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BODY BLOWS:

By: Darlene Creamer     12th August 2011 African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema has received a number of body blows over the past few weeks. First, he tried, and failed, to muzzle a City Press article delving into how he finances his lavish lifestyle. Then, his nationalisation rhetoric, which is having a damaging... 

BODY BLOWS:

Batten Down The Hatches:

By: Darlene Creamer     5th August 2011 He may have prevailed in his recent campaign to be re-elected as president of the African National Congress Youth League, but the pressure is mounting on young Julius Malema. His funding of a lavish lifestyle, which includes the construction of a R16-million bachelor pad, are under intense media... 

Batten Down The Hatches:

HUMBLE PIE

     29th July 2011 The tabloid press specifically, but also the media, in general, is having to eat some humble pie as Britain’s phone hacking scandal rages on and on. Media practitioners are having to do some real soul searching about their role in society and about whether some serious operational adjustments may... 

HUMBLE PIE

EURO WORRIES:

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd July 2011 Greece’s financial woes have analysts pondering the future of the euro as a currency, as well as the sustainability of the European Union itself. The political management of the crisis has raised all manner of questions, with the most basic now being whether monetary union is indeed possible in... 

EURO WORRIES:

SHIFTING GOALPOSTS

     15th July 2011 The South African government gave assurances last week that the renewable-energy industry was unfazed by the prospect of including an element of price competition into the first round of project bidding. But potential developers could not hide their unhappiness. They noted that, in the context of... 

SHIFTING GOALPOSTS

TAXING ISSUE:

By: Darlene Creamer     8th July 2011 South Africa’s coal-heavy power utility burnt 124.7-million tons of coal in 2010/11 and produced 230.3-million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). That means it is incredibly vulnerable to a proposed direct tax on carbon emissions. It has submitted a response to a National Treasury discussion document... 

TAXING ISSUE:

INVESTMENT DEFLATOR

     1st July 2011 There is little doubt that the hitherto one-sided debate surrounding the nationalisation of South Africa’s mines, banks and land is starting to exact an insidious toll. The uncompromising tone adopted by the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) is slowly, but surely, draining away... 

INVESTMENT DEFLATOR

WINDS OF CHANGE:

By: Darlene Creamer     24th June 2011 Gale-force winds of change blew through the boards of some of South Africa’s key State-owned enterprises earlier this month, with major changes confirmed at both Eskom and Denel. However, the process was undermined by poor communication around the changes, which led to some anxiety and much... 

WINDS OF CHANGE:

CAPE TO CAIRO:

     17th June 2011 The Cape-to-Cairo dream may carry some extremely unhappy colonial connotations. But the new ‘grand’ plan for a free-trade bloc, spanning the eastern half of the continent from Egypt to South Africa, bears little resemblance to the ‘Empire building’ rallying call of arch-colonialist Cecil John... 

CAPE TO CAIRO:

OSTRICH MENTALITY

By: Darlene Creamer     10th June 2011 One can hardly believe that it has been a full year since South Africa hosted one of the most spectacular FIFA tournaments in its history. But while this country played its part in salvaging the organisation’s reputation in the face of heavy criticism for daring to move the World Cup to Africa,... 

OSTRICH MENTALITY

FIT FOR PURPOSE:

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd June 2011 South Africa has a new cadre of executive mayors and municipal councillors following the country’s successful municipal elections in May. In fact, some believe the election could emerge as a milestone in the slow but sure reshaping of South African politics into something of a two-party... 

FIT FOR PURPOSE:

INFLATION PRESSURE COOKER:

By: Darlene Creamer     27th May 2011 South African Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus did not mince her words when she cautioned recently that the inflation threat was accelerating. “While inflation appears to be under control, there are increasing risks to the outlook posed by rising global commodity prices, particularly food and... 

INFLATION PRESSURE COOKER:

DARK DEVELOPMENTS:

By: Darlene Creamer     20th May 2011 It emerged earlier this month that Gauteng’s Ekurhuleni municipality has already prepared a load-shedding schedule for the next few winter months, despite continual statements from Eskom and government that it is still possible to avoid load-shedding, notwithstanding system tightness. The dark... 

