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HAD A GREAT FALL

By: Darlene Creamer     15th December 2017 The reputations of the South African government and the governing African National Congress took serious knocks during 2017. Allegations, and hard evidence, of State capture flowed stronger than the Orange river in flood, while the national mood was further depressed by downgrades, job losses,... 

HAD A GREAT FALL

SMOKING GUN

By: Darlene Creamer     8th December 2017 Against all odds, the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has done a remarkable job in peeling back the layers of State Capture at the country’s power utility. However, former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi arguably provided the ‘smoking gun’, with testimony linking President Jacob Zuma... 

SMOKING GUN

BIG DECISION

By: Darlene Creamer     1st December 2017 The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) is hoping to make its determination on Eskom’s revenue application for 2018/19 on December 7. It’s a big decision not only in light of Eskom’s liquidity problems, but also given the potential negative economic employment impacts of a further... 

BIG DECISION

WRECKING CONTINUES

By: Darlene Creamer     24th November 2017 President Jacob Zuma’s move to foist an unworkable, and unfunded, higher education funding plan on the National Treasury is yet one more sign that he is willing to drive a bus through any institution standing in the way of his toxic political project, which combines power with patronage and... 

WRECKING CONTINUES

WORRYING DISCONNECT

By: Darlene Creamer     17th November 2017 Those closest to, and most affect by, the problems being experienced in the electricity supply industry are currently wringing their hands over the weak sales performance and what it could mean for tariffs. However, President Jacob Zuma and his newly appointed Energy Minister, David Maholobo, are... 

WORRYING DISCONNECT

SUFFOCATED BY SCANDAL

By: Darlene Creamer     10th November 2017 The hair-raising revelations in Jacques Pauw’s latest book, ‘The President’s Keepers’, outlining President Jacob Zuma’s association with key figures in South Africa’s underworld add yet another layer of shame to his already shameful Presidency. These scandals are not only suffocating Zuma and the... 

SUFFOCATED BY SCANDAL

VITAL BAIL-OUT

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd November 2017 The exit of South African Airways’ toxic former chairperson, Dudu Myeni, may have been the best bail-out news yet received by the national carrier. Nevertheless, even with the additional support extended by the National Treasury, it’s going to take extraordinary effort and skill to pull the... 

VITAL BAIL-OUT

NUCLEAR ACCELERATOR

By: Darlene Creamer     27th October 2017 Whether justified or not, the appointment for former State Security Minister David Mahlobo as the country’s latest Energy Minister is seen an attempt by Present Jacob Zuma to push ahead with the currently stalled nuclear build programme. Given Mahlobo’s apparent close ties to Russia many view it... 

NUCLEAR ACCELERATOR

MISSING OUT

By: Darlene Creamer     20th October 2017 Largely owing to an exceptional solar resource, this country is often referred to as ‘sunny South Africa’. However, while the world is adopting solar photovoltaic (PV) technology at a record pace, this country’s solar programme is mired in uncertainty. The International Energy Agency’s... 

MISSING OUT

RUNNING ON EMPTY

By: Darlene Creamer     13th October 2017 Besides making ongoing losses, PetroSA is also facing an existential crisis, as its gas resources dwindle. Diminishing gas feedstock from its offshore wells, means that the Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids plant is now processing condensate as an alternative – a far from ideal feedstock. The State-owned... 

RUNNING ON EMPTY

CORPORATE CASUALTIES

By: Darlene Creamer     6th October 2017 The corporate body count directly attributable to the State-capture project continue to mount. Besides those companies directly associated with the controversial Gupta family, such as Oakbay and Trillian, there have been other serious casualties, most notably KPMG. More to come? Most definitely! 

CORPORATE CASUALTIES

POWER STRUGGLE

By: Darlene Creamer     29th September 2017 Amid genuine unhappiness at the state of governance at Eskom, the timing of the utility’s application for a 19.9% tariff hike could not have been worse. What’s more it comes at a time when most South African firms, but especially power-intensive ones, as struggling to make ends meet. Therefore,... 

