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Economy News

Tax increases would spell gloom for South African retail stocks

By: Bloomberg     Updated 53 minutes ago Johannesburg’s retail stocks will likely bear the brunt of tax increases, should South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni target consumers with revenue-raising measures in his budget Wednesday. Consumer spending power in Africa’s most-industrialized market is under severe strain, with... 

South Africa confirms locust outbreak in Namibia, Karoo region

By: Bloomberg     Updated 55 minutes ago A locust outbreak in Namibia and South Africa’s northwestern Karoo region may pose a threat to grazing lands in a region that’s already prone to droughts. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries confirmed the outbreak of brown locusts in a newsletter published on its... 

Group launched to tackle Compensation Fund issues

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2020 A council of concerned industry leaders, the Injured Workers Action Group (IWAG), was launched on Monday, over concerns about what it says is the “technological collapse” of the R60-billion Compensation Fund that is legally mandated to cover the medical bills and disability pensions of workers... 

Fund gives public healthcare sector's human resources a boost

By: Yvonne Silaule     24th February 2020 About 100 doctors and 34 research graduates, the vast majority of them hailing from severely under-resourced areas, have been absorbed into the public healthcare system as a product of the Public Health Enhancement Fund (PHEF). PHEF chairperson Dr Stavros Nicolau pronounced during the PHEF CEO’s... 

Fund gives public healthcare sector's human resources a boost
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

Sasol confirms making 600 MW own-gen proposal in response to DMRE RFI  

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler confirmed on Monday that the energy and chemicals group made a submission to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in line with its request for information (RFI) on possible emergency electricity solutions that could be “grid-connected in the shortest time at... 

Sasol confirms making 600 MW own-gen proposal in response to DMRE RFI
Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler on the need for a culture change at the company following major cost overruns at its US project. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 24.2.2020

Sasol pulls back on capex as it seeks to deleverage from ‘peak gearing’  

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol has indicated that its capital expenditure (capex) will continue to taper during its 2020 and 2021 financial years as the group seeks to deleverage a balance sheet that reached “peak gearing” of close to 65% in the six months to December 31, 2019. Sasol’s gearing... 

Sasol pulls back on capex as it seeks to deleverage from ‘peak gearing’
Sasol CFO Paul Victor on how capex will be tapered as it seeks to navigate its 'peak gearing' phase. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 24.2.2020

SAB calls for ‘clear process’ on self-generation licence applications

By: Simone Liedtke     24th February 2020 South African Breweries (SAB) on Monday published a call for a clear process to be implemented with regard to generation license applications above 10 MW, which it says will assist the company in achieving its sustainability vision. The company welcomed the government’s commitment in this year’s... 

Quality assets underpin Liberty Two Degrees' solid 2019 performance

By: Simone Liedtke     24th February 2020 Sustainable trading density growth of 3.6% for the year ended December 31 was reported for South Africa-focused retail-centered real estate investment trust (Reit) Liberty Two Degrees’ (L2D’s) retail portfolio, with Sandton leading at 9%, up from 4% in 2018. This, the company said on Monday, was... 

Cosatu’s plan on Eskom is immoral – Cape Chamber of Commerce

By: Sane Dhlamini     24th February 2020 The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry labelled the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ plan to save ailing power utility Eskom using Government Employees Pension Fund funds as immoral. Cosatu recently suggested saving Eskom by using R250-billion from the Public Investment Corporation,... 

Cosatu’s plan on Eskom is immoral – Cape Chamber of Commerce
Photo by Supplied by Cape Chamber
President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Geoff Jacobs

Mboweni’s budget unlikely to stop South Africa’s march to junk

By: Bloomberg     24th February 2020 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget this week is unlikely to convince Moody’s Investors Service that he has a credible plan to rein in government debt. Of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month, 14 expect Moody’s to downgrade the country to junk this year and nine of those say it’ll... 

No load-shedding expected on Monday as outlook is positive, says Eskom

By: African News Agency      24th February 2020 No load-shedding is expected on Monday, as the power generation outlook is positive, with four generation units returning to service, Eskom said. "With the planned return of four generation units, as well as adequate emergency reserves, Eskom does not expect to implement rotational load-shedding... 

 No load-shedding expected on Monday as outlook is positive, says Eskom

Even without a case, Africa may be a big victim of coronavirus

By: Bloomberg     24th February 2020 Even without a single confirmed case, sub-Saharan Africa may be the region hardest hit outside of Asia by the spread of the coronavirus. The outbreak has shut down entire swathes of the Chinese economy, threatening world economic growth and curbing appetite for oil and metals that are the... 

