Nzimande calls for investment in innovation

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    Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has encouraged the business sector in South Africa to invest in innovation.

    “It is through innovation that South Africa will meet its growth and development [objectives] and bring it on par to international standards,” the Minister said.

    According the Minister, only 0.7% of the country’s 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%.

    “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,” Nzimande said.

    The Minister was addressing the Federation International De L’Automobile and Motorex conference that took place at Sun City on Monday.

    Green Transport Strategy

    Last year, the Department of Transport launched the Green Transport Strategy (GTS) to address the challenge of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG).

    “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 Minister said.

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

    The department has set a number of goals that it intends to achieve in an effort to address these challenges through the GTS.

    These include converting 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, South Africa will gravitate to a 2% increase.

    “This strategy will ensure that we have environmentally sustainable low carbon fuels by 2022. [The plan is] 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,” the Minister said.

    The department also plans to achieve modal shifts in the transport sector to 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.

    In addition, investments in green energy infrastructure like biogas filling stations and electric car charging points, will be made.

    “To ensure that GTS is implemented, we are committed to ensuring 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,” Nzimande said.

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