THE Automotive industrial Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
According to AIDC EC CEO Thabo Shenxane, the move is part of its strategy to position the automotive supply chain for growth and innovation, particularly electric vehicle (EV) technology
In terms of the agreement, the organisations will collaborate to help establish the Eastern Cape automotive manufacturing hub as a continental centre of excellence, strengthening and supporting the South African Automotive masterplan pillar of regional integration.
Shenxane said the alignment of automotive manufacturing related agencies, OEMs and its supply chain towards the sector’s priorities was critical to the ability of South Africa to compete globally in the future automotive manufacturing landscape.
“Automotive production is in the process of radical and accelerated change driven by technology and alternate energy. As South Africa’s automotive volumes are driven by export demand predominantly, the country and the Eastern Cape which is South Africa’s most prolific vehicle exporter, are highly vulnerable to changes in demand in these export markets – currently mostly Europe,’’ Shenxane said.
“Commitments by countries, including South Africa, to zero carbon emissions means that within… three to five years South Africa’s traditional markets will demand EV vehicles only which means we need to be making significant investments in innovation and EV technology.”
He said the AIDC EC believes that its work is central to enabling this, citing the MOU with SABS, which centres around EVs, as a case in point.
The MOU identifies several joint projects including a collaborative programme with other world-class Eastern Cape-based institutions to identify and implement projects within the EV value chain contributing to the transition of the automotive sector in South Africa, including standards.
Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator at SABS said the Bureau was “excited about this partnership with AIDC EC as it forms a critical component of our turnaround strategy to identify new areas of growth”.
Also envisioned is the enhancement of the SABS testing facility in East London to ensure continued support to the automotive industry and its establishment as a Centre of Excellence.
“The facility will enhance its testing capacity and capability to ensure alignment to the current and future requirements of the industry. The outcomes of COP26 will also have a major impact on future standards from a sustainability perspective,” Scholtz said.
AIDC EC and the SABS have identified several joint projects which includes repurposing the available buildings at the SABS East London facility to serve as an automotive incubator. The aim is to complement current services and expand to future services in the EV and related technology space.