Time for govt to consider new strategies to get economic growth going, says Baxter 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st February 2020 In what has been the longest economic downturn for the country since 1945, it has become necessary for government to consider alternative strategies and change various policies to allow business to grow the economy, Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter said during a media briefing on... 

Time for govt to consider new strategies to get economic growth going, says Baxter
Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter discusses the mining industry's contribution to the economy and what measures the council hopes will be announced in the upcoming National Budget to boost South Africa's economic growth. Video: Kutlwano Matlala; Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

As South Africa prepares to resume renewables procurement, new global report points to rising popularity of auctions 

By: Terence Creamer     21st February 2020 As South Africa prepares to restart its electricity procurement programmes, following a five-year hiatus, the global popularity of competitive auctions as the preferred instrument for procuring renewable energy has again been highlighted in a newly released report. Published by the International... 

As South Africa prepares to resume renewables procurement, new global report points to rising popularity of auctions

Court declares major Gupta-era coal contract with Eskom invalid 

By: News24Wire      21st February 2020 The Special Investigations Unit has secured a high court order setting aside a contract worth R3.7-billion between the formerly Gupta-owned mining group Tegeta Exploration & Resources and State power utility Eskom, according to Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services. According to the... 

 Court declares major Gupta-era coal contract with Eskom invalid

South African economy is benefitting from a 'Ramaphosa effect'

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 Independent economist Dr Roelof Botha on Friday highlighted the existence of a very real "Ramaphosa Effect", not to be confused with the superficial "Ramaphoria" which followed directly after President Cyril Ramaphosa's election, which is already benefitting the South African economy. Botha was... 

South African economy is benefitting from a 'Ramaphosa effect'
Photo by Creamer Media
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Stage 2 load-shedding to continue until Sunday as breakdowns increase

By: News24Wire      21st February 2020 Eskom says that stage 2 load-shedding will continue until 6 am on Sunday morning due to a loss of additional units. "While we expect three generation units to return to service [on Friday], we lost a further two units last night to unplanned breakdowns," the utility said in an power update.... 

 Stage 2 load-shedding to continue until Sunday as breakdowns increase

Invest SA says business registration portal is working well

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st February 2020 Invest South Africa (Invest SA) on Thursday lauded the Department of Trade and Industry’s Biz Portal application. Invest SA head Yunus Hoosen said the application had ensured that a business can be registered in South Africa in less than one day, where it previously took more than a month’s... 

Eskom’s survival cannot be based on continuing tariff increases, says Minerals Council

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st February 2020 The Minerals Council South Africa has reiterated the significant job losses that may result from power utility Eskom being granted the additional R27.3-billion in revenue it is seeking. In a media release issued ahead of a submission at public consultations held by the National Energy Regulator... 

Eskom’s survival cannot be based on continuing tariff increases, says Minerals Council
Photo by Creamer Media
Minerals Council South Africa chief economist Henk Langenhoven

Electricity sector developments 

21st February 2020 Creamer Media’s Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the latest developments in South Africa’s electricity sector, with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe having announced this week that the Section 34 Ministerial Determinations required to... 

Electricity sector developments
Electricity sector developments

LED company aims to benefit from trade agreement at Indaba

By: Cameron Mackay     21st February 2020 This year’s Africa Energy Indaba will provide light-emitting-diode (LED) technology provider Grandstage Trading with opportunities to explore how it will achieve its objectives through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which will be a significant topic... 

LED company aims to benefit from trade agreement at Indaba
CHRISTINE MASAITI An important factor of the discussions at the indaba which could be of great benefit is encouraging the public to move to LED lighting technology

Specialist on course despite pressures

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st February 2020 Despite the local manufacturing sector being under pressure, mouldered product specialist DEMS’ rubber manufacturing division – which operates within a very niche and specialised market – has not been affected negatively, says DEMS MD Mark Baptie. 

Specialist on course despite pressures
ALWAYS ON EDGE DEMS is always investigating and looking for opportunities to remain competitive and continue to have an edge in the market

Bleak outlook for rubber SMMEs in 2020

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st February 2020 With the industrial market aspect of its rubber business having declined in 2019 by 25%, rubber compounding specialist National Rubber Matmin (NRM) MD Mike Stuart says 2020 is “not looking much better”. 

Bleak outlook for rubber SMMEs in 2020
MIKE STUART National Rubber Matmin has had success in supplying products to the Australian mining sector

Cape Town adds more energy to Indaba

By: Cameron Mackay     21st February 2020 The decision to host this year’s Africa Energy Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 3 and 4, rather than in Johannesburg, where it was hosted previously, has resulted in increased interest from African and global delegates to attend the event, says Africa Energy Indaba... 