DARK DEVELOPMENTS:

DESTRUCTIVE:

By: Darlene Creamer     13th May 2011 As the southern US states recover from a deadly month of destructive tornado swarms, South Africa faces another kind of tornado, which could wreak economic devastation: strongly rising fuel prices. Earlier this month, motorists began paying a further 29c/∙ on all grades of petrol, raising the... 

DESTRUCTIVE:

WINTER PEAK

By: Darlene Creamer     6th May 2011 As South Africa approaches midwinter, blackout fears have us in an icy grip. South Africa has managed to avoid rotational load-shedding since April 2008. But the system is ‘tight’ and will remain so for many months yet. Closing the supply-demand gap is going to require a collective effort not... 

WINTER PEAK

UNDER PRESSURE

By: Darlene Creamer     29th April 2011 As South Africa looks to put its economy back onto a growth path, there are some serious cost headwinds emerging. Electricity prices, which have already risen steeply, will continue to rebase. Food prices are a serious threat to stability, while the price of everything, from oil to coal, remains... 

UNDER PRESSURE

TOUGH JOB:

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd April 2011 South Africa’s unfolding New Growth Path framework has the revitalisation of manufacturing at its very core. But Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who is the effective custodian of the industrialisation aspects of the plan, has a really tough job ahead. South Africa is pursuing the plan at... 

TOUGH JOB:

PUSHING AHEAD:

By: Darlene Creamer     15th April 2011 Many question were asked about the wisdom of continuing to pursue a nuclear energy programme after the challenging events associated with Japan’s earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. But, as the crisis was unfolding, South Africa approved a new power generation mix... 

PUSHING AHEAD:

NEW ENERGY

     8th April 2011 South Africa recently concluded the drafting of the a long-awaited 20-year electricity generation plan. The so-called IRP2010 calls for 42% of new capacity to be derived from renewable-energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, biogas, landfill and hydropower plants. But we have seen serious... 

NEW ENERGY

CRUSHING

By: Darlene Creamer     1st April 2011 When the African National Congress made its controversial decision at the Polokwane conference in 2007 to support moves to collapse the Scorpions into the police, this publication suggested that, if sense did not prevail, we hoped that the judicial authorities would intervene. But most, if not... 

CRUSHING

TSUNAMI WARNING:

By: Darlene Creamer     25th March 2011 South Africa’s geology offers relative shelter from a physical tsunami threat, the destructive force of which was on such devastating display following the massive earthquake and aftershocks off the coast of Japan earlier this month. However, this country is far from immune to violent... 

TSUNAMI WARNING:

RACE TO THE BOTTOM:

By: Darlene Creamer     18th March 2011 Recent spats over race, together with the African National Congress’s less-than-helpful intervention on the matter, have the potential to undermine this country’s image internationally and, more worryingly, sow further mistrust among its citizens. What we desperately need is a strong voice from... 

RACE TO THE BOTTOM:

TROUBLING EQUATION

By: Darlene Creamer     11th March 2011 Somehow, South Africa has to find a way to deal with what could be a 6 TWh to 9 TWh electricity supply shortfall over the coming two years – a deficit equal to a 1 000 MW power station. In fact, Eskom has explained that 9 TWh is equivalent to what the city of Cape Town consumes yearly. Dealing... 

TROUBLING EQUATION

HERO HIGHWAY:

     4th March 2011 The people of North Africa have shown incredible heroism in their concerted battles to overthrow dictators, many of whom have ruled for decades without tolerating any dissent. The Libyan people showed particular bravery in the face of a violent crackdown initiated by Muammar Gaddafi and... 

HERO HIGHWAY:

RECOVERY POTHOLES:

By: Darlene Creamer     25th February 2011 South Africa is still in recovery mode following its 2009 recession, and there is also no question that the road remains pockmarked with hazards. Growth is subdued, unemployment high, inflation rising, and there are also serious constraints as a result of persistent infrastructure and skills... 

