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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

2017: Good, bad, ugly?

By: Terence Creamer     15th December 2017 By this time next week, our general dismal assessment of 2017 will either have been confirmed, or entirely overhauled. If Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ) has been elected African National Congress (ANC) president, the national mood will be one of anxiety and depression, notwithstanding the... 

Forced self-correction

By: Terence Creamer     8th December 2017 I could not agree more with Energy Minister David Mahlobo’s recent Parliamentary reply, in which he stated that there was no longer a need to build large power generation units, owing to the availability of low-cost smaller generation alternatives. In response to Economic Freedom Fighters MP... 

Eskom’s tin ear

By: Terence Creamer     1st December 2017 There very were few sharp exchanges during the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) public hearings into Eskom’s 2018/19 revenue application. However, one particular exchange between Nersa CEO Chris Forlee and Eskom interim CEO Sean Maritz stood out. During the first of three... 

Game Changers

By: Terence Creamer     24th November 2017 Without doubt, the problems at Eskom, together with the ongoing debate over nuclear, are making it extremely difficult for South Africans to pay proper attention to some of the game-changing shifts under way in global energy markets – ones that have real and far-reaching implications for this... 

We have a demand problem, Minister 

By: Terence Creamer     17th November 2017 National Energy Regulator of South Africa and Eskom executives will naturally be relieved that hearings into the State-owned utility’s revenue application for 2018/19 have drawn to an end. However, it is somewhat of a pity that Energy Minister David Mahlobo did not have an opportunity to attend.... 

Supply shadow makes way for demand cloud

By: Terence Creamer     10th November 2017 As public hearings into Eskom’s application for allowable revenue in 2018/19 of R219.5-billion enter their final stretch, resistance to the proposed 19.9% tariff hike from April 1 remains as strong as ever. An appeal by acting Eskom CEO Sean Maritz for the National Energy Regulator of South... 

Eskom an enormous risk indeed

By: Terence Creamer     3rd November 2017 While there are very few positives to draw from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), his acknowledgement that Eskom poses an “enormous risk” to the entire economy is one. “Eskom exposes government to an enormous risk because of the size of its... 

Going fission?

By: Terence Creamer     27th October 2017 We know for certain what President Jacob Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle was not. It was not about South Africa, or about good governance. It was not about doing what is necessary to place the economy back on a growth trajectory. It was not about dealing with the triple scourge of poverty,... 

Lessons from China’s solar surge

By: Terence Creamer     20th October 2017 Last year, when Eskom illegally put the brakes on the country’s hitherto successful renewables roll-out, new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity around the world grew by 50%, reaching over 74 GW. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) ‘Renewables 2017’ report indicates that the record year for... 

Fiscal storm warning

By: Terence Creamer     13th October 2017 In the World Bank’s tenth and most recent ‘South Africa Economic Update’, the risk of “fiscal slippage” is highlighted as arguably the country’s most worrying immediate downside risk. The report points to signs of revenue under-collection amid ongoing upward expenditure pressures as the 2019... 

Sustainability roadmap

By: Terence Creamer     6th October 2017 Restoring good governance at Eskom is undoubtedly the most pressing priority for the State-owned utility and arguably among the top five current priorities for government itself. Absent an extraordinary recovery in the group’s credibility, the prevailing trust deficit between Eskom and society... 

Stay woke

By: Terence Creamer     29th September 2017 For all the wrong reasons, Eskom’s profile has remained high despite the stabilisation in electricity supply over the past year and a bit. Most of the current news flow has to do with governance failings and allegations of State capture and corruption. Sadly, the debate about the future structure... 

Tariff push-back

By: Terence Creamer     22nd September 2017 The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has outlined the process it will be following to assess Eskom’s request for a 19.9% tariff increase for the 2018/19 financial year, setting a deadline of October 13 for the submission of written comments. Nersa has approved Eskom’s request to... 

Rolling power plan

By: Terence Creamer     15th September 2017 Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has confirmed that the Department of Energy (DoE) is “working around the clock” to finalise the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP); a document that will outline the direction South Africa electricity mix will take until 2050. From a technoeconomic perspective,... 

Point of no return

By: Terence Creamer     8th September 2017 Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t a new and disturbing headline about governance, or the lack thereof, at one of South Africa’s State-owned companies (SOCs). To be sure, when historians reflect on the President Jacob Zuma-era, the ‘capture for looting’ of the country’s SOCs will be a major... 

No eclipsing integration?

By: Terence Creamer     1st September 2017 For many observers of global political and economic developments, the recent coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the US would have epitomised the current state of the world: a blocking out of global integration in favour of bellicose nationalism. For some others, however, the shadow cast over... 

Nuclear scenarios

By: Terence Creamer     25th August 2017 For attentive followers of developments in South Africa’s not-always-transparent energy sector, a section in Jackkie Cilliers’ new book, ‘Fate of the Nation: Three Scenarios for South Africa’s Future’, will be of definite interest. The overall aim of the book isn’t to explore the energy sector in... 

Auctions steam ahead

By: Terence Creamer     18th August 2017 South Africa may be on the global sidelines currently with regard to the procurement of new renewable generation capacity, chiefly because of Eskom’s refusal to enter into new power purchase agreements. Nevertheless, as a relatively early adopter (some might even say pioneer) of the auction... 

Progressive moves

By: Terence Creamer     11th August 2017 The decision of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to publish the identities of its new clients, including those officially identified as politically exposed people (PEPs), should be applauded. Such disclosure affects all of the State-owned development finance institution’s funding... 

