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Economy News

Zondo Commission is biased, a 'farce', says letter from ex-Prasa CEO Lucky Montana  

By: News24Wire      3rd July 2020 The former CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Lucky Montana, has lashed out at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, accusing the committee's chairperson, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, of "bias" following days of hearing damning evidence about alleged corruption at the rail... 

Mpumalanga develops ‘pillared strategy’ to curb Covid-19 spread

By: Yvonne Silaule     3rd July 2020 With Mpumalanga coronavirus infections projected to peak in the latter part of July, the province has developed a pillared strategy to alleviate the spread of the virus. The number of Covid-19 infections in the province is currently at 1 478. Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tshipane said the... 

Mpumalanga develops ‘pillared strategy’ to curb Covid-19 spread

Patel directs Itac to look into scrap metal price preference system 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd July 2020 Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has issued a trade policy directive to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) to urgently look into measures to help support the scrap metals industry. Patel said the industry was facing severe challenges owing to... 

Patel directs Itac to look into scrap metal price preference system

ECSA suspends four Satellite Centres in light of Covid-19 

By: Simone Liedtke     3rd July 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged and shifted the premise upon which the Engineering Council of South Africa’s (ECSA’s) Satellite Centres were introduced, leading to the suspension these four centres, says ECSA acting strategic services executive Millicent Kabwe. In email correspondence to... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list 

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol has developed a list of ten major assets that will be prioritised for sale in the coming weeks and months as it moves to streamline the business into what is being termed ‘Sasol 2.0’, while also raising proceeds to help it reduce a $9.5-billion debt burden. In... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list
Photo by Creamer Media
Sasol CFO Paul Victor

Groceries, household supplies and utility bills top international list of higher cost items

By: Simone Liedtke     3rd July 2020 The majority of people across 26 surveyed countries say the overall cost of food, goods and services have increased for them and their families since the Covid-19 pandemic started, according to a global survey by market research company Ipsos. Three in five people (60%) in an online poll of... 

National Treasury warns of debt spiral, refutes criticism of reneging on spending commitments  

By: African News Agency      3rd July 2020 National Treasury on Friday warned in a briefing to MPs that failure to arrest South Africa's debt trajectory would see borrowing costs consume almost a third of the national budget by 2024 and slammed proponents of greater government spending. Treasury said in a presentation to the standing and... 

National Treasury warns of debt spiral, refutes criticism of reneging on spending commitments
Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane

Supply chain liquidity and digitisation support fund launched

By: Schalk Burger     3rd July 2020 A R25-billion Covid-19 Instant Supplier Payment Scheme and digitisation drive has been launched for private and public sector institutions in South Africa and selected African markets, supply chain payments company Tradeshift and trade and supply chain finance and services platform Raindew Trade... 

Anger rising in South African tourism sector against insurance industry

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd July 2020 A bitter backlash against leading South African insurance companies continues to grow in the country’s beleaguered tourism/conservation sector. A video is in circulation, made by a game lodge or game farm which, unsurprisingly, does not identify itself but which an independent source within the... 

Mapasa says BRL business rescue proceeding well despite some challenges 

By: Simone Liedtke     3rd July 2020 Progress is being made with the implementation of the business rescue plan of embattled construction company Basil Read Limited (BRL), a subsidiary of Basil Read Holdings Limited (BRHL), “despite challenges”, Basil Read CEO Khathutshelo (K2) Mapasa tells Engineering News.. BRL operates in the... 

Mapasa says BRL business rescue proceeding well despite some challenges
CEO Khathutshelo (K2) Mapasa

Automation reduces costs, increases productivity

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 With companies that invest in technology and automation showing signs of being more adaptable and strategically well positioned to take advantage of an inevitable upswing in the economy, local manufacturer and supplier of cutting and welding equipment consumables as well as distributor of steel... 

Automation reduces costs,  increases productivity
ANDREW POOLE Companies which take the risk and invest are more agile, more productive and better positioned to diversify and access new markets

New approach adopted in uncertain steel market

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 Steel merchant Macsteel has been re-evaluating its business strategy, owing to a steady decline in steel consumption over the past five years, with 2019 being a “new low” and the start of 2020 faring just as poorly – a situation that has been exacerbated by the lockdown because of Covid-19.... 

