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Mar 03, 2009

Daily podcast – March 3, 2009

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This podcast is brought to you by Sarens South Africa - nothing too heavy, nothing too high.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009.

From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon O'Donnell.

Making headlines today:

South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation is undertaking a multisectoral review of the current state of distress across South African industry. This would guide the organisation's response to the current economic crisis and help inform the country's approach to rescue packages.

The recently released ‘Framework for South Africa's Response to the International Economic Crisis' placed significant emphasis on the role of the IDC in supporting distressed firms in the automotive, clothing and textiles, and mining sectors.

But CEO Geoffrey Qhena said in an interview that it was likely that a number of firms and sectors, particularly ones with large export-market exposures, were also feeling material levels of pain given the reality of rapidly slowing demand.

He reported that the development finance institution began studying the potential areas of vulnerability late last year. The findings should be available within the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said that South Africa was facing an imminent electricity distribution network crisis, with the infrastructure investment backlog having risen to an estimated 27-billion-rand.

Sonjica insisted that the restructuring of the fragmented distribution system was urgent. She warned that a collapse in the distribution system would "plunge us back into darkness".

EDI Holdings, which has been mandated to oversee the restructuring of the industry and the creation of six wall-to-wall regional electricity distributors, or Reds, has hit snag upon snag since its creation in July 2003.

Sonjica, therefore, refused to provide any firm timeframes as to when the programme could ultimately by completed. She noted that the process, which was much debated in the late 1990s, has been officially under way for more than five years.

Also making headlines:

February vehicle sales tumble 36%.
South Africa warns against car industry bailouts.
The International Monetary Fund chief says the crisis risks wiping out Africa's gains.
And, Sappi closes its North American paper mill, and expects an operating loss.

That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories please visit


Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Polity & Multimedia
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