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Economy News

Metals, engineering industry wage negotiations deadline extended to Sept 14

By: Donna Slater     3rd September 2021 The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) reports that its affiliated employer associations – the National Employers Association of South Africa and the South African Engineers and Founders Association, have agreed to extend the deadline for concluding wage... 

Eskom debt remains a challenge as utility posts nearly R19bn loss  

3rd September 2021 Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the nearly R19-billion loss posted by power utility Eskom for the 2021 financial year, as well as about Eskom's still-high debt levels and what impact this could have on the utility's just energy transition... 

Photo of Terence Creamer
Eskom debt remains a challenge as utility posts nearly R19bn loss

TFR approaches customers on security levy to raise funds for rapid security overhaul  

By: Terence Creamer     3rd September 2021 State-owned railway utility Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is approaching its customers about instituting a three-year security levy, which will be used to raise the funding needed for the rapid deployment of technology-based security solutions across a network that is currently collapsing under the... 

A photo of a TFR locomotive

Local companies continue to export despite poor local market

By: Cameron Mackay     3rd September 2021 Despite the fiscally constrained state of the local economy, local equipment suppliers are successfully exporting their products, says South African Capital Equipment Export Council (Saceec) CEO Eric Bruggeman. “In 2017, we exported about R198-billion worth of equipment, and this has remained... 

Investment required in local oil refineries

By: Anna Moross     3rd September 2021 Oil refineries lack the ability to provide sufficient base lubricants and are unable to keep up with the local demand from local lubricant blenders. 

An image of David Coughlan, the Oilflow director
DAVID COUGHLAN Oil refineries refine base oil to make petrol and diesel, and several by-products such as lubricant base oils

M&R on ‘cusp of a multiyear period of strong earnings growth’ 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd September 2021 Engineering and construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R) says it is “on the cusp of a multiyear period of strong earnings growth”, a claim underpinned by an order book that has grown to an all-time high of R60.7-billion, from R54.2-billion in 2020, as well as a strong project pipeline. The... 

Photo of Henry Laas
M&R CEO Henry Laas

Employment Equity Directorate gearing up for implementation, enforcement of Act

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd September 2021 The Department of Employment and Labour’s Employment Equity (EE) Directorate is gearing itself for the implementation and enforcement of the new EE Act once the Parliamentary processes are finalised by March 2022. EE director Ntsoaki Mamashela is hopeful that the processing of the EE Bill will... 

Sanlam Investments launches Sustainable Infrastructure Fund

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd September 2021 Asset manager Sanlam Investments has launched a Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (SIF) that will invest in local projects for market development and job growth, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. Sanlam says stable, inflation-bearing returns will be delivered to investors over the... 

South Africa backs GDP data despite missing mine statistics

By: Bloomberg     2nd September 2021 South Africa’s statistics agency maintains that its gross domestic product estimates for the second quarter will be credible amid plans to use an estimated value for missing mining data. “Although concerned about the delayed mining data, we are not concerned about the integrity of the GDP,”... 

South Africa considers limiting public amenities to the vaccinated

By: Bloomberg     1st September 2021 South Africa may limit the use of public amenities to the people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the country’s health minister said. While a decision hasn’t been taken it is being discussed by the government, Joe Phaahla, the minister, said in the National Council of Provinces on... 

SAA buyer close to completing due diligence

By: Bloomberg     1st September 2021 South Africa said the private group looking to take a majority stake in the country’s dormant national airline is close to completing due diligence ahead of a planned resumption of flights later this month. The Takatso consortium has yet to identify any material issues that would scupper the... 

TBCSA elects new board members

By: Simone Liedtke     1st September 2021 The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), on September 1, announced the newly elected board members for the 2021 to 2023 tenure. The elected board members are said to be “experienced tourism industry professionals who are expected to direct the strategic objectives of TBCSA, while... 

EOH partners with youth organisation to boost green entrepreneurship

By: Simone Liedtke     1st September 2021 To contribute to efforts to lower South Africa’s ever-increasing unemployment rate, technology services provider EOH has partnered with youth social services organisation PrimeStars in its ‘Step Up 2 A Green Start Up’ campaign. The campaign is aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs to find... 