POWER STRUGGLE

TOUGH TO TICK

By: Terence Creamer     22nd September 2017 Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba faces the most daunting Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement yet to be delivered by a South African finance minister. Not only has government’s credibility taken a nosedive under President Jacob Zuma, but there is now even a deep lack of trust surrounding the Finance... 

TOUGH TO TICK

MISSING IN ACTION

By: Darlene Creamer     15th September 2017 The interventions made by certain corporations following the #GuptaLeaks, as well as the expulsion of Bell Pottinger by the UK’s Public Relations and Communications Association, stand in stark contrast to the total lack of action by South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority. The National... 

MISSING IN ACTION

NEW MERGER MIX

By: Darlene Creamer     8th September 2017 Cement producers PPC and Afrisam abandoned their most recent merger negotiations late last month. However. Afrisam insisted that it had not abandoned the consolidation plan entirely and that a third approach could yet be made. Bloomberg reports that AfriSam is in negotiations with an equity... 

NEW MERGER MIX

CATASTROPHE IN THE MAKING

By: Darlene Creamer     1st September 2017 A recent Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) report confirmed just how big a crisis South Africa has in the area of youth unemployment. The CDE found that, the country’s 20-million citizens aged between 15 and 34, 7.5-million were not in employment, education or training at the end of... 

CATASTROPHE IN THE MAKING

NUCLEAR NON-DIPLOMACY

By: Darlene Creamer     25th August 2017 The world in 2017 is already a troubled place, with rising inequality, uncertainty over the future of employment as technology displaces people, mass migration from conflict zones, lone-wolf terror attacks and signs of an increasing intolerance for difference and diversity. However, nothing is... 

NUCLEAR NON-DIPLOMACY

DOMINO EFFECT

By: Darlene Creamer     18th August 2017 The most recent no-confidence vote may have failed to unseat Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s President, but the pressure is undoubtedly mounting on him and his faction. There is no question that the so-called #GuptaLeaks emails have been something of a game changer in throwing the faction off its... 

DOMINO EFFECT

EATING AN ELEPHANT

By: Darlene Creamer     11th August 2017 The #GuptaLeaks emails have provided incredible insight into just how ambitious the Gupta family and its surrogates were in their efforts to secure mind-bogglingly large revenue steams from South Africa’s State-owned companies (SoCs). In the absence of a commission of inquiry, the Parliamentary... 

EATING AN ELEPHANT

UNRAVELLING

By: Darlene Creamer     4th August 2017 News reports written since the media came into procession of the so-called #GuptaLeaks emails have been both confirmatory and alarming. Most startling has been the brazenness of the family and their surrogates in efforts to repurpose government policy and public procurement for their own... 

UNRAVELLING

POLITICAL HEADWINDS

By: Darlene Creamer     28th July 2017 On paper, many of the 14 points outlined in Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s stimulus plan appear to be supportive of the ambition lift South Africa out of it recession. However, business confidence is undoubtedly the key to any attempt at reigniting growth. Sadly, the current noxious political... 

POLITICAL HEADWINDS

WEIGHING ON CONFIDENCE

     21st July 2017 While entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see problems, investors nevertheless are notoriously shy of uncertainty. Sadly, South Africa’s toxic political environment has served to increase uncertainty levels, which, in turn, is holding back investor confidence. The North-West University... 

WEIGHING ON CONFIDENCE

WRONG HEADED

By: Darlene Creamer     14th July 2017 For South Africa to truly – and radically – address the triple scourge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, quality education is an essential ingredient. Therefore, it is more than a little disturbing to learn that the authorities may scrap mathematics as a compulsory requirement for... 

WRONG HEADED

EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION

By: Darlene Creamer     7th July 2017 The court case surrounding the award, by Eskom, of a R4-billion tender to Dongfang, of China, to repair the Duvha Unit 3 boiler, catastrophically damaged in 2011, has some deeply disturbing elements. While Dongfang’s bid was based on a fixed price, it was nevertheless more expensive than ones... 

EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION

PUNCH DRUNK

By: Darlene Creamer     30th June 2017 South Africa’s toxic politics has left business, as well as potential investors, punch drunk. Besides the irrational ‘night of the long knives’ Cabinet reshuffle, business confidence has been further knocked by the unilateral release of a Mining Charter that cannot be implemented and is probably... 

