Sep 03, 2010
© Reuse this
Molebatsi: Now again the Russians are coming. Space agency Roscosmos is in satellite talks with South Africa. What are the Russians seeking this time?
Creamer: More coverage in the Southern Hemisphere. Now, it all stems from Jacob Zuma, our President's visit to Moscow, last month. They got talking and there are talks now between Roscosmos, which is the Russian space agency, and the South African National Space Agency, Sansa, and it is around possibly having a tracking facility in South Africa.
The Russians having a tracking facility. It is not known at this stage whether they are going to use our own Satellite Application Centre at Hartebeesthoek, west of Pretoria, or whether they will need more dishes. That is still in the draft memorandum, which is coming through.
In the meantime, South Africa is also looking for some reciprocity from the Russians and that they want in the form of training for space personnel and they also want to get help with radio astronomy, that we are also doing with our radio telescopes.
The Russians have also got a very big project on the go called Glonass, which is a constellation of satellites. They have managed to cover all of Russia and a lot of the world and they want South Africa to come into that as well, and that will mean that we need to also host a satellite laser ground station. We have one of those at the Satellite Application Centre, but the Russians have said it is inopportune for their needs.
So, it looks like we may have to look for another site for them. They have left that to us and said come to us and say where the best site would be.
Molebatsi: But all-in-all this is new technology or different technology that is actually coming into the country as a result of these international travels of our President.
Creamer: Exactly. Also, they are possibly winked towards Stellenbosch, although this is not confirmed that they may have this laser ground tracking station.
Molebatsi: Some South African cities are fired-up about bidding for the 2020 Olympic Games. Is it not to soon after World Cup hosting?
Creamer: Well, our State President Jacob Zuma said South Africa is ready to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Now this has inspired some of the cities. Of course, we've had the South African Olympic Committee, Sascoc coming out and saying look, there are four cities potentially here, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
Of course, you can rule out Johannesburg and Pretoria, the altitude problem. Cape Town had a go in 1997 and they bid to have the 2004 Olympics and lost out to Athens. Rome was second and Cape Town was only third. They seem a little bit lukewarm at the moment and we see some hesitancy.
Others say look, we are tempted to do it, but the more strident comment coming out of Cape Town is that they prefer smaller sporting events on a regular basis, at this stage they have got bread and butter issues they have got to deal with, the mayor says.
So the only ones coming our red-hot, Durban. They want this and they have obviously strategised ahead of time for this, because we've noticed they are already going to host the Olympic committee. The Olympic committee is going to use Durban as a venue to announce the 2018 Winter Olympics, next year. The bidding cities have to have their bids in early next year.
The preliminary bids have to be in early next year and it seems like Durban is very much in pole position. We are talking about 10 500 athletes, 300 events and 28 sports, all in one city. It is not like the World Cup, its all in one city. It can be great news for Durban, because they can obviously get guarantees out of National Treasury.
So it will be us maybe that suffer, but Durban might really benefit from this, because if you've got 10 500 athletes you've got to build houses. That becomes a housing project. When those guys move out as we ride along our Johannesburg freeway here at Alexandra township, we look left and we know that that was a village for the African Games in 1999, now people are living in it. So it can be a great benefit for the city.
Molebatsi: And it puts South Africa once again into the international spotlight, doesn't it?
Molebatsi: The port of Maputo in Mozambique is heading for an $800-million upgrade. How is this going to be funded?
Creamer: Funding is always the issue. It is interesting the flexibility that Maputo is using. We are a little bit inflexible in South Africa, its all Transnet, Transnet, Transnet. There they look for private sector involvement and you can see the port authority, which is the State giving out concessions.
One of those concessions it to South Africa's Grindrod. They are very happy with the thriving nature of that port. It's growing. They will be responsible for putting in 40 % of the $800-million envisaged, which is nearly R6-billion. So, it is quite a bit of money, but is shows you how the private sector can come in and help with that fund raising. Also, there are a lot of other sub-concessions there.
We see a lot of growth and a good model from the Maputo port, which is recognising that there is a demand for export of commodities and starting to accommodate it in an innovative way that doesn't put too much strain on the State coffers, brings in the private sector and at the same time answers the need.
So Grindrod in South Africa, quite involved now in Maputo port and getting a long-term concession there. We see that it goes to 2033 and I think it was extended with an option for a further extension. That because they are doing a new plan for the port and one of the aspects of that is that it will be immediately dredged to 11 metre depth, which means that big Panamax ships can start coming in from next year.
Molebatsi: Now, are we competing well in this regard with the Chinese and Indians, for instance, who we know are interested in coming on to the African continent?
Creamer: You know, who ever can bring infrastructure to the African continent, we need. Everytime you have roads, ports and harbours there is an economic spin-off of wealth creation and job creation and that's what we need.
Molebatsi: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he'll be back with us at the same time next week.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...