S02E06 Ex VWSA MD: Risks of SA not transitioning to manufacturing EVs

Posted On: January 13, 2023

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S02E06 Ex VWSA MD: Risks of SA not transitioning to manufacturing EVs

In this episode, we discussed the need to participate in the global production network, align markets, and grasp the opportunities that come with creating a new ecosystem around sustainable electric mobility.

With two-thirds of SA’s automotive manufacturing output exported to Europe, where the internal combustion engine is on its way out, Robert says manufacturers who don’t make the move to EV production are at serious risk of losing out.

We discuss:

  • the opportunity for digitisation in Africa
  • battery electric mobility
  • what transitioning to electric mobility means for Africa
  • overall equipment effectiveness
  • differences in workplace culture
  • work-life balance
  • and more…



While South Africa battles loadshedding and major power supply problems, the introduction of electric vehicles may seem a futile subject. But, says this episode’s guest, Robert Cisek, challenges such as these are where opportunities lie.

At the time of recording, Robert was the outgoing Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, leading a team of over 4 000 employees. He has since relocated to Wolfsburg, Germany, where he now heads up the small and compact product line.

Robert’s wide-ranging international experience makes him perfectly placed to discuss related hot-button topics like the global differences in market requirements, customer expectations and (mis)communicating in the workplace.


00:00 – Introducing Robert Cisek

02:31 – Opportunity for digitisation in Africa

04:16 – Robert’s background and education

12:26 – Battery electric mobility

18:40 – What transitioning to electric mobility means for Africa

22:40 – Overall equipment effectiveness

30:44 – Differences in workplace culture

35:12 – Being at the right place at the right time

41:13 – Work-life balance

43:01 – One wish for VWSA