Fee cushioning?

By: Terence Creamer     4th August 2017 One of the more interesting recommendations contained in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) 2017 economic survey of South Africa relates to how higher education could be financed without posing a risk to fiscal sustainability. The proposal comes amid strong calls... 

Undocumented capture?

By: Terence Creamer     28th July 2017 Arguably one of the most telling statements made at last week’s Eskom results presentation was the public assurance given by interim CEO Johnny Dladla that “no decision would, in future, be taken outside the executive committee meetings. “Whatever decision is taken, it will be a decision that is... 

Growth sapping

By: Terence Creamer     21st July 2017 Only an extreme optimist would have expected policy certainty to emerge from the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) recent policy gathering. The event was primarily about managing the politics of policy, with both factions seeing it as an opportunity to show off their relative strength. The... 

Special deals, again?

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2017 South Africans will no doubt remember the ugly 2008 standoff between Standard Bank and BHP Billiton over whether Eskom should, in the midst of power shortages, honour a favourable metal-price-linked electricity supply deal with the diversified miner’s aluminium smelters in South Africa and... 

Profound policy implications

By: Terence Creamer     7th July 2017 A newly published academic paper offers something of a valuable signpost for African policymakers as they grapple with the problem of needing to add new electrical capacity at scale in a context of major global technological change – developments that will, undoubtedly, have material implications... 

Gravitational forces of energy transition

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2017 The focus in South Africa’s electricity sector has shifted in recent times from a debate on the future system design – particularly the role of renewable energy, gas and nuclear in the generation mix – to the poor state of governance at Eskom. However, this should not be interpreted to mean that... 

Damage control mode 

By: Terence Creamer     23rd June 2017 There is now absolutely no question that the country’s toxic politics is dragging the economy down and that most, if not all, the pain is self-inflected. There is also no doubt that, because the most pressing problem is a political one (corrupt politicians and private citizens, who have distorted... 

Out of the ‘shadow State’

By: Terence Creamer     16th June 2017 The stomach-churning #GuptaLeaks revelations have demonstrated in dismaying detail just how far President Jacob Zuma and his allies have veered off the path laid so painstakingly by struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. Indeed, even if the media reports arising from the leaks... 

Shift in Emphasis

By: Terence Creamer     9th June 2017 A significant shift in emphasis from behaviour to structure appears to be at the heart of proposed changes to South Africa's Competition Act. Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has established an advisory panel to develop the draft amendments, with a view to bolstering South Africa’s... 

‘Hard Brexit’ fallout?

By: Terence Creamer     2nd June 2017 The narrative in South Africa about the possible implications of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) has focused mainly on the possible additional market-access opportunities, particularly for South African agricultural products. Far less attention has been given to the economic implications... 

Contested terrain 

By: Terence Creamer     26th May 2017 So what precisely is radical economic transformation? The answer, in an era of factional African National Congress (ANC) politics, depends very much on the speaker and the audience. Indeed, the definition is more hotly contested than this season’s Premier Soccer League, which ended on a... 

One to watch

By: Terence Creamer     19th May 2017 Government processes for setting the yearly Budget are well established and are held in high regard both domestically and internationally. On one measure – transparency – South Africa consistently appears near the very top of global rankings. For this reason, any change to the process is likely... 

Toxic combination

By: Terence Creamer     12th May 2017 Two core attributes of South Africa during apartheid were State illegitimacy and political and social and intolerance. To recall just how illegitimate the apartheid government was, it is worth revisiting the December 1973 resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, which reaffirmed that... 

Downgrade dichotomy

By: Terence Creamer     5th May 2017 The dichotomy between the negative political and economic narrative in South Africa – precipitated by the March 30 Cabinet reshuffle and the subsequent ratings downgrades by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings– and the relatively sanguine response of currency, bond and equity markets has been... 

Missing ingredient

By: Terence Creamer     28th April 2017 Before compiling the National Development Plan (NDP), the drafters diagnosed South Africa’s socioeconomic predicament as follows: widespread poverty and extreme inequality persist; too few South Africans are employed; the quality of education for poor black South Africans is substandard; poorly... 

Economic crossroads

By: Terence Creamer     21st April 2017 Unless and until the pall of political uncertainty is lifted, it seems almost futile to debate the changes required to elevate levels of growth and realign the country’s economic structures such that the benefits of higher growth flow progressively to those hitherto “left behind”. Indeed,... 

Incapable State and economic sabotage

By: Terence Creamer     14th April 2017 The decision by President Jacob Zuma to retain in his Cabinet Bathabile Dlamini and Faith Muthambi (albeit with the latter in a new role as Public Service and Administration Minister) brought to mind arguments about the vital relationship between an individual’s competence and her or his ability... 

Manage the transition

By: Terence Creamer     7th April 2017 Nearly every day there is news about a new innovation in electricity generation, storage or efficiency as researchers respond to the pressing challenge of securing more energy, while producing less carbon dioxide. Scientists are continuing to improve the performance of solar panels, old coal... 

‘So far, so good’ allegory

By: Terence Creamer     31st March 2017 When reflecting recently on the state of the UK economy, S&P Global chief European economist Jean-Michel Six likened the optimistic post-Brexit-vote economic commentary to a person jumping out of a 50-storey building and, halfway down, exclaiming: “So far, so good!” The UK economy, Six avers, is... 

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