Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu
An announcement on the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles will be soon announced.Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has endorsed the deployment of renewables for cheaper and reliable electricity.He also spoke of the need to phase out of coal.Government will soon make a “big announcement” about the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles (EV), says Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.The minister on Thursday delivered a keynote address at the Just Transition Multi-Stakeholder Conference, organised by the Presidential Climate Commission. The conference is taking place in Gauteng over two days.Mbalula said that the local automotive industry must be equipped to seize opportunities from a cleaner transport system, this includes EVs.”We will make a big announcement in the near future in terms of the installation of charging stations in the country,” he said. “That announcement is coming your way very soon.”Mbalula added that government is “not left behind” and “not resisting anything”.Mbalula endorsed the deployment of renewables for cheaper and more reliable electricity. This will have positive knock-on effects for energy-dependent sectors such as mining, cement and manufacturing, he added.He also spoke of the need to phase out coal.”We must continue to phase out coal… the minister of energy [Gwede Mantashe] will kill me about this… I must be understood properly,” he said with a chuckle. He then rephrased: “We must continue to phase out coal in a manner that is carefully structured and planned.” This means repurposing and repowering existing coal plants and creating new livelihoods for workers and communities specifically impacted by this change, Mbalula emphasised.Mantashe has on multiple occasions said the transition must not be rushed and that the impact livelihoods of the multitudes dependent on the coal value chain must be carefully considered.Mbalula acknowledged that the transition must work for everyone affected by it.He said the utility-scale deployment of renewables (about 3 GW to 4 GW per year over the next 30 years) could generate the scale for local manufacturers to produce components for wind and solar facilities and batteries.”This manufacturing can create real jobs, not just intermittent jobs in installation and construction, but decent, permanent jobs linked to large-scale manufacturing,” he said.