New approach adopted in uncertain steel market
BUILDING THE RIGHT WAY Macsteel aims to build its market share through strong, well-established and sustainable relationships with customers

Future order book to relieve pressure for fabricator 

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 Although the strategic decision to continue to pay employees full salaries during the Level 5 lockdown in April put pressure on its cashflow, steel fabricator and erector Betterect believes a healthy order book of projects for the next 18 months should ensure that the pressure will be relieved.... 

Future order book to relieve pressure for fabricator
Betterect MD Nicolette Skjoldhammer discusses the company’s strategic decisions, facility upgrades and the concept of ‘Team Africa’. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 12.06.2020

South Africa records first current account surplus in 17 years 

By: Reuters     2nd July 2020 South Africa recorded its first current account surplus in 17 years in the first quarter of 2020 as the trade balance more than doubled, central bank data showed on Thursday. The current account swung to a surplus of 1.3% of gross domestic product, or 69.7 billion rand ($4.12 billion), in... 

Nersa’s Gumede calls for overhaul of ‘outdated’ electricity tariff methodology  

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2020 National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) fulltime member for electricity Nhlanhla Gumede has called for the regulatory methodology used to set electricity tariffs in South Africa to be overhauled, arguing that the multiyear price determination (MYPD) approach is not aligned with the... 

Nersa’s Gumede calls for overhaul of ‘outdated’ electricity tariff methodology
Nersa fulltime member for electricity Nhlanhla Gumede

Pandemic severely impacting on tourism, but there are positives, says WHO

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd July 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on tourism and travel in Africa; however, there are opportunities for the tourism sector in the medium term, and potential for recovery as borders start reopening, speakers said during a World Health Organisation- (WHO-) hosted webinar on July 2. WHO... 

Proudly SA launches new ‘buy local’ campaign

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 Proudly South African (SA) this week launched its new “Buy Local” consumer education campaign that will go live on various platforms, including television, on July 3. The campaign calls on all South African citizens to contribute to putting the local economy and South Africans back to work by... 

Nersa to provide concurrence on technology-specific determination this month 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2020 The National Energy Regulator of South Africa indicated on Thursday that it intended providing concurrence this month for a Ministerial determination that would open the way for the procurement of new electricity generation capacity in line with allocations contained in the 2019 edition of the... 

Nersa to provide concurrence on technology-specific determination this month

Public Enterprises states that four SAA unions willing to accept severance packages 

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd July 2020 The Department of Public Enterprises reported on Thursday that four of the unions representing employees of State-owned national flag carrier South African Airways had indicated that they were willing to sign the voluntary severance packages being offered by the DPE to SAA employees. SAA is... 

UIF continues to accept Covid-19 TERS claims

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd July 2020 The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Commissioner has indicated that the fund will continue to accept and process Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) claims submitted for April, May and June as per the directive issued by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on March... 

Top 100 companies' value dropped by 15% by March, report shows

By: Schalk Burger     2nd July 2020 The Global Top 100 companies performed strongly from March to December 2019, increasing their market capitalisation (cap) by 20%. However, their market cap decreased by 15% from December 2019 to March 2020, a report compiled by professional services multinational PwC shows. These top 100... 

Construction Index tracks down, hopes for recovery pinned in infrastructure build

By: Schalk Burger     2nd July 2020 While JSE-listed industrial and construction materials company Afrimat's Construction Index (ACI) was down by 12 points year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, there is some hope of a recovery for the construction sector in government’s infrastructure-led economic growth recovery plan... 

CDC Group, Finnfund make $70m commitment to foster growth across Africa

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 The CDC Group and Finnfund have made a $70-million commitment to AfricInvest Fund IV, a generalist Pan-African fund aiming to foster the growth of African enterprises across the continent. Fund IV will invest in mid-cap and growth-oriented companies in sectors including financial services,... 

TFR implementing new online truck scheduling system at City Deep Terminal

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will implement the Navis Truck Appointment System at its City Deep Terminal in Johannesburg from July 6. The online truck scheduling system will not only regulate the flow of trucks to the terminal, but will also enable physical distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Global efforts needed to fast-track clean energy innovation

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 A significant and concerted global push to accelerate innovation will be needed to pave the way to the energy sector reaching net-zero emissions, according to International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation. The report discusses... 

