks so it can make long-term predictions when getting involved in completely new projects, such as the move to electric vehicles (EVs).
This is the caution from WesBank CEO Ghana Msibi, during a round table discussion at the recent South African Auto Week held at the Kyalami Conference Centre.
“It is not about an unwillingness to take risks,” he said. “We require a settled environment before making decisions. We know what we need to do, but the way capital can play in the new world of mobility depends on the speed at which Government responds by providing the relevant policies and frameworks timeously, and creates an environment conducive to our active participation.”
The panel discussion was originally scheduled to address on learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, but was changed to focus on what is needed to activate the power shift from internal combustion engines (ICE) to EVs.
“The current hurdle is that the Government cannot get the basic hygiene issues right in terms of a long-term EV policy,” said Msibi. “There seems to be too much politicising and philosophising on issues, with another example being the long delay in finalising the spectrum issue. Most of all we need accountability and partnership from the Government so we can make our decisions with confidence.”
Professor Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), said that Government should get the basics right and have the political will to implement what needs to be done.