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Macro and Micro News

RCL Foods ‘future proofs’ company with diverse portfolio

By: Simone Liedtke     1st March 2021 JSE-listed consumer goods company RCL Foods continued to leverage its diverse portfolio to remain resilient during the six months ended December 31, 2020, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to present hardships and challenges globally. The company recorded a 10.5% year-on-year increase... 

Absa PMI rises to 53 in February

By: Simone Liedtke     1st March 2021 The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased to 53 index points in February from 50.9 in the month before. The further increase was supported by three of the five subcomponents gaining relative to January, while only the employment index moved lower. The supplier... 

Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala says 'ready to go' on day 1 as WTO boss

By: Reuters     1st March 2021 The World Trade Organization's first female and first African director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala began work on Monday, ending a six-month leadership void at the global trade watchdog. After a long campaign that was derailed in the late stages by a Trump administration veto, the 66-year-old... 

South Africa seeks to lift infrastructure investment with change to pension fund rules

By: Reuters     1st March 2021 South Africa's National Treasury is proposing changing rules governing pension funds to encourage investment in infrastructure projects. Africa's most industrialised nation - the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic on the continent - has put public works in sectors such as transport, energy... 

SA moves to Level 1 of national lockdown

By: News24Wire      1st March 2021 The sale of alcohol will be back to normal, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night, after announcing that SA has moved to Level 1 of the Covid-19 lockdown.  "The sale of alcohol will be permitted, according to normal licence provisions. However, no alcohol may be sold during the hours of... 

SA moves to Level 1 of national lockdown
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Successful marine mining vessel repair leads to two more ship repair projects

By: Schalk Burger     26th February 2021 The successful repair of the Gariep mining vessel, operated by  De Beers Marine, in November has led to two further ship repair projects being booked for 2021 at the Port of Cape Town, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) said on February 25. The Gariep mining... 

Leasing, investment at Saldanha Bay IDZ are going well

By: Marleny Arnoldi     26th February 2021 The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) says the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) has attracted more than R21-billion of private investment to date. These investments are at different stages of development; two of them, with private investment valued at... 

Leasing, investment at Saldanha Bay IDZ are going well
Artist impression of Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone

No real growth without fixing structural impediments first – Econometrix 

By: Irma Venter     26th February 2021 “The only way out of our economic dilemma is to get this economy to grow faster,” says Econometrix chief economist Dr Azar Jammine. “And, in order to achieve that, we need to address the key structural impediments that have been holding back our economic growth performance.” 

No real growth without fixing structural impediments first – Econometrix

Expect steep fuel prices in March, AA warns

By: News24Wire      26th February 2021 Fuel users need to prepare for steep hikes across the boards with petrol prices expected to climb by 66 cents per litre, while diesel and illuminated paraffin will be up 57c/l and 49c/l respectively, according to the Automobile Association. The AA on Friday issued a statement outlining its fuel... 

Expect steep fuel prices in March, AA warns

Eskom suspends chief procurement officer over 'non-performance in procurement savings'  

By: News24Wire      26th February 2021 Eskom has suspended its chief procurement officer, Solly Tshitangano, and will be instituting disciplinary action against him, following allegations of poor performance over the last year. Andre de Ruyter, Eskom's group chief executive officer, confirmed to News24 that Tshitangano had been... 

Eskom suspends chief procurement officer over 'non-performance in procurement savings'
Photo by Donna Slater
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter

African swine fever detected in Western Cape

By: Reuters     26th February 2021 The Western Cape region has reported its first cases of African swine fever at two small farms, after outbreaks in other parts of the country, the provincial head of agriculture said. Recent outbreaks have also been reported in the Free State, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces, agricultural... 

African swine fever detected in Western Cape

Planning commission wants new climate-change commission to drive ‘just transition’ social compact 

By: Terence Creamer     26th February 2021 The outgoing National Planning Commission (NPC) is preparing to hand over the extensive work it has done to build consensus on South Africa’s ‘just transition’ to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society to the newly formed Presidential Coordinating Commission on Climate Change (PCCCC). When... 

Planning commission wants new climate-change commission to drive ‘just transition’ social compact

Manufacturing recovery’s slow pace a concern, Seifsa

26th February 2021 The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) is concerned about the slow pace of recovery in the manufacturing sector, as depicted by the manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) number of 50.9 last month – lower than the 2020 fourth quarter average. 