Cape Town adds more  energy to Indaba
ENERGISING AFRICA The sub-Saharan and East African regions will feature strongly at the indaba as electricity demand in these regions, and the rest of Africa, is growing

Regulator says local tyres are ‘export worthy’

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st February 2020 South African pneumatic tyres are on par with their global counterparts, says regulatory authority the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). 

Regulator says local tyres are ‘export worthy’
HIGHLY GUARDED Any amendments for compulsory specifications are governed by the development and approval of relevant products

Indaba increases prospect of project funding

By: Cameron Mackay     21st February 2020 The Africa Energy Indaba provides an ideal opportunity for State-owned export credit agency (ECA) the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) to become more involved in the funding of significant energy infrastructure projects. “The Indaba raises the ECIC’s profile as an... 

Indaba increases prospect of project funding
ATTRACTING THE GLOBE The ECIC’s mandate from government is to make local exports attractive to international buyers to attract foreign income, stimulate local economic growth and create jobs

Regulator seeks to improve tyre homologation process

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st February 2020 Regulatory authority the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) is not “completely satisfied” with the current approval period for pneumatic tyre homologation, says NRCS automotive GM Duncan Mutengwe. 

Regulator seeks to improve tyre homologation process
TWICE THE TROUBLE The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications follows a two-stage approach for importers applying for tyre homologation

Rubber remains resilient despite strained sector

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st February 2020 Engineered rubber remains a requirement for many industries notwithstanding local manufacturing industry woes, says rubber products manufacturer Hudson Rubber MD Stoney Steenkamp. 

Rubber remains resilient despite strained sector
RUBBING OFF THE RIGHT WAY The rubber sector will survive the current unfavourable economic climate as the product remains resilient and relevant in the industrial markets

4IR vocational training a viable alternative to Grade 12

By: Schalk Burger     21st February 2020 The digital world being ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) requires more than just office workers; it requires engineers, technicians and artisans. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) enables learners to further their studies, as it creates more opportunities... 

Denel upgraded by Fitch Ratings as it closes aerostructures business

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group has Denel welcomed the recent decision by Fitch Ratings to affirm its long- and short-term ratings for the group, and to upgrade its outlook. Fitch affirmed Denel’s national short-term rating at “B(zaf)” and its national long-term rating also at... 

State-owned airlines struggling in financial turbulence

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 Two of South Africa’s State-owned airlines continue to experience tough times as they try to recover from their current deep financial crises. They are national flag-carrier South African Airways (SAA) and the completely separate regional operator SA Express. SAA is now in business rescue, and... 

Energy institute to focus on IRP at Indaba

By: Cameron Mackay     21st February 2020 The publication of the long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in October last year will be a significant focus area for State-owned energy researcher the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) at this year’s Africa Energy Indaba. “The publication of the IRP provides... 

Energy institute to focus on IRP at Indaba
BARRY BREDENKAMP We certainly don’t have to re-invent the wheel, there are many African countries doing exceptional work in this area, and we can learn from them

Patel highlights areas of progress in South African industry

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th February 2020 In response to the State of the Nation Address debate this week, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has highlighted in a letter to the President where South African industry has progressed in the last year. He started by pointing out that, last year, the Investment Conference had brought... 

PwC unpacks the extent to which coronavirus may dampen the local economy

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th February 2020 In light of the coronavirus impacting downstream on South Africa’s trade with China and causing business disruptions, professional services firm PwC has published a report on the potential impact of trade disruptions on South Africa’s sectors. The interconnectedness and complexity of global... 

PwC unpacks the extent to which coronavirus may dampen the local economy

Inconsistencies between fiscal and other policies resulting in ‘austerity without consolidation’ 

By: Terence Creamer     20th February 2020 Prevailing inconsistencies between fiscal policy and the rest of government policy lay at the heart of the South African government’s current financial crisis and was resulting in “austerity without fiscal consolidation”, University of the Witwatersrand adjunct professor of public economics... 

Inconsistencies between fiscal and other policies resulting in ‘austerity without consolidation’
University of the Witwatersrand adjunct professor of public economics Michael Sachs

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel 

By: Irma Venter     20th February 2020 South Africa had to put in place a 50- to 100-year food security plan, and then walk backwards to see what it can do to make that happen, says former Afrgri CEO Chris Venter. “However, this is not happening. We are not looking at the areas becoming increasingly drier in our country to see what we... 

Constitutional amendment only unlikely to deliver success, warns land panel

Nzimande says proposed Ekurhuleni university will have high-tech focus

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th February 2020 Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mention during his State of the Nation Address last week of a new University of Science and Innovation, to be built in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Dr Blade Nzimande this week provided further detail. The Minister... 

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