Absa PMI rebounds after July disruption; beats June’s performance

By: Donna Slater     1st September 2021 Financial services provider Absa reports that its seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rebounded to 57.9 points in August. This followed the record single-month decline to 43.5 points in July, compared with 57.4 points in June. 

Gauteng launches #RequestaSlotGP campaign to address licence renewal backlog

By: Yvonne Silaule     1st September 2021 The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has launched a #RequestASlotGP campaign to enable driver's licence card holders to request and be allocated a booking slot. The campaign is aimed to run concurrently with the already successful Smart Mobility Weekends Campaign. As past of the... 

Eskom warns of ongoing injections unless solution is found to ‘unsustainable’ debt 

By: Terence Creamer     31st August 2021 State-owned power utility Eskom’s debt burden remains “unsustainable” despite an R81.9-billion reduction in its gross debt to R401.8-billion in the year to March 31, 2021, during which the entity remained a going concern only because of a R56-billion government injection. The utility reported a... 

Photo of CEO Andre de Ruyter
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter

South Africa must focus on STEM skills to enable development

By: Schalk Burger     31st August 2021 South Africa needs to improve awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills among primary and secondary school learners. These skills should also be taught by appropriately qualified specialist teachers, to develop skilled and experienced engineers necessary for... 

SIU, Transnet welcome judgment against former Transnet exec

By: Simone Liedtke     31st August 2021 The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and State-owned Transnet have welcomed the judgment handed down by Judge Lebogang Modiba at a special tribunal sitting on August 31, wherein former Transnet employee Herbert Msagala was instructed to pay back R26.4-million to Transnet. The special tribunal... 

South Africa tobacco tax shortfall likely after sales ban, BAT says

By: Bloomberg     31st August 2021 British American Tobacco sees South Africa failing to meet tobacco excise revenue targets after a lengthy ban on the sale of the products swelled illegal sales. The country will probably generate R11.5-billion in duties from cigarettes and related products in the year through March 2022, the... 

DBSA expects strong demand for $200m embedded-generation scheme amid regulatory reform tail wind 

By: Terence Creamer     31st August 2021 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is optimistic that there will be a significant uptake of its $200-million Embedded Generation Investment Programme (EGIP) in light of recent regulatory changes exempting sub-100 MW facilities from licensing and enabling distributed plants to both... 

Photo of DBSA project finance head Mpho Mokwele
DBSA project finance head Mpho Mokwele

Aveng says growth platform in place as it reports first positive earnings since 2014 

By: Terence Creamer     31st August 2021 Infrastructure and contract mining group Aveng reported headline earnings of R751-million for the year to June 30, 2021, the company’s first positive headline earnings performance since June 2014. The JSE-listed group, which has undergone far-reaching restructuring since 2017, has two remaining... 

Photo of Sean Flanagan
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Aveng CEO Sean Flanagan

Busa elects Mohale president, Gore VP

By: Schalk Burger     31st August 2021 Business organisation Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has, during its annual general meeting, elected Bonang Mohale as its new president and Adrian Gore as its new VP. Mohale is the University of the Free State chancellor, JSE-listed diversified services firm Bidvest Group chairperson and has... 

A photo of Bonang Mohale, who has been elected president of Business Unity South Africa
Busa chairperson Bonang Mohale

South Africa detects new coronavirus variant, still studying its mutations 

By: Reuters     30th August 2021 South African scientists have detected a new coronavirus variant with multiple mutations but are yet to establish whether it is more contagious or able to overcome the immunity provided by vaccines or prior infection. The new variant, known as C.1.2, was first detected in May and has now spread... 

Coronavirus

Govt targets August next year, or sooner, for third-party rail access  

By: Irma Venter     30th August 2021 The current target date for enabling third-party operators in the rail-freight sector is August next year, says Dr Sean Phillips, head of National Treasury’s Operation Vulindlela unit. There are, however, ongoing efforts under way to speed up the time frame put on the table by Transnet, he adds. 

An image of a Transnet rail line

Sun International delivers credible results in challenging times

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     30th August 2021 JSE-listed Sun International delivered a credible result for the half year ended June 30, demonstrating the benefits of achieved cost savings, efficiencies and continued deleveraging, the group said in a statement of its unaudited results for the period. It noted that this performance was... 

