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TOO MANY COOKS

By: Darlene Creamer     26th March 2010 Perhaps, young Julius Malema should take a look at some of the goings on at many of South Africa's key nationalised companies before turning his attention to the mining scene. Then again, perhaps, he too would welcome the opportunity to add his unique spice to the State-owned enterprises brew.... 

TOO MANY COOKS

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE . . .

By: Darlene Creamer     19th March 2010 In the spin that followed the African National Congress's (ANC's) fractious Polokwane conference, it was all going to be happy families within the ruling alliance of the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party. A few years on and the reality, it... 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE . . .

IRON DEFFICIENT

By: Darlene Creamer     12th March 2010 The future competitive position of ArcelorMittal South Africa now truly lies in the balance. If it loses its most favourable iron-ore supply agreement, which emerged following the unbundling of Iscor into separate mining and steel companies in 2001, its cost structure is going to move into an... 

IRON DEFFICIENT

LOVE ME TENDER

By: Darlene Creamer     5th March 2010 To be sure, there will be little sympathy for that nice Mr Julius Malema and his somewhat bizarre assertion that he is a private citizen with no "accountability" to the public at large, and only to his organisation. But there would be great appreciation, no doubt, for the type of tender we are... 

LOVE ME TENDER

STAPLE (INDUSTRIAL) DIET

By: Darlene Creamer     26th February 2010 That fluffy maize meal porridge known as ‘pap' is a staple diet in many South African households. And, if Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has his way, the second version of the Industrial Policy Action Plan, or ‘Ipap2', will become the staple diet for those industrialists willing to buy... 

STAPLE (INDUSTRIAL) DIET

STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT

By: Darlene Creamer     19th February 2010 The life of a polygamist is surely taxing enough. But to have serial extracultural (and extramarital) relations over and above that is not only morally questionable, but must simply be chaotic! Can President Jacob Zuma truly find the time to conduct the very serious work of government with his... 

STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT

PACESETTER

By: Darlene Creamer     12th February 2010 Twenty years ago yesterday (February 11, 1990), Nelson Mandela made his historic exit from Cape Town's Pollsmore prison, having served some 27 years in jail for his political opposition to apartheid. It was all part of his ‘Long Walk to Freedom', the baton of which he has passed on to the current... 

PACESETTER

FEELING POWERLESS

By: Darlene Creamer     5th February 2010 Despite the fact that the National Energy Regulator ran an impeccable public participation process around Eskom's tariff application, many South Africans feel somewhat powerless in the face of what now appears to be inevitable price spikes. For sure, South Africans have not treated this low-cost... 

FEELING POWERLESS

NO SIGN OF THAW

By: Darlene Creamer     29th January 2010 Internal power struggles are nothing new for the African National Congress-led tripartite alliance, which also comprises the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. Nevertheless, it has been quite incredible to see just how quickly things have chilled between... 

NO SIGN OF THAW

WHAT CRISIS?

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd January 2010 It was inevitable that the untidy anti-Thabo Mbeki coalition, comprised largely of the then marginalised left and disaffected nationalists, would, at some point, fracture into its constituent parts. Arguably, the only surprise is the pace at which it is taking place. Less surprising, though, is... 

WHAT CRISIS?

RAMPANT RAND

By: Darlene Creamer     15th January 2010 The South African rand posted its biggest yearly gain since 2003 last year, making it the second-best-performing currency in 2009 after the Brazilian real. The rand's strength has been attributed largely to the so-called ‘carry trade', with investors borrowing cheaply and investing in... 

RAMPANT RAND

POWER SAVER

By: Darlene Creamer     11th December 2009 Years of cheap electricity have made South Africans relativelywasteful. But that pricing scenario is set to change quite dramatically over the next decade and there is going to be an ever-increasing incentive to save. In fact, Eskom is counting on that, having set a savings target of 8,5 TWh in... 

POWER SAVER

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE . . .

By: Darlene Creamer     4th December 2009 Infighting within the ruling political alliance of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions is nothing new. It is also not new for these fights to become personal - just ask former President Thabo Mbeki. But what is somewhat... 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE . . .

