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Eskom gearing up to run philosophy maintenance ‘as a project’ following Covid-19 hiatus 

By: Terence Creamer     Updated 7 hours ago State-owned electricity producer Eskom is gearing up to implement philosophy maintenance as a centralised project across its unreliable coal fleet, where ongoing breakdowns have increased the risk of growth- and confidence-sapping load-shedding. The utility’s board has given its approval for the... 

Eskom gearing up to run philosophy maintenance ‘as a project’ following Covid-19 hiatus

Engineering News & Mining Weekly e-magazine now available

26th March 2020 For the duration of South Africa’s 21-day Covid-19 lockdown period, Creamer Media is providing free digital access to our flagship Engineering News & Mining Weekly news magazine. Click now to read our latest edition. 

Engineering News & Mining Weekly e-magazine now available

Wind IPPs given some clawback relief as Eskom issues surprise force majeure notices

By: Terence Creamer     Updated 5 hours ago In its force majeure notice to wind independent power producers (IPPs), Eskom has indicated that, should the system operator issue an instruction to a wind farm to reduce energy output during the period of the Covid-19 lockdown, the IPP would be granted an extension equivalent to the period of... 

Wind IPPs given some clawback relief as Eskom issues surprise force majeure notices

Covid-19 and downgrade palls hang over South Africa’s revenue outlook 

By: Terence Creamer     Updated 24 minutes ago The economic fallout from the recent Moody’s downgrade and the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic would have a “significant impact” on revenue collection during the 2020/21 fiscal year; however, South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said that it was not yet... 

Covid-19 and downgrade palls hang over South Africa’s revenue outlook
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Edward Kieswetter

New-vehicle sales plummet by 30%

By: Irma Venter     Updated 43 minutes ago New-vehicle sales fell by 30% in March, to 33 545 units, compared with the same month last year. South Africa is in a lockdown since March 27 as it works to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

New-vehicle sales plummet by 30%

Business activity in manufacturing picks up slightly in March

By: Marleny Arnoldi     Updated 2 hours 8 minutes ago The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has welcomed the latest Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) outcome, which reflects an increase in overall business activity in the broader manufacturing sector for March. The composite PMI data for March shows that... 

Business activity in manufacturing picks up slightly in March
Photo by Creamer Media
Seifsa economist Marique Kruger

Road freight in sub-Saharan Africa goes digital with DHL’s Saloodo!

By: Irma Venter     Updated 2 hours 35 minutes ago Digital freight forwarder Saloodo!, a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, has launched a digital logistics platform for shippers and transport providers in South Africa, bringing the first digital road freight solution to the region. An efficient road freight network is a key conduit of trade... 

Road freight in sub-Saharan Africa goes digital with DHL’s Saloodo!
Saloodo! Middle East and Africa CEO Tobias Maier

Standard has R427bn contingent liquidity, grants R35bn payment holiday 

By: Martin Creamer     Updated 3 hours ago Capital and liquidity requirements across all the markets in which it operates are continuing to be met, Standard Bank Group financial director Dr Arno Daehnke said during an investor call. “We would argue strenuously that this crisis is still very much a health crisis. It’s not yet a liquidity... 

Standard has R427bn contingent liquidity, grants R35bn payment holiday
Sim Tshabalala

Santam commits R200m to assist clients, suppliers and for the Solidarity Fund

By: Donna Slater     Updated 1 hour 27 minutes ago Financial services provider and general insurer, Santam Group, has committed R200-million in Covid-19 relief to help clients and suppliers and to contribute to the government’s Solidarity Fund. Santam Group will also contribute to flattening the Covid-19 curve through additional corporate social... 

A grim economic forecast for South Africa from JP Morgan

By: Rebecca Campbell     Updated 7 hours ago US-based investment bank and financial services company JP Morgan Chase & Company (JP Morgan) has, in its latest weekly economic forecast for more than 40 countries and regions around the world, identified South Africa as one of the five countries likely to be the most severely hit by the... 

A grim economic forecast for South Africa from JP Morgan

Cell C latest telco to conclude agreement with Competition Commission

By: Natasha Odendaal     Updated 2 hours 39 minutes ago Mobile operator Cell C has finalised an agreement with the Competition Commission over data cuts and digital inclusion. This followed the agreements made between the commission and telecommunication groups Vodacom, MTN and Telkom in March. 

Cell C latest telco to conclude agreement with Competition Commission

Vodacom kicks off new price packages

By: Natasha Odendaal     Updated 1 hour 48 minutes ago Telecommunications group Vodacom’s new 30-day data price packages, with price cuts of up to 40% and free data lifelines, went live on April 1. The group, as part of an agreement with the Competition Commission, will reduce the price of its 50 MB, 30-day data bundle by 40% to R12, effective... 

