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Jul 09, 2009

Real Economy Report

RER 67
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From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Our top stories this week: we speak to Transnet about the freight utility's plans to crowd-in domestic industry around its R80,5-billion investment programme; mining explosives company BME opens its first shocktube plant; and, we look at a new water sanitation tool for Africa.

Mariaan Webb:
There is growing pressure on South Africa's State enterprises to generate localisation opportunities around their big investment programmes. We spoke to acting Transnet CEO Chris Wells about the utility's plans for meeting this objective. Terence Creamer reports.

Terence Creamer:
The new administration, under President Jacob Zuma, has placed the country's R787-billion infrastructure push at the heart of the country's stimulus response to the economic crisis. But, it also wants State enterprises to do more to support the creation of industrial activity and jobs around these programmes. Acting CEO Chris Wells explains how Transnet is responding.

Chris Wells

Terence Creamer:
There is also growing pressure to show that the so-called competitive supplier development programme, or CSDP, is an effective localisation platform. Some believe it would be more appropriate to set hard offset targets. But for repeat locomotive, crane and spares orders, Transnet believes the CSDP is still appropriate, despite the emergence of a new buyers market.

Chris Wells

Terence Creamer:
But, Transnet can fully expect growing stakeholder attention to be paid to the localisation issue. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has already suggested that, in the context of a chronic current account deficit, the programmes themselves will become unviable without higher local content. Others are more strident, arguing that that the CSDP is simply too soft on suppliers and irrelevant to the new recessionary context.

Mariaan Webb:
Mining explosives firm BME has opened its first shocktube production facility, positioning the company to be a producer of safer blasting alternatives. Jonathan Faurie has the story.

Jonathan Faurie:
The establishment of BME's shocktube production facility in Fochville, in the North West Province means that the company is able to produce a safer blasting alternative to the mining industry as opposed to importing it. BME's director of production Dawie Mynhardt reports that this is a big step for the company.

BME director of production Dawie Mynhardt

Jonathan Faurie:
The company chose to develop the facility on a semi-automated bases as opposed to a heavy capital investment.

Mariaan Webb:
About 45% of Africa's population lacks access to clean water. Humanitarian organisation Vertical Life has started a project to take 200 000 LifeStraws to cholera hotspots between Cape Town and Cairo. Lindsey Berry reports:

Lindsey Berry:
The LifeStraw was developed by Swiss relief-product manufacturer Vestergaard Frandsen and can remove more than 98% of waterborne viruses. Matthew Carter, the leader of the Vertical Life Africa Project, explains why the project to distribute the straws in Africa was started.

Lindsey Berry:
Distribution of the straws will mainly be to rural areas and will be accompanied by a three-day educational programme on how to prevent and treat waterborne diseases.

Mariaan Webb:
That's Creamer Media's Real Economy Report. Join us again next week for more news and insight into South Africa's real economy.


Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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