HORRENDOUS RENDITION

By: Darlene Creamer     27th November 2009 The Young Communist League of South Africa was fast off the mark in condemning Ras Dumisane's "horrendous" rendition of the South African national anthem, which he delivered in an "organically" fuelled howl ahead of South Africa's defeat to France in a rugby test match, in Toulouse, earlier in... 

HORRENDOUS RENDITION

THE OTHER POWER STRUGGLE

By: Darlene Creamer     20th November 2009 If 2008 was the year of load-shedding at Eskom, then surely 2009 will go down as the year of leader shedding. Enough said! 

THE OTHER POWER STRUGGLE

IN THE OINTMENT

By: Darlene Creamer     13th November 2009 The ‘nationalisation' fly in the ruling party's ointment has not gone away, nor has the fly himself, we suppose. But the swatters came out last week with two senior government officials and two African National Congress (ANC) bigwigs, including the secretary-general, suggesting that "no ANC... 

IN THE OINTMENT

BALANCING ACT

By: Darlene Creamer     6th November 2009 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had the difficult task of presenting South Africa's first recessionary budget in 17 years last week. In doing so, he had to balance the aspirations of the left for a more interventionist, ‘developmental' State with the need to sustain the country's macroeconomic... 

BALANCING ACT

LIGHT AND HEAT

     30th October 2009 Eskom chairperson Bobby Godsell attempted last week to shed ‘light' and reduce the ‘heat' on the issues surrounding the utility's controversial application for tariff increases of 45% a year from April 1, 2010, through to March 31, 2013. Despite this laudable attempt at transparency, many South... 

LIGHT AND HEAT

TRIPLE WHAMMY

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd October 2009 Eskom has yet to receive exactly what it has asked for from the regulator when it comes to tariff increases. But, although its application for adjustments of 45% a year for three years has sparked the usual adverse reaction, there is also something of a sense of resignation. Power-wary South... 

TRIPLE WHAMMY

RIDING ROUGHSHOD

By: Darlene Creamer     16th October 2009 A foreign businessperson based in South Africa posed an interesting question at a recent function: "My experience of Africa so far is that disrespect of elders is not tolerated . . . whether one is an African communist, or an African traditionalist, my understanding is that such behaviour... 

RIDING ROUGHSHOD
RIDING ROUGHSHOD

RIDING ROUGHSHOD

By: Darlene Creamer     16th October 2009 A foreign businessperson based in South Africa posed an interesting question at a recent function: "My experience of Africa so far is that disrespect of elders is not tolerated... whether one is an African communist, or an African traditionalist, my understanding is that such behaviour attracts... 

RIDING ROUGHSHOD

THE COLOUR OF POWER

By: Darlene Creamer     9th October 2009 The powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is none too pleased with the Green Paper published recently by Trevor Manuel, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission. While the creation of the commission itself was viewed as a major victory for... 

THE COLOUR OF POWER

KNOTTED

     2nd October 2009 Given the amount of outside interest, it seems that the "on again, off again" deal between MTN, of South Africa, and Bharti Airtel, of India, has become pretty serious. But this interest, most of it politically charged, has also meant that, while the transaction is wireless in theory, it will... 

KNOTTED

CALL WAITING

By: Darlene Creamer     25th September 2009 It is simply too early to be cynical about President Jacob Zuma's telephone hotline, launched earlier this month. But we sure can think of a few organisations that could do worse than picking up the phone: perhaps, Athletics South Africa could use some wise counsel on its embarrassing handling of... 

CALL WAITING

ONCOMING TRAIN

By: Darlene Creamer     18th September 2009 As if Transnet didn't have enough challenges already simply raising volumes, securing capital for an R80,5-billion investment programme and rooting out inefficiencies, well, now it also has a highly political leadership struggle - and just when it was looking like light at the end of the tunnel... 

