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Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer is the Editor of Engineering News and a Deputy Editor for Mining Weekly.

He also has editorial responsibility for Polity.org.za and Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Editorial Insight

Ratings ‘pressure point’

By: Terence Creamer     24th March 2017 While much of 2016 was dedicated to junk avoidance, the risk of a downgrade persists, with both Fitch Ratings and S&P Global to decide this year whether to designate the country as ‘stable’, or to downgrade it to junk. South Africa’s unstable political climate, together with the country’s poor... 

More connected, but more disconnected

By: Terence Creamer     17th March 2017 Few would deny that national and global affairs are more unsettled than they have been for years. Typically, people point to the Brexit vote, or the shock election of President Donald Trump as the most obvious signs of this upheaval. However, the ferment is as visible at home, where it has... 

R150bn small-business opportunity 

By: Terence Creamer     10th March 2017 The new Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPFA) regulations, which will take effect on April 1, have the potential to provide a significant stimulus to small business development in South Africa. The updated rules explicitly allow for a “set aside” in tenders for firms with a certain... 

Taking the gap

By: Terence Creamer     3rd March 2017 Like a Mamelodi Sundowns striker against a hapless Orlando Pirates defender, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan skilfully took the gap left by President Jacob Zuma in defining what is meant by “radical socio-economic transformation”. Only days earlier the President had a real opportunity to use the... 

Contested terrain

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2017 While the recent chaos-ridden State of the Nation address was long on rhetoric and short on detail (as well as new ideas), President Jacob Zuma nevertheless arguably succeeded in placing the concept of ‘radical socio-economic transformation’ at the centre of the current economic and business... 

Watching brief

By: Terence Creamer     17th February 2017 The closure and possible liquidation of an Eastern Cape wind-tower manufacturing facility only four years after it opened raises serious questions about whether business can truly rely on government policy as a basis for making investment decisions. Operations at the plant have been suspended... 

To trade jaw-jaw is always better . . .

By: Terence Creamer     10th February 2017 The backlash against globalisation and scepticism over the benefits of free trade is currently so strong that there is a real risk that countries could retreat into ill-considered and destructive forms of protectionism. In other words, forms of protectionism – sold as patriotism – that undermines... 

Power narratives

By: Terence Creamer     3rd February 2017 Those who have always been cautious about believing what they read arguably possess a genuine edge in this era of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘post-truth politics’. Our skills of discernment are being stretched to the limit amid a social-media explosion, which is rewriting the rules of engagement.... 

Walk and chew gum

By: Terence Creamer     27th January 2017 Much attention is rightly being given to the composition of South Africa’s future electricity generation mix. Warts and all, the much-delayed process of updating the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is at least under way. It is also arguably positive that the deadline for comment has been extended... 

Power battle lines

By: Terence Creamer     20th January 2017 The delicate balancing of the factional interests within the African National Congress (ANC) was a significant feature of the National Executive Committee’s 105th anniversary statement. It was even apparent in this seemingly bland section dedicated to electricity, which reads as follows: “South... 

Difficult, but important year

By: Terence Creamer     16th December 2016 Few South Africans are likely to look back on 2016 with much fondness. Nevertheless, it has arguably been an important year for the country and the evolution of democracy. The greater assertiveness of civil society, which made its presence felt in 2015, was consolidated in 2016, warts and all.... 

Plan, but no man

By: Terence Creamer     9th December 2016 South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor Lesetja Kganyago does little to hide his frustration about the lack of progress in pursuing the structural reforms required to improve South Africa’s growth prospects and deal with its serious unemployment problem. He argues that the National Development... 

Scenario sampling

By: Terence Creamer     2nd December 2016 First the good news. The Department of Energy (DoE) has, finally, released the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) base case for public comment and consultation. Despite what has been an unacceptable delay in updating a plan that is six years out of date, at least South Africans have something... 

Eskom: What now?

By: Terence Creamer     25th November 2016 The fast-moving nature of developments at Eskom following the November 2 release of Thuli Madonsela’s ‘State of Capture’ report, have left many of us expecting the unexpected. To steal a phrase from some post-Brexit and post-Trump commentators, it is as though “all the world’s black swans have... 

Some lessons as Molefe goes

By: Terence Creamer     18th November 2016 Much has been written about the initial response of the Eskom board, its chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, and its CEO, Brian Molefe, to the contents of the Public Protector’s ‘State of Capture’ report. All the respondents, including the chairperson of the board subcommittee on social ethics and... 

Rediscovering democracy

By: Terence Creamer     11th November 2016 Since the shocking events of the 9/12 last year when President Jacob Zuma made the fatal error of removing – seemingly with the prior knowledge of his friends outside of government – Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in a brazen attempt at “capturing” the National Treasury, there has been something... 

The order is fading

By: Terence Creamer     4th November 2016 A line from American folk singer Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic ‘The Times They Are a-Changin'’ has deep resonance for the position the domestic and international electricity supply industry currently finds itself. Dylan, who was recently awarded the Nobel literature prize (a fact he has scarcely... 

Quick, quick, slow

By: Terence Creamer     28th October 2016 A week, as they say, is a long time in politics. And in South Africa, where there is never a dull political moment, a week can feel like an eternity. However, unlike some other parts of the world where fast-moving political events can lead to overnight change, dramatic news flow in this country... 

