The Automotive Business Council has partnered with another South African blue-chip company, Old Mutual, to host the second instalment of its four-part series of Thought Leadership Roundtable discussions that focusses on the industry’s four key strategic areas for the 2023 calendar year. For this session, the discussions will move to the all-important issue of Transformation Beyond Compliance and how all key stakeholders can be Drivers of Change in driving the transformation topic which has become a license to trade for the automotive industry in South Africa. The Thought Leadership Roundtable discussion will be held at the Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on Monday, June 26, 2023. 

The overarching theme of this collaborative initiative is driving sectoral transformation with the aim to bring together key stakeholders to discuss and explore the crucial aspects of economic inclusion and equity; skills of the future within the auto sector and how we can and should progressively promote financial inclusiveness and enhance mobility options for our marginalised communities in the country. This event will serve as a platform to foster dialogue, share insights, and identify strategies through the three sessions to drive positive change within the industry. These sessions will cover the following:


The first session will look at the importance of localisation, and the development of new black industrialists within the automotive industry. This panel will discuss the challenges faced by aspiring and existing black entrepreneurs and manufacturers in entering or growing their businesses and explore strategies to overcome the known and hidden barriers to entry and associated challenges. We will also use this session to highlight success stories, best practices, and make policy recommendations to foster and accelerate growth and sustainability of black-owned manufacturing businesses. 


The second session will focus on promoting financial inclusiveness and enhancing mobility options for our marginalised communities, particularly for the poor and economically disadvantaged. This panel will bring expert insights and will examine innovative financing models, public-private partnerships, and collaborative approaches to make mobility more accessible, inclusive and affordable. Discussions will explore ways to break down barriers and create opportunities for the poor to access transportation services.


The third session will delve into the evolving nature of skills required within the automotive industry. It will explore how emerging technologies, automation, and digitisation are shaping the occupational profile of the industry in South Africa. Discussions will revolve around the necessary strategies and initiatives to upskill and reskill the workforce, and ensure that they are equipped for the changing demands of the future. 

The event promises to see business leaders drive meaningful and honest conversations about the state of the industry transformation, unearth stumbling blocks to industry growth, share diverse perspectives with other ancillary industry leaders, establish new relationships and take on new opportunities and approach to grow market reach. 

Nobesuthu Ndlovu, the Director of Small Medium Enterprise at Old Mutual says, “one of the key enablers of localisation and promoting black manufacturers in the automotive industry is access to finance. As part of collaborative initiatives, large businesses play a critical role in enabling access to finance, including financial education. Localisation ensures that manufacturing processes, supply chains, and value-added activities are rooted within the local economy, contributing to job creation, skills development, and overall economic growth”. 

“Promoting black manufacturers specifically fosters economic empowerment and enhances diversity within the industry. Our mandate is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and seeks to reduce inequality, poverty and unemployment through providing funding and business support to SMMEs. Ultimately this will contribute to the provision of decent work and economic growth”, said Ndlovu. 

Tshetlhe Litheko, naamsa Executive for Public Policy and Transformation said, “the discussions will explore strategies and initiatives needed to upskill and reskill the auto workforce of the future. This may include the establishment of training programmes, partnerships with educational institutions, apprenticeship schemes, and continuous learning opportunities. 

The Old Mutual Foundation, which has made education one of its key focus areas, aims to address the skills shortage by playing a critical role in revolutionising the way high school learners are taught the STEM skills [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics]. “As a pioneer of collaborative Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] programmes, Old Mutual has committed to bring all relevant stakeholders together, to influence and catalyse systemic change,” says Khotso Tsotsotso, Acting Head of the Old Mutual Foundation. "To equip industries like the auto industry for the changing demands of the future, South Africa needs to produce innovative, creative engineers and brilliant scientists”. Tsotsotso will also speak about the importance of grassroots funding and public private partnerships.

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