ONCOMING TRAIN

UNINTENDED WEIGHT

By: Darlene Creamer     11th September 2009 Be careful what you wish for! Yes, South African companies have proved over and over again that they are more than willing to engage in destructive anticompetitive behaviour. But whether the so-called beefing up of the legislation through the newly signed amendment to the Competition Act will... 

UNINTENDED WEIGHT

WHAT SHAPE THE RECOVERY?

     4th September 2009 There seems to be consensus that the battered global economy is starting to recover. There is far less agreement, though, on what shape that recovery will take. A few optimists think it will be ‘V' shaped, most believe it will be a ‘U', but one leading economists, Nouriel Roubini, who forecast... 

WHAT SHAPE THE RECOVERY?

BLITZED

By: Darlene Creamer     28th August 2009 It was confirmed last week that South Africa's economy contracted for a third consecutive quarter between April 1 and June 30, with the manufacturing sector providing the main drag on growth. Just how and when this economy's productive sector is going to recover from the blitz is still an open... 

BLITZED

STYLE SLAMMER

By: Darlene Creamer     21st August 2009 There is no harm in being a slave to fashion. But when your private style clashes with your public mission, it's the fashion that has to give. In a society where symbolism still often counts for more than substance, it is entirely inappropriate for our police commissioner to be kitted out more... 

STYLE SLAMMER

DEBTS AND DEFICITS

By: Darlene Creamer     14th August 2009 There is no question that rapid and far-reaching monetary and fiscal policy has helped stave off what could have been a much deeper and painful economic crisis. But equally, there is a worry about rising government debt and swelling deficits, which could weigh down the recovery for years to come.  

DEBTS AND DEFICITS

REBUILDING

     7th August 2009 The first half of 2009 saw South African contractors losing major orders out of the Middle East, in general, and the UAE emirate of Dubai, in particular. But, perhaps, the recent order awarded to Murray & Roberts and its partners is a sign that things are turning, albeit in the more financially... 

REBUILDING

AIM . . . FIRE!

By: Darlene Creamer     31st July 2009 The Economist magazine noted recently that, while the Chinese used to call dollars “mei jin”, or “American gold”, their faith in the greenback is waning. And what the Chinese think on this score matters. That’s because it stashes one-third of all global reserves, and dollars make up the bulk of... 

AIM . . . FIRE!

BATTERED AND BRUISED

By: Darlene Creamer     24th July 2009 Many analysts believe that South Africa’s battered manufacturing sector may have reached a turning point, despite the latest Statistics South Africa release showing a 17,1% year-on-year decline in production in May. It points out that the seasonally adjusted month-on-month data was positive, with... 

BATTERED AND BRUISED

RISING DEBT

By: Darlene Creamer     17th July 2009 It is already common cause that the world’s most affluent nations will take decades to work off what has been the biggest build-up in debt since World War II. But many developing countries, including South Africa, are also planning to close what will be significant funding gaps arising from their... 

RISING DEBT

STRONG PERFORMER

By: Darlene Creamer     10th July 2009 The South African rand has been one of the best-performing currencies in the world this year, and last week hit a ten-month high of around R7,67 to the US dollar. But there are still a number of risks to the ballooning currency – some of them external, others internal. There is little question... 

STRONG PERFORMER

CALL TO THE WORLD

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd July 2009 It might not be the most melodic of noises, but South Africa’s ‘vuvuzela’ has come to symbolise South Africa’s call for the rest of the world to gather at what will be the greatest sporting spectacle on earth: the FIFA World Cup 2010. Despite considerable pressure, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has... 

CALL TO THE WORLD

IN DISTRESS?

By: Darlene Creamer     26th June 2009 There is little question that Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel have brought a whole new level of seriousness to government’s approach to finding ways of helping companies and sectors made vulnerable by the economic crisis. Whether they will... 

IN DISTRESS?

MOWING THE GREEN SHOOTS

By: Darlene Creamer     19th June 2009 True, the green shoots of economic recovery are pretty clear to see. But that does not mean that the world and South African economies are out of peril. Indeed, high levels of indebtedness of households and the rising interest burden of governments, together with rising employment and the threat... 

MOWING THE GREEN SHOOTS

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