PUNCH DRUNK

ELECTRIC STORM

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd June 2017 News that electricity utility Eskom will be seeking a shocking 19.9% tariff hike from April 1, 2018, is not at all welcome, despite the fact that utility absorbed a 2.2% increase this year. To make things worse, the application has been made amid worrying claims of corruption at the State-owned... 

ELECTRIC STORM

GRAVY TRAIN

By: Darlene Creamer     16th June 2017 One of the most startling stories to emerge out of the #GuptaLeaks trove is about how a Gupta-family surrogate inserted himself between Transnet and China South Rail (CSR) to earn startling commissions. The story by amaBhungane and Scorpio suggests that a company owned by Salim Essa is pocketing... 

GRAVY TRAIN

TROUBLING TIMES

By: Darlene Creamer     9th June 2017 For South Africans living through the current African National Congress civil war, with its associated fog, it’s hard to believe things could be as bad elsewhere. The sad reality is that the world, more generally, is not in great shape. Terror threats abound, traditional sources of employment are... 

TROUBLING TIMES

SALE SCANDAL 

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd June 2017 The illegal sale of the country’s oil stocks by the Strategic Fuel Fund may well go down in history as one of the most brazen thefts of public resources yet committed in democratic South Africa. The fact that both internal governance rules at the Central Energy Fund and the Public Finance... 

SALE SCANDAL

EXCESS LOAD

By: Darlene Creamer     26th May 2017 South Africans have become somewhat numb to outrageous developments at State-owned companies. But the decision of the Eskom board to reinstate Brian Molefe as CEO was sufficient to shock just about all of society – government, business, labour, civil society and even the governing African... 

EXCESS LOAD

PROTECTION OFFSET

     19th May 2017 Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has signed off on a hot-rolled coil safeguard duty, which will offer further protection to South Africa’s primary steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa. However, he has also promised a new incentive for the downstream industry, which is equally under... 

PROTECTION OFFSET

POISONOUS PROCUREMENT

By: Darlene Creamer     12th May 2017 In their April 26 judgment, justices Lee Bozalek and Elizabeth Baartman said it would be “inappropriate for the court to prescribe to the Minister the form of any procurement process to be adopted”. However, their ruling makes it plain that processes followed until now have been neither rational... 

POISONOUS PROCUREMENT

GREATER VIGILANCE

By: Darlene Creamer     5th May 2017 The advent of social media has brought many benefits, including the ability of citizens to have a greater say over social and political developments. But there is a dark side, including the emergence of fake news, often generated by so-called ‘paid Twitter’. There is no turning back the... 

GREATER VIGILANCE

NO JOKE

By: Darlene Creamer     28th April 2017 Those who dismissed – even joked – about South Africa’s recent downgrades were either displaying unbelievable arrogance, or dangerous ignorance. While the brunt of ‘junk’ has been softened by the fact that the country’s local currency debt remains investment grade, the impact will, nevertheless,... 

NO JOKE

IN FREE FALL

By: Darlene Creamer     21st April 2017 The image and reputation of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress, has been sliding for some time. However, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma the decline is becoming precipitous. 

IN FREE FALL

SHREDDING DEMOCRACY

By: Darlene Creamer     14th April 2017 President Jacob Zuma’s recent actions have, once again, demonstrated just how far he has veered from the values and principles that defined the struggle for liberation in South Africa and helped shape the current democratic dispensation. As Barbara Hogan, a former Cabinet Minister and Ahmed... 

SHREDDING DEMOCRACY

SINKING FEELING

By: Darlene Creamer     7th April 2017 “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” was one of the late President Nelson Mandela’s many pearls of wisdom. Perhaps it could serve as something of an inspirational lifeline for South Africans thrashing in... 

SINKING FEELING

REDISCOVERING DIALOGUE

By: Darlene Creamer     31st March 2017 Without doubt, social media has empowered citizens and activists to influence national and international debates like never before. However, these technologies have a dark side. Besides the unsettling phenomenon of fake news, an atmosphere unrestrained hostility is also prevalent. For South... 

REDISCOVERING DIALOGUE
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