Manufacturing recovery’s slow pace a concern, Seifsa
MULTIPLIER EFFECT The manufacturing sector remains key to the growth and development of South Africa owing to its multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy

Education dept makes headway on national rollout of coding, robotics curriculum 

By: Yvonne Silaule     25th February 2021 The Department of Basic Education is making headway on the national rollout of coding and robotics, with Grade R to 3 pupils from 200 schools to participate in pilot programme using a draft curriculum this year. Grade 7 pupils from 1 000 schools will also be piloting the curriculum, President... 

Budget highlights  

25th February 2021 Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's 2021 Budget, which included a focus on the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Tax changes and better than expected debt and deficit projections also featured. 

Budget highlights
Budget highlights

Renergen Covid-19 vaccine transport solution unveiled 

25th February 2021 South African emerging domestic natural gas and helium producer Renergen earlier this month unveiled its Covid-19 vaccine transport solution, the Cryo-Vacc. Creamer Media journalist Simone Liedtke, who attended the unveiling event, tells us more. 

Renergen Covid-19 vaccine transport solution unveiled
Renergen Covid-19 vaccine transport solution unveiled

Adcock Ingram reports ‘resilient’ interim trading performance

By: Simone Liedtke     24th February 2021 South African pharmaceutical manufacturer Adcock Ingram on February 24 reported a 4% increase in turnover, to R3.8-billion, for the six months ended December 31, 2020, during which the group experienced challenging trading conditions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a depressed... 

Master plans are paying off, says DTIC

By: Marleny Arnoldi     24th February 2021 The implementation of master plans has already started bearing fruit in four sectors of the South African economy – sugar, automotive, poultry and retail (clothing), textile, footwear and leather (R-CTFL). Close to R70-billion has been invested toward reigniting major key sectors that drive... 

Government commits to improving infrastructure spending 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2021 The 2021 Budget, presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on February 24, outlines that R93.1-billion has been earmarked for economic regulation and infrastructure, from consolidated government expenditure of R2.02-trillion each year over the medium term. To boost infrastructure spending,... 

Committee recommends expanding Covid-19 loan scheme controls

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2021 The Standing and Select Committee on Finance on the 2020 second Revised Fiscal Framework has recommended that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni consider extending the R200-billion Covid-19 loan guarantee scheme enable development finance institutions to provide liquidity to projects that they are... 

R7bn allocated for Land Bank recapitalisation

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2021 The Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank), which defaulted on its debt obligations on April 1, 2020, and is renegotiating it repayment terms, will receive R7-billion in recapitalisation over the medium term to put it on a stable and sustainable development path, the... 

R7bn allocated for Land Bank recapitalisation

Mboweni withdraws R40bn tax proposal amid smaller-than-projected revenue shortfall 

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2021 As was widely anticipated, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni refrained from announcing any new tax measures in his 2021 Budget, citing the need to support the pandemic-afflicted economy’s recovery. In addition, he announced a surprise withdrawal of previously announced hikes worth R40-billion, which... 

Mboweni withdraws R40bn tax proposal amid smaller-than-projected revenue shortfall

Vaccination roll-out a vital growth stimulus, but decisive action on reforms remains key to recovery  

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2021 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni made a direct link to a successful roll-out of South Africa’s free Covid-19 vaccination programme and the country’s economic recovery, telling lawmakers on Wednesday that a successful roll-out would support a full reopening of the economy, boost growth and facilitate... 

Vaccination roll-out a vital growth stimulus, but decisive action on reforms remains key to recovery
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Africa has lost a great thinker – Ramaphosa pays tribute to Benno Ndulu

By: Thabi Madiba     24th February 2021 President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness, on Wednesday, at the passing of respected Tanzanian economist Professor Benno Ndulu, saying Africa had lost a great thinker and visionary in the infancy of continental free trade.  Ndulu, aged 71, passed away in a hospital in Dar es Salaam, in... 

Africa has lost a great thinker – Ramaphosa pays tribute to Benno Ndulu
Tanzanian economist Professor Benno Ndulu

Two South African airports just got official new names 

By: News24Wire      24th February 2021 Two secondary airports – and one fairly big city – have official new names from Tuesday. Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa recognised the new names by publication in the Government Gazette, alongside a handful of registrations of existing geographic names, and some spelling corrections. 

SBI calls on Mboweni to maintain SME and household support until pandemic contained

By: Schalk Burger     23rd February 2021 Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lobby organisation the Small Business Institute (SBI) has called on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to speed up economic reforms, invest in infrastructure and not abruptly cut off support for SMEs. “As the pandemic has yet to be overcome through a rigorous... 

