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May 07, 2010

07/05/2010 (On-The-Air)

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Every Friday morning, SAfm's AMLive's radio anchor Caesar Molebatsi speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday's At the Coalface transcript:

Molebatsi: No less than 15 brand new fighter jets will police South Africa's skies during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Creamer: Yes, four are just on their way and will be here within the next few weeks. We will have 15 new Gripens fighter aircraft from Sweden and they will police the skies over the World Cup from June 11 to July 11.

We saw during the Confederation Cup when they used lesser aircraft, the Hawks, the trainer aircraft, during that time of the soccer warm up for the Confederation Cup, they had to intercept two aircraft that were in the airspace illegally, maybe by accident or maybe by design, and had to bring them down.

We see that there is a need to police the skies. There is going to be an adequate coverage with these 15 new aircraft. Of course, we are going to get 26 Gripen in all ultimately, but by the time the World Cup starts we will have these 15. We have also got 24 Hawks to call on, which were used during the Confederation Cup. For the low and slow aircraft that are flying low, we have got a fleet of helicopters that can also deal with them.

Molebatsi: The things we do not know and yet are for our good and benefit. South Africa may mimic Brazil to boost falling local manufacture.

Creamer: Our local manufacture footprint is falling, our industrial activity is falling and we need to do something about it in South Africa. They are looking at Brazil and Brazil has been very successful in implementing local content programmes through their bank, which is called BNDES, just loosely translated that is the National Bank for Economic and Social Development. It dispersed something like R500-billion last year, so it is a massive bank.

It has dispersed three times more then the World Bank into its own country and it insists on between 65 % and 75 % local content. Now, our South African politicians are looking at this and saying why can't we apply it to our expenditure? South Africans are also planning to spend R400-billion on energy related projects for Eskom and transport related projects for Transnet.

We need to look at a greater local content. That is why this BNDES has been studied quite intensely, because we saw that during the economic global meltdown they produced more formal jobs through this BNDES.

Molebatsi: What about timelines on this? I mean, when should we prick our ears?

Creamer: The timelines worry me, because, I mean how many times have we reviewed our industrial policy? Now looking at it again and reviewing what we had implemented before. They really need to get a speed-up and a look at our Industrial Development Corporation, which is a State-owned corporation, and it pales into insignificant compared to this Brazilian BNDES.

Molebatsi: Widespread illegal quarrying is smashing South Africa's sand and stone business.

Creamer: Illegal mining: We've had a high profile on that, we've had the Minister Susan Shabangu going down and determined to stamp it out in the Free State and also in Mpumalanga. But, we haven't heard much about illegal quarrying.

The Aggregate and Sand Producers Association, ASPASA, is pulling its hair out saying that there is so much widespread activity, unlicensed people going to river beds and taking the sand, destroying the environment, engaging in illegal quarrying and other instances while they are putting their licence in and they haven't got their licence because it takes such a long time that they just start doing the business.

This is ruining the industry for the legitimate performers who are now being undercut, their price is being undercut and they are saying that all their appeals to authorities have fallen on deaf ears.

They have reported the activities of these illegal quarries who are not only breaking the health laws and breaking the environmental law, but also the mining laws are being broken and nothing being done. So, they are appealing to authorities to do something fast.

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
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