Vodacom e-School registration reaches one-million users

By: Natasha Odendaal     Updated 4 hours ago User registration on telecommunications group Vodacom’s e-School platform is nearing one-million as South Africa’s schools remained closed. With the outbreak of Covid-19, all schools, universities and other educational institutions suspended operations from March 18 with no indication of when... 

Vodacom e-School registration reaches one-million users

Three Reits withdraw distribution guidance for the year

By: Marleny Arnoldi     Updated 31 minutes ago JSE-listed real estate investment trusts (Reits) Vukile Property Fund, Hyprop Investments and Attacq have announced the withdrawal of their distribution guidances for their respective financial year-ends during 2020. This follows after the governments in countries where they operate have declared... 

Three Reits withdraw distribution guidance for the year

Production of petroleum products continuing under lockdown − Sapia

By: Donna Slater     Updated 1 hour 2 minutes ago The South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) has confirmed that the production and distribution of petroleum products is continuing during the 21-day national lockdown, as the liquid fuels industry forms part of essential products and services. Although two refineries are currently... 

Perdekraal installs all turbines just ahead of the lockdown

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     Updated 1 hour 24 minutes ago Perdekraal East Wind Farm installed its forty-eighth and final wind turbine, two weeks ahead of schedule, on March 24. The final lifting was a celebratory moment for the largely South African crew, who have since left the construction site, in compliance with the Covid-19 lockdown, which came... 

Perdekraal installs all turbines just ahead of the lockdown
Final turbine lifting

Enviro reporting, licensing processes to enjoy extended timeframes

By: Marleny Arnoldi     Updated 1 hour 5 minutes ago Law firm Webber Wentzel says that, in light of the current restrictions of movement of people in South Africa to curb the spread of Covid-19, various timeframes around environmental applications and others have been extended. Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy on March... 

Enviro reporting, licensing processes to enjoy extended timeframes
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy

Virus impact places strain on natural resources

By: Natasha Odendaal     Updated 2 hours 40 minutes ago The Covid-19 pandemic is placing significant strain on South Africa’s water resources, as the first-line of defence against the unabated spread – washing of hands thoroughly – is sending some five litres of water flows from a household tap down the drain. The entire South African – and world –... 

Self-sanitising coatings may help curb the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals

By: Donna Slater     Updated 6 hours ago An innovative antimicrobial coating innovation developed locally by the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) researcher and inventor Michael Lucas, could provide a supplementary sanitising solution to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus in hospitals and other medical facilities. The... 

Self-sanitising coatings may help curb the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals
Michael Lucas

Travel agents not to blame for disruptions, refund issues − Asata

By: Donna Slater     Updated 5 hours ago Travel agency representative forum, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) is redirecting the blame for air travellers having to buy additional air tickets to the airlines in question as the airlines have closed refund platforms to travel agents. Asata is responding to... 

Travel agents not to blame for disruptions, refund issues − Asata
Otto de Vries

AfDB, Moz government ink deal to pave road crucial to trade

By: Donna Slater     Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago The government of Mozambique and development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB). have signed a protocol agreement for a $34-million grant for the paving of the 35 km Nambungali-Roma road, in Mozambique, to facilitate trade and promote social inclusion of local communities.... 

AfDB, Moz government ink deal to pave road crucial to trade

First repatriation flight leaves South Africa

By: Rebecca Campbell     Updated 2 hours 42 minutes ago The first repatriation flight for foreigners caught in South Africa by the country’s lockdown (to counter the Covid-19 pandemic), allowed by amended regulations announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on March 31, took off on the morning of April 1, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa)... 

Volkswagen expands operations in Kenya

By: Irma Venter     Updated 2 hours 37 minutes ago Just more than three years after German car manufacturer Volkswagen ventured into sub-Saharan Africa, the brand’s assembly facility in Kenya has added another model to its line-up. The assembly facility, which was opened in December, 2016, in Thika, Kenya, was the first semi-knockdown operation... 

Volkswagen expands operations in Kenya

Taxis allowed 100% of capacity only with masks – Mbalula  

By: Sane Dhlamini     Updated 1 hour 24 minutes ago Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Wednesday that taxis could carry their full loads during the national lockdown, provided that all passengers wore masks. Mbalula was addressing the taxi operators and commuters at the MTN Taxi Rank in Johannesburg after he held discussions with the... 

Taxis allowed 100% of capacity only with masks – Mbalula
Transport Minister Fikille Mbalula

Putting Africa in back of queue for ventilators will be detrimental for humanity – Pandor

By: News24Wire      Updated 3 hours ago International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said the notion of Africa being at the back of the line for life-saving ventilators would be to the detriment of humanity. But, Pandor said, her impression from a recent virtual G20 leaders meeting, was that other countries have... 