Aveng hopes to build on first positive earnings since 2014 as restructuring nears end  

By: Terence Creamer     23rd February 2021 Infrastructure and contract mining group Aveng, which is at the tail-end of a far-reaching restructuring exercise that has been under way since 2017, has reported its first positive earnings since 2014, recording headline earnings of R109-million for the six months to December 31. The recovery... 

Aveng hopes to build on first positive earnings since 2014 as restructuring nears end
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Aveng CEO Sean Flanagan

Unemployment rate rises to 32.5%  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      23rd February 2021 South Africa's official unemployment rate increased by 1.7 percentage points to 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020, the highest since Statistics South Africa started publishing its Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008. Stats SA reports that the number of employed persons increased by 333 000... 

Unemployment rate rises to 32.5%

SAIW seeks to alleviate key skills shortages

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd February 2021 The South African Institute of Welding (SAIW) is gearing up to present its internationally recognised nondestructive testing (NDT) Level 3 Workshop in March. The workshop builds on pre-existing Level 1 and 2 NDT qualifications to enable attendees to take on a more senior managerial role within an... 

SAIW seeks to alleviate key skills shortages

Sasol upscales renewables roll-out ambition to 900 MW, starts plotting big green-hydrogen role 

By: Terence Creamer     22nd February 2021 JSE-listed Sasol announced on Monday that it would pursue a 900 MW renewable-energy roll-out at its Secunda and Sasolburg complexes by 2030, raising its initial deployment target of 600 MW by 50%. President and CEO Fleetwood Grobler said that the upscaled plan would be pursued in partnership with... 

Sasol upscales renewables roll-out ambition to 900 MW, starts plotting big green-hydrogen role
The Secunda complex, in Mpumalanga

BLSA calls for budget prioritisation amid fiscal constraints

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2021 In her weekly newsletter, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso has called on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to demonstrate that government is focused on the composition of spending; not just about restraining it, but spending it on the right things. The message delivered in the... 

African impact investment solution launched

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 Sub-Saharan Africa fund manager African Alliance Asset Management and social investment manager Tshikululu Social Investments have launched an impact investment offering for Africa called Thrive Africa for global investors. Impact investments are defined as investments that are designed to... 

Greater localisation of OEM supply needed

By: Darren Parker     19th February 2021 Despite the pandemic being a strong motivator for original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to localise procurement, rubber products manufacturer Hudson Rubber MD Stoney Steenkamp believes that too many local OEMs still lack the drive to do so. “Although many customers made huge efforts to localise... 

Greater localisation of OEM supply needed
STONEY STEENKAMP Why should we require a pandemic for customers to localise?

Rubber manufacturer buoyed in tough economy

By: Darren Parker     19th February 2021 Rubber manufacturer Rubber Products and Mouldings (RPM) is “very bullish” about the year ahead, with the company poised for growth despite the difficult economic circumstances because of ongoing lockdowns. “The economy is not strong, so it certainly won’t be easy for any business. However, RPM... 

Rubber manufacturer buoyed in tough economy
WAYNE TOZER AND SUE SUPASAR RPM has performed well after the 2019 takeover, following a series of strategic adjustments to operating costs.

Unpacking opportunities in Africa’s gas sector

19th February 2021 Africa’s oil and gas potential will grow significantly over the next two decades, driven by population growth, urbanisation and the emergence of a wealthier middle class in Africa, according to the Africa Energy Indaba, which will take place virtually from March 1 to 5. 

Unpacking opportunities in Africa’s gas sector
OPPORTUNITIES GALORE There is no doubt that Africa remains open for exploration by oil and gas companies

Home Affairs publishes draft new critical skills list, aimed at attracting foreigners

By: News24Wire      18th February 2021 On Thursday, South Africa finally released a proposed new list of critical skills that can make it easier for foreigners in certain jobs to work here. Those who meet the requirements on the list can get easier access to a visa to work and live in South Africa. 

Spectrum licensing may be slower than hoped - Webber Wentzel 

By: Schalk Burger     18th February 2021 The release of radio frequency spectrum for various telecommunications, industrial and commercial uses may take longer than hoped for, given the challenges to ensure equitable access and to enable digital transformation and growth in the economy, says law firm Webber Wentzel senior associate Karl... 

Spectrum licensing may be slower than hoped - Webber Wentzel
Webber Wentzel senior associate Karl Blom briefly summarises key aspects of radio frequency spectrum licensing in South Africa. Video editing: Darlene Creamer.
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