Local medical radioisotope producer continues exports despite lockdown

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd July 2020 South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) subsidiary company NTP Radioisotopes (NTP) has reported that, since the imposition of South Africa’s national lockdown in late March, it had been able to dispatch more than 120 shipments of medical radioisotopes to customers around the world. Both... 

Sasol confirms Rompco pipeline sale ‘well advanced’ as asset disposal process kicks into gear 

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol confirmed on July 1 that the sale of its equity interest in the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investment Company (Rompco) and the Central Termica de Ressano Garcia gas-fired power plant, also in Mozambique, were well advanced, along with partnering discussions... 

 Sasol confirms Rompco pipeline sale ‘well advanced’ as asset disposal process kicks into gear

RBPlat opens 200-bed field hospital to support govt in fight against Covid-19 

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 Platinum group metals miner Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), together with the North West Department of Health, has officially opened the 200-bed Royal Bafokeng Platinum Field Hospital, in Rustenburg, at a cost of about R10-million, to support government’s already overburdened resources in the... 

RBPlat opens 200-bed field hospital to support govt in fight against Covid-19

Easing lockdown lifts South Africa's Absa PMI in June

By: Reuters     1st July 2020 South Africa's seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) expanded in June as an easing of coronavirus restrictions lifted business activity and sales. The index, which gauges manufacturing activity in Africa's most industrialised economy, rose to 53.9 points in June from 50.2... 

Covid-19 had ‘significant impact’ on Long4Life’s businesses

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and subsequent government prescribed lockdown has had a significant impact on JSE-listed lifestyle investment company Long4Life’s various businesses, CEO Brian Joffe told shareholders during an annual general meeting (AGM) on July 1. The requirement to close all... 

2018/19 audit of local governments paints ‘undesirable picture’, says AG

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu released the audit outcomes for local government for the 2018/19 financial year, wherein 257 municipalities and 21 municipal entities were audited. This report is Makwetu’s last as his fixed seven-year term as AG comes to an end on November 30. 

Policy uncertainty in South Africa remains high, implementation risks remain

By: Schalk Burger     1st July 2020 The North West University (NWU) Business School's quarterly Policy Uncertainty Index (PUI) remained high at 57.4% in the second quarter of the year, an improvement on the 59.8% during the first quarter of the year. It remains at the highest levels since the PUI was launched in early 2016,  notes... 

Economic opportunity of South Africa’s energy transition akin to new ‘gold rush’

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2020 South Africa’s energy transition from coal to cleaner energy carries an economic opportunity equivalent to the discovery of gold in the country more than a century ago, a new South African National Energy Association (Sanea) report argues. Published on June 30, the ‘South African Energy Risk... 

Economic opportunity of South Africa’s energy transition akin to new ‘gold rush’

TIPS Tracker: The economy and the pandemic

30th June 2020 Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies' (TIPS's) 'Tracker: The economy and the pandemic' highlights important trends in the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa and how they affect the economy. In the past week, the contagion continued to spread rapidly in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The daily... 

Local productive capacity protection, demand stimulation will rejig economy, says Seifsa

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th June 2020 The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says the 2% contraction in South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the year is disconcerting, as beleaguered businesses continue to face headwinds. The federation explains that businesses... 

Vukile bullish about financial position amid Covid-19 

By: Simone Liedtke     30th June 2020 Vukile Property Fund has reported 3.2% growth in its distributable earnings a share for the financial year ended March 31,. CEO Laurence Rapp says Vukile had a “very strong year and has delivered a stand-out set of results” where operationally, the company’s portfolios in South Africa and Spain... 

Vukile bullish about financial position amid Covid-19
Vukile Property Fund CEO Laurence Rapp gives some insight into the company's South African portfolio's results, as well as the company's Covid-19 response. Video: Creamer Media's Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd.

Tariff implications not yet clear as Nersa loses another court battle with Eskom 

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2020 Power utility Eskom has welcomed the June 29 ruling of the North Gauteng High Court to review and set aside three regulatory clearing account determinations made by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for the financial years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. In his judgment, Judge Jody... 

Tariff implications not yet clear as Nersa loses another court battle with Eskom
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
The Nersa panel at the MYPD4 hearing in 2019
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