Putting Africa in back of queue for ventilators will be detrimental for humanity – Pandor
Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor

South African ports open for cargo, mineral exports, govt says

By: Reuters     Updated 3 hours ago South African ports remain open to all types of cargo, although essential goods should be prioritised where possible, the Department of Transport said in a notice shared by the South African Maritime Safety Authority on its website. The notice, dated March 31, contradicts communications from port... 

South African ports open for cargo, mineral exports, govt says

GlobalData revises full-year copper output growth forecast lower

By: Simone Liedtke     Updated 4 hours ago Global copper production is expected to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with data analytics and consulting company GlobalData now forecasting output growth of just 1.9% to 21-million tonnes for this year. This compares with its previous forecast of 3.4% year-on-year growth in global copper... 

Researcher unpacks the demise of South Africa’s investment-grade status

By: Marleny Arnoldi     Updated 4 hours ago It is up to South Africa, and not the credit ratings agencies, to decide which direction to take to regain investment-grade status, says Absa research head Jeff Gable. “In this difficult time, credit rating agencies do not exist to lecture governments, to try to diminish the democratic process,... 

Researcher unpacks the demise of South Africa’s investment-grade status

Stellenbosch University researcher makes sanitiser from stale bread

By: African News Agency      Updated 5 hours ago Researchers at Stellenbosch University say they have discovered how to make hand sanitiser using stale bread crumbs. An experiment conducted by SU food scientist Dr Stefan Hayward, using the university's in-house fermentation tank, yielded 18 litres of alcohol-based sanitiser which could come in... 

Stellenbosch University researcher makes sanitiser from stale bread

Rosatom complies with South African, other countries' safety measures 

By: Rebecca Campbell     Updated 5 hours ago The South Africa-based Central and Southern Africa Office of Russian State-owned nuclear energy group Rosatom has assured that it is both complying with the 21-day lockdown now in force in South Africa (to counter the Covid-19 pandemic) and continuing to support its customers. In a statement... 

South Africa should seek IMF funding to deal with pandemic - IIF

By: Reuters     Updated 7 hours ago  South Africa should seek funding from the International Monetary Fund given its high debt levels, large capital outflows and a potentially deep recession triggered by the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, a financial industry trade group said. The Institute of International Finance said it... 

Eskom issues force majeure to wind plants amid low demand

By: Bloomberg     Updated 7 hours ago Eskom Holdings told operators of some independent wind-power plants that it won’t need their power at certain times of day due to lower demand amid a national shutdown. The amount of power generated from wind is at its highest early in the morning when Eskom’s need is lowest, said Sikonathi... 

Eskom issues force majeure to wind plants amid low demand

Cleanliness routines can help to keep SA safe, productive once back at work

By: Schalk Burger     1st April 2020 Personal and public cleanliness practices, as well as thorough cleaning of work places before workers return from the 21-day lockdown and continuing afterwards, will help to reduce incidents of illness, absenteeism and support productivity, says industrial cleaning company Industroclean MD Emma... 

Kaspersky offers business products for free to healthcare institutions

By: Schalk Burger     1st April 2020 Cybersecurity multinational Kaspersky has offered healthcare institutions free access to its cybersecurity business products for six months to help them to deal with the surge in attacks against healthcare institutions and organisations, Kaspersky global sales network VP Evgeniya Naumova says.... 

Nxesi urges sector-level applications for National Disaster Covid-19 benefit 

By: Simone Liedtke     31st March 2020 Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi announced on March 31 that applications for the National Disaster Covid-19 benefit, which had been put in place to mitigate the effects of lay-offs during the lockdown, would not be handled on an individual basis and would instead need to be submitted... 

Nxesi urges sector-level applications for National Disaster Covid-19 benefit
Photo by Creamer Media
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi

Mbalula provides clarity on aviation directives 

By: Simone Liedtke     31st March 2020 Since the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that South Africa would embark on a 21-day national lockdown, the majority of aviation activities have slowed dramatically, with all domestic airlines having halted passenger flights effective from the start of the lockdown. South Africa’s... 

Mbalula provides clarity on aviation directives
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula

Covid-19 prompts Glencore to defer cash distribution, reinforce liquidity 

By: Martin Creamer     31st March 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has prompted global diversified mining and marketing company Glencore to defer its proposed $2.6-billion distribution of cash and reinforce its $10.1- billion liquidity through the refinancing and extension of revolving credit facilities on the same commercial terms as... 

Covid-19 prompts Glencore to defer cash distribution, reinforce liquidity
Ivan Glasenberg

Ford partners with GE Healthcare to produce 50 000 ventilators

By: Marleny Arnoldi     31st March 2020 Ford Motor Company and GE Healthcare have partnered to produce 50 000 ventilators within 100 days, at Ford’s Rawsonville components plant, in Michigan, in the US. This follows after the US government set a goal of providing 100 000 ventilators to Covid-19 patients in the country in 100 days.  

Ford partners with GE Healthcare to produce 50 000 ventilators

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