BLSA expects businesses to become more strident in requiring vaccination

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th August 2021 Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso has lauded the efforts of the Department of Health (DoH) and other stakeholders in administering 240 000 Covid-19 vaccinations last week. She deems a 70% vaccination rate critical to not only reduce death rates but also to rebuild the... 

BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso
BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso

President engages constructively with German business leaders

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th August 2021 President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended German business leaders on their continued engagement with South Africa. Following a CEO roundtable in Berlin, on August 26, the President pledged that the South African government would sustain economic reforms aimed at facilitating greater investment as a... 

A photo of President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Massmart says operations stabilised, to divest of 14 Game stores in East, West Africa

By: Schalk Burger     27th August 2021 The interim results of JSE-listed retail group Massmart, owned by retail multinational Walmart, demonstrates that the company has stabilised its operations and is delivering on its turnaround plan, CEO Mitchell Slape said on August 27. The group's turnaround plan is delivering expected outcomes... 

Grindrod targets port, rail projects in govt’s private sector participation drive  

By: Irma Venter     27th August 2021 Ports and logistics operator Grindrod is positioning itself to take part in the private sector participation (PSP) opportunities to be created by government in the rail and port sectors, says Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo. “Government has called for international players to come and... 

Image of Grindrod CEO Andrew Waller
Andrew Waller

DEL welcomes arrest of bookkeeper for allegedly stealing R11.1m in TERS funds

By: Creamer Media Reporter      27th August 2021 The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) has welcomed the arrest of a 39-year-old bookkeeper who is accused of allegedly swindling the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) of R11.1-million. The suspect is scheduled to appear in the Palm... 

As Mpumalanga towns plot future beyond coal, workers express pain over mine closures 

By: Terence Creamer     27th August 2021 The Steve Tshwete local municipality, in Mpumalanga, which is at the epicentre of South Africa’s coal industry, is revising its Local Economic Development (LED) strategy to take account of the anticipated closure of coal mines and power stations and create the framework for a more diversified... 

The Komati coal-fired power station, which will be fully decommissioned in 2022
The Komati coal-fired power station, which will be fully decommissioned in 2022

Fully developed legislation needed

By: Nadine Ramdass     27th August 2021 The legislation has not caught up with where the gas industry needs it to be, says gas producer Renergen CEO and MD Stefano Marani. Technical aspects that are critical to companies’ decision-making have not yet been addressed, with industries in the gas sector consequently unable to develop to... 

An image of gas extraction at Renergen's Virginia Gas project
GAS EXTRACTION Renergen is the only onshore petroleum rights holder in South Africa

Important link between South Africa’s mining industry and its public capital markets is broken  

By: Martin Creamer     27th August 2021 With South Africa needing more listings on its stock exchanges, what can be done to encourage companies in general and junior mining companies in particular to go public? A lot of the building blocks are in place. South Africa has a stock exchange that punches way above its weight relative to the... 

Image of Engineering News and Mining Weekly magazine cover

South Africa must strive to more effectively balance lives and livelihoods with Covid-19 regulations, says CGCSA

By: Schalk Burger     26th August 2021 South Africa should strive to more effectively balance protecting lives, while ensuring businesses can continue to operate to support people's livelihoods when setting policies and regulations, such as those aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19 infections, says fast-moving consumer goods... 

Persisting pandemic risks and unrest could result in third-quarter GDP contraction

By: Schalk Burger     26th August 2021 Economic pressure arising from the third wave of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, combined with the disruptions caused by the civil unrest and looting in early July, could result in a gross domestic product (GDP) contraction for the third quarter, says financial services firm Absa... 

Earthmoving machinery, equipment companies could face charges for allegedly fixing rental rates

By: Simone Liedtke     26th August 2021 The Competition Commission has filed charges with the Competition Tribunal against the Contractors Plant Hire Association (CPHA) and its 22 members, for allegedly fixing rental rates for earthmoving machinery and plant equipment. The commission found that the association and its members... 

South African Airways to restart operations from Sept 23

By: Reuters     26th August 2021 South Africa's State-owned national carrier South African Airways (SAA) will restart flying between limited destinations from Sept. 23, it said on Twitter, a year after it halted operations as it failed to pay its debt. Last month the government had said that it was selling a 51% stake in the... 

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