RECOVERY POTHOLES:

TOLL TROUBLES

By: Darlene Creamer     18th February 2011 Gautengers – who have endured the torments and inconveniences associated with far-reaching, but ultimately welcome, highway construction over the past few years – are now entirely miffed by the prospect of having to pay for the use of these roads, as from June 23. The fight against the South... 

TOLL TROUBLES

TIME FOR CHANGE

By: Darlene Creamer     11th February 2011 The call for change in Egypt came under the spotlight last week. It gained scale and momentum as hundreds of thousands of protestors called for the immediate departure of President Hosni Mubarak, 82, who has occupied power since the 1981 assassination of Anwar el-Sadat. However, what form that... 

TIME FOR CHANGE

DEFLATING

By: Darlene Creamer     4th February 2011 The South African rand has fallen sharply from its highs of December 2010. Nevertheless, a number of heterodox economic commentators believe that the currency still remains too strong to place South Africa’s productive sectors on a competitive footing. However, whether South Africa should adopt a... 

DEFLATING

NATURE’S FORCE:

By: Darlene Creamer     28th January 2011 Whether it has anything to do with climate change or not, nobody can deny that the weather has been the biggest news story of the year so far. The flooding in South Africa and Brazil was devastating for many, if somewhat underreported. Indeed, the coverage given to the floods in Australia... 

NATURE’S FORCE:

FOOD PRICE RISK

By: Darlene Creamer     21st January 2011 As the global economic crisis began gaining traction, in there was much concern about the so-called ‘triple threat’ associated with rising fuel and food prices and the emerging financial crisis. During the Great Recession, food and fuel prices receded along with inflation more generally. But... 

FOOD PRICE RISK

TIME FOR WORK

By: Darlene Creamer     14th January 2011 2010 was a strange and fabulous year, with the FIFA World Cup being the obvious highlight. But it was also a highly disrupted year, owing partly to the football tournament itself, but also to a hostile labour-relations environment. Surely, 2011 has to be all about getting back to work in earnest... 

TIME FOR WORK

THE YEAR OF JOBS

     10th December 2010 During the recession of 2009, South Africa’s already unemployment-stressed economy shed nearly one-million precious jobs. The figure deteriorated further during 2010, despite a return to growth, with unemployment, even on the narrow definition, again breaching the 25% level. As we enter 2011,... 

THE YEAR OF JOBS

BAIL-OUT BACKLASH

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd December 2010 The protests were relatively modest. Nevertheless, there were still clashes outside Leinster House, the national Parliament of Ireland, after the government there formally applied for a multibillion-dollar rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). With... 

BAIL-OUT BACKLASH

IN THE MONEY

By: Darlene Creamer     26th November 2010 Party political funding is a problem the world over. But the decision by the African National Congress (ANC) to persist with its Chancellor House structure is not only inappropriate, but also increasingly embarrassing. The sooner the ANC disentangles itself from the business, which is simply too... 

IN THE MONEY

QE2 WAVES

By: Darlene Creamer     19th November 2010 There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when the US Federal Reserve confirmed that it would be embarking on a second round of quantitative easing, or QE2, involving $600-billion. It was said that the effect on emerging-market currencies, including the rand, could be extraordinarily... 

QE2 WAVES

MANUFACTURING MALAISE

     12th November 2010 Despite all South Africa's noble policy intentions, the domestic manufacturing sector continues to struggle. While the key Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, edged higher in October, it stayed below the breakeven level of 50 points, while the jobs data are more than troubling. Finance Minister... 

MANUFACTURING MALAISE

LOAD-SHEDDING TAKE TWO

By: Darlene Creamer     5th November 2010 Both Eskom and the medium-term risk mitigation strategy warn that South Africa is going to be seriously power short in 2011 and 2012. The power utility anticipates that South Africa's shortfall could peak in 2012 at 9 TWh, the equivalent of 1 000 MW. The only way to avoid the pain is to pull... 

LOAD-SHEDDING TAKE TWO

CURRENCY WARS

     29th October 2010 The world over, authorities are doing what they can to weaken their currencies. Some, like the Brazilians and the Japanese, are actively intervening. Others, like the Chinese, are defending their decisions to keep their currencies from appreciating. Many, like South Africa, are simply victims of... 

CURRENCY WARS

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