Green shoots

By: Terence Creamer     21st October 2016 In a September 22 statement, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) reiterated the “grave concern” it had expressed in an earlier open letter to Preside Jacob Zuma about ongoing threats to charge, or even arrest, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. However, it also used the statement to urge... 

Africa sliding? 

By: Terence Creamer     14th October 2016 Over the past number of years, the Africa Rising narrative has asserted itself. It has been a story of improving economic growth, rising investment and greater democracy. Between 2003 and 2008, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) enjoyed average yearly growth of 6.8% and was home to many of the... 

Peak trade?

By: Terence Creamer     7th October 2016 Along with the shock announcement that world trade will expand by only 1.7% in 2017, the slowest pace since the financial crisis of 2009, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) highlighted a weakening in the relationship between trade and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This is significance, as... 

Ethical conduct relies on values and capability

By: Terence Creamer     30th September 2016 The fact that the main lecture hall at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs), in Johannesburg, was bursting at the seams last week for a discussion on ethics and its importance in driving trust in society and business is a strong reflection of the ‘signs of our times’. While attendance... 

Power trends

By: Terence Creamer     23rd September 2016 In light of recent disruptions in the sector, as well as sharply rising tariffs, electricity remains a hot topic in South Africa. There is an especially heated debate currently under way about what would be the lowest-cost generation mix, particularly in light of the country’s weaker... 

Refinery ‘wipe out’ warning

By: Terence Creamer     16th September 2016 South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) has once again appealed for “decisive action” to resolve the prevailing policy uncertainty on cleaner fuels, as well as how the $4.9-billion cost of upgrading the country’s existing refineries to produce such fuels will be recovered.... 

In need of decisive leadership

By: Terence Creamer     9th September 2016 Given the fast-moving nature of developments surrounding State-owned electricity producer Eskom, it is quite possible that there may well have been new developments in the ongoing saga between the utility and independent power producers (IPPs) since the time of writing. Nevertheless, Eskom's... 

Should versus could

By: Terence Creamer     2nd September 2016 In the absence of context, the statement released by Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe following the August 16 to 19 Cabinet lekgotla appears fairly benign, even bland. However, against the setting of a divided and weakened African National Congress,... 

Rising vigilance

By: Terence Creamer     26th August 2016 In all spheres of South African public life, the level of civil-society engagement and vigilance is rising. Increasingly, too, citizens are not merely tackling issues at the level of principle, but are also taking into account the minutiae of procedural fairness, executive responsibility and... 

Can Eskom sustain plant recovery?

By: Terence Creamer     19th August 2016 In its most recent presentations on the performance of its power stations, Eskom has pointed to improvements in the energy availability factor (EAF) from its coal-fired power stations over the past few months as evidence of a solid operational turnaround. The State-owned utility shows, for... 

Eskom letter opens festering wounds

By: Terence Creamer     12th August 2016 Revelations last month that Eskom is insisting on consultations with Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson before signing any further power purchase agreements with private generators has opened up all manner of wounds that have been quietly festering for the last number of years. Firstly, it... 

Injury & Protection

By: Terence Creamer     5th August 2016 Much anticipated moves to increase protection for both the primary and downstream steel sectors are advancing, with a safeguard investigation completed into hot-rolled coil (HRC) imports and a review initiated on whether protection should be increased across a range of downstream products. The... 

Sustainable availability? 

By: Terence Creamer     29th July 2016 At the peak of South Africa’s load-shedding crisis, much emphasis was given to adding new capacity, especially private capacity, as well as to increasing energy efficiency. These remain laudable objectives. However, in the absence of demand growth, the most important issue then, and now, lies in... 

Changing course

By: Terence Creamer     22nd July 2016 During a recent interaction with business chambers, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan agreed that South Africa should seek to create up to ten-million new businesses to properly tackle its serious unemployment problem – one that lies at the very root of the country’s poverty and inequality crisis.... 

Think long

By: Terence Creamer     15th July 2016 For some time now, State-owned electricity utility Eskom has been signalling that it intends overhauling the way it sources coal. Ever since Brian Molefe took over as CEO, he has questioned whether it is appropriate for Eskom to invest directly in mines through cost-plus supply contracts with... 

The best of a bad situation

By: Terence Creamer     8th July 2016 The decision by the majority of British voters to place their crosses in the box alongside ‘Leave the European Union (EU)’ in a referendum where the only question was ‘Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?’, was obviously unexpected and shocking. That said, the economic... 

Common good

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2016 It was more than refreshing to listen to a recent lecture by Paul Polman, the global head of consumer goods group Unilever, in which he urged South African companies to eschew short-termism and focus increasingly on their societal purpose rather than merely on shareholder returns. Under Polman’s... 

Gas import tailwinds

By: Terence Creamer     24th June 2016 In May, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson indicated that a request for proposals would be released during the current fiscal year for a floating storage and regasification unit and a gas-to-power programme, with an allocation of up to 3 126 MW. In other words, South Africa is preparing to... 

Positive Shocks?

By: Terence Creamer     17th June 2016 Various interesting points are made in the commentary associated with S&P Global Ratings’ June decision to affirm South Africa’s investment-grade rating, while sustaining its negative outlook. The country’s political situation is highlighted as being of particular concern, arguably displacing the... 

Nuclear ‘spring’?

By: Terence Creamer     10th June 2016 During a recent visit to South Africa, French President Francois Hollande’s special envoy for the French-South Africa nuclear partnership expressed optimism that South Africa’s nuclear request for proposals (RFP) would be issued before the end of the year – probably during South Africa’s... 

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