By: Guy Copans
18th May 2007
In this week’s bulletin:
- Cabinet assesses its options after talks with Mittal fail to yield results,
- Sappi appoints a long-awaited chief executive officer, and
- Johannesburg announces plans for a monorail linking Soweto to the CBD.
STEEL PRICE TALKS
The South African government has not suspended pricing talks with steel producer Mittal Steel South Africa, but is having to reassess its position in light of a call by Cabinet for an update on its efforts to deal with import parity-pricing, as well as the recent Competition Tribunal ruling, which found the steel group to have been guilty of engaging in excessive pricing.
Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa says that Cabinet has noted the failure to reach an agreement with Mittal, and has called for an update on the process in an upcoming meeting of the executive, probably in June.
Earlier Cabinet had called for import parity pricing, which is employed in a number of basic industries, to be phased out, given its negative impact on downstream manufacturers.
Mpahlwa acknowledges that the negotiation process has been a “frustrating” one for the Department of Trade and Industry, which is now assessing its options.
NEW SAPPI CHIEF
Forest products and paper manufacturer Sappi appoints Ralph Boettger, a 45-year old executive director of Imperial Holdings, as the company's new CEO, filling a position that has been vacant for more than a year.
Boettger will join Sappi on July first, after which chairperson Eugene van As, who has been acting as CEO since last March when Jonathan Leslie resigned, will revert to a nonexecutive role.
Sappi also announced on Monday that Van As, a former Sappi chief executive officer, will step down as chairperson when he retires in March 2008.
Boettger, a chartered accountant by training, is a former CEO of Safair. He also served on the executive committee of Safren and joined Imperial when the company acquired Safair in 2002.
Soweto and the Johannesburg city centre will soon be linked by a monorail, which can transport over one point five million commuters every day, the Gauteng provincial government says.
Gauteng signs a deal for the construction of the Hybrid Monorial carrier and related infrastructure, such as shopping malls and residential areas, with a private investor from Malaysia.
The investment will total some twelve billion rand.
This forms part of the provincial government's plans to implement an integrated transport system and consolidate the province as an economic and logistic hub.
The integrated monorail corridor project, which will be fully financed by the Malaysian company, will source all infrastructure and rolling stock in Gauteng, creating a number of jobs in the province.
Also, in this week’s Engineering News magazine, read our cover story on the new industrial offset scheme for State owned enterprises, the Competitive Supplier Development Programme, which can be used as a substitute for the controversial National Industrial Participation Programme.
We also report on the restart of operations at the struggling Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Corporation.
Finally, don’t miss our features on Eskom, the concrete sector and a preview of the upcoming industrial technology exhibition in KwaZulu-Natal.
That’s a round up of this week’s stories on Creamer Media’s Engineering News. For more on these and other stories, visit engineeringnews.co.za
Edited by: Liezel Hill