Min­ing fo­rum calls for probe into skills de­vel­op­ment body

The Mercury - - NEWS - Di­neo Faku

GER­MAN pre­mium ve­hi­cle brand Audi is to launch a full elec­tric ve­hi­cle in South Africa in 2019 and it be­lieves there will prob­a­bly be about an­other 10 full elec­tric ve­hi­cles avail­able in the do­mes­tic mar­ket from other ve­hi­cle brands.

Trevor Hill, head of Audi South Africa, said yes­ter­day that the Audi full elec­tric ve­hi­cle would be a sport util­ity ve­hi­cle (SUV) with an­tic­i­pated sales of be­tween 80 and 100 units a year in the be­gin­ning.

Hill said Audi saw a strong de­vel­op­ment in elec­tric ve­hi­cles in South Africa in the next five to 10 years, but stressed the mar­ket would not move to 80 per­cent elec­tric ve­hi­cles. “We will have com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cles in South Africa for many years to come,” he said.

Hill said Audi planned to ex­pand its full elec­tric range after launch­ing its first full elec­tric ve­hi­cle model and had al­ready set up an elec­tri­fi­ca­tion project for e-tron, the trade name for Audi’s elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

He said the key is­sue was to get high power charg­ing sta­tions in­stalled in Audi’s dealer net­work, cre­ate sep­a­rate stor­age ar­eas for bat­ter­ies and a sep­a­rate ser­vice bay.

“There are phys­i­cal things we need to do in the dealer net­work so as we build new dealers now we are al­ready lay­ing the high-power charg­ing sta­tions and build­ing them into re­fur­bish­ments.

“We are do­ing e-tron readi­ness for our com­pany and our dealers,” he said.

How­ever, Hill said not every Audi dealer in South Africa would ini­tially be sell­ing e-tron ve­hi­cles.

Hill said Audi’s sales and mar­ket­ing of elec­tric ve­hi­cles would ini­tially be fo­cused on cer­tain pock­ets of the coun­try, such as Sand­ton and Bryanston in Jo­han­nes­burg; Con­stan­tia, Clare­mont and Bish­op­scourt in Cape Town; and uMh­langa and Bal­lito in Dur­ban, be­cause those were con­fined ar­eas and the peo­ple who lived there had the wealth and means to buy these ve­hi­cles.

Be­gin­ning

He said Audi South Africa had not de­fined these ar­eas yet, but the fo­cus would be on these kinds of ar­eas in the be­gin­ning, be­cause this would be where they be­lieved they would have the best chance of suc­cess.

Hill said there were very few elec­tric ve­hi­cles on South Africa’s roads at the mo­ment and ad­mit­ted that range was still an is­sue, be­cause they could not, for in­stance, drive to Dur­ban on a sin­gle charge.

How­ever, Hill said the full elec­tric ve­hi­cle Audi would be launch­ing into the South African mar­ket had a cur­rent range of about 500km and it could be about 800km by the time they launched the model, be­cause bat­tery de­vel­op­ment was pro­gress­ing “in leaps and bounds”.

Hill stressed the im­por­tance of leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies to cater for elec­tric ve­hi­cles and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing to pre­vent the coun­try lag­ging.

He con­firmed Audi was lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment on these is­sues to en­sure the South African mar­ket was pre­pared for what was com­ing in the fu­ture.

Hill said Norway’s ve­hi­cle mar­ket to­day was 80 per­cent elec­tric ve­hi­cles, but three years ago be­tween 50 per­cent and 60 per­cent of sales were com­bus­tion en­gine mod­els.

“But the Nor­we­gian gov­ern­ment de­cided to change it quickly and they put in­cen­tives in place for elec­tric cars, dropped the du­ties and gave elec­tric cars pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to drive into cities.

“If you want to have elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, that is good for the en­vi­ron­ment. But then there have to be ben­e­fits,” he said.

Hill ad­mit­ted the South African gov­ern­ment’s re­liance on tax rev­enue from the fuel levy was a chal­lenge. THE MIN­ING Fo­rum of South Africa (MFSA), a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cused on mon­i­tor­ing com­pli­ance with so­cial and labour plans of the min­ing in­dus­try, has called for a probe into the Min­ing Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Au­thor­ity (MQA).

The fo­rum al­leged that the MQA, the body re­spon­si­ble for skills de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in the min­ing in­dus­try, was grap­pling with a cri­sis of lead­er­ship, man­age­ment, and gov­er­nance as well as a lack of ca­pac­ity.

It said it had laid com­plaints that the roles of chief ex­ec­u­tive and chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer were oc­cu­pied in act­ing ca­pac­i­ties and this cre­ated prob­lems for the MQA.

MSA founder Bless­ings Ramoba charged that the MQA had not paid stu­dent bur­saries nor grad­u­ates in mines.

“The only thing they (MQA) know is cor­rup­tion and loot­ing. We want them out – and to re­sign im­me­di­ately. They can­not run the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” said Ramoba. “We want the board to ac­count in Par­lia­ment.”

The MFSA said it had writ­ten to MQA chair­per­son Mthokozisi Zondi for an over­haul of the ex­ec­u­tive and for the board to ap­point a task team to take over the reins. Ramoba is sched­uled to meet with the MQA board shortly.

The call fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the MFSA into the MQA found that its skills sys­tems struc­ture was “cur­rently in­ef­fec­tive and not work­ing well”.

Among the list of fail­ures at the MQA, the MFSA listed poor gov­er­nance and lead­er­ship, poor man­age­ment and de­liv­ery of bur­sary pro­grammes, and ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture.

The MQA cur­rent skills de­vel­op­ment sys­tem was largely fail­ing to ad­dress the skills needed by South Africa’s harsh eco­nomic cli­mate.

The MQA is one of South Africa’s 21 Sec­tor Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Au­thor­i­ties.

How­ever, the MQA chief ex­ec­u­tive, Te­bogo Mmotla, said he wel­comed the study by the fo­rum of South Africa. How­ever, he did not agree with the con­cerns at all.

“We have im­ple­mented skills pro­grammes and por­ta­ble skills in a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try and they are work­ing. There is no cor­rup­tion, nei­ther in­com­pe­tent lead­er­ship nor lack of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance at MQA, be­cause the lat­ter ob­tained an un­qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ion from the au­di­tor-gen­eral of South Africa,” Mmotla.

Com­pe­tent

“The MQA board has proven to be very com­pe­tent, be­cause it is the same board which steered the MQA to achiev­ing the un­qual­i­fied au­dit re­port dur­ing the fi­nan­cial year 2016-2017. The au­di­tor-gen­eral has fur­ther con­firmed same dur­ing the au­dit and the ev­i­dence is in the an­nual re­port, 2016-2017, which is a public doc­u­ment. Our aim this year is to get a clean au­dit re­port from the au­di­tor-gen­eral of South Africa,” he said.

Min­eral Re­sources port­fo­lio com­mit­tee chair­per­son Sahlulele Luzipho said this week that the com­mit­tee would al­low the MQA to deal with the mat­ter.

Min­ing com­pa­nies con­trib­ute 1 per­cent of pay­roll levies to skills de­vel­op­ment and 10.5 per­cent of this was utilised for ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­pen­di­ture within the MQA, ac­cord­ing to the Cham­ber of Mines.

The 2018 Audi AG SQ5 sports util­ity ve­hi­cle on dis­play at the 2017 North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show in Detroit, Michi­gan. Audi an­tic­i­pates ini­tial sales of be­tween 80 and 100 units a year of its fully elec­tric SUV in South Africa.

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