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Photo of the Week

BIG PICTURE

5th March 2021 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his 2021 Budget address last week against the backdrop of a sharp economic contraction as a result of the lockdown actions taken since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa. The slump has triggered record levels of unemployment, as well as a... 

BIG PICTURE

WHITE-OUT BLAME GAME

26th February 2021 The finger pointing and accusations that arose in the wake of the winter-storm induced power cuts in Texas this month were even louder and angrier than those that accompany South Africa’s regular bouts of load-shedding. Some blamed a lack of maintenance, some argued it was the fault of frozen... 

WHITE-OUT BLAME GAME

VEXING VARIANTS

19th February 2021 Disappointing news about the effectiveness of some vaccines against the 501.V2 Covid variant now dominant in South Africa should not mask the remarkable progress being made on the vaccine front. The fact that there are already vaccines approved is an incredible feat in itself. There is also a... 

VEXING VARIANTS

SHOT IN THE ARM

12th February 2021 The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part... 

SHOT IN THE ARM: The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part of the investment, Ford will build a chassis line at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), the development of which is pictured here. TASEZ is located adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant and is being punted as Africa’s first ‘automotive city’. Besides Ford, Nissan and BMW also assemble vehicles in Tshwane.
SHOT IN THE ARM: The announcement by Ford this month that it will invest R15.8-billion in its South African operations to produce the new-generation Ranger pick-up represents a much-needed shot in the arm for the investment-starved economy, which has been battered by Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. As part of the investment, Ford will build a chassis line at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), the development of which is pictured here. TASEZ is located adjacent to Ford’s Silverton assembly plant and is being punted as Africa’s first ‘automotive city’. Besides Ford, Nissan and BMW also assemble vehicles in Tshwane.

DOSE OF REALITY

5th February 2021 South Africa’s sluggish approach to the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine is deplorable, but is also only part of the problem. The beggar-thy-neighbour scramble adopted by rich countries serves as a bitter dose of reality about the importance (or lack thereof) the international community... 

DOSE OF REALITY

LOOMING LARGE

29th January 2021 State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April,... 

LOOMING LARGE: State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April, after which the prognosis is expected to improve. The utility has also indicated previously that the risk of power cuts will be “significantly reduced, but not eliminated” only by September in line with progress being made under its so-called reliability maintenance programme. Photograph: Bloomberg
Photo by Bloomberg
LOOMING LARGE: State-owned power utility Eskom has been warning for several months that the risk of load-shedding will loom as large as these power lines do over this Cape Town informal settlement. In its official planning, Eskom indicates that electricity shortages are possible during most weeks until April, after which the prognosis is expected to improve. The utility has also indicated previously that the risk of power cuts will be “significantly reduced, but not eliminated” only by September in line with progress being made under its so-called reliability maintenance programme. Photograph: Bloomberg

WAITING & CELEBRATING

22nd January 2021 While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of... 

WAITING & CELEBRATING: While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of resistance. Nevertheless, the overall mood has been celebratory, given the importance of the vaccine in ending what has been, and still is, an economically and psychologically devastating pandemic. One bakery in Dortmund, Germany, marked the development by baking cakes in the shape of syringes. Photograph: Leon Kuegele for Reuters
WAITING & CELEBRATING: While several countries began ramping up their mass vaccination campaigns at the start of 2021, South Africans began the year anxiously waiting for the start of a domestic roll-out. Many vaccination deployments have fallen short of initial expectations and have been accompanied by an element of resistance. Nevertheless, the overall mood has been celebratory, given the importance of the vaccine in ending what has been, and still is, an economically and psychologically devastating pandemic. One bakery in Dortmund, Germany, marked the development by baking cakes in the shape of syringes. Photograph: Leon Kuegele for Reuters

DOWN, NOT OUT

15th January 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health... 

DOWN, NOT OUT: The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health workers, such as the one pictured, were pushed to their physical and psychological limits. As 2021 begins, however, there is cause for optimism. The vaccine is being deployed and economies are starting to recover. As with previous pandemics, humanity has again shown resilience, resourcefulness and innovation. We are down, but not out! Photograph: Reuters
Photo by Reuters
DOWN, NOT OUT: The Covid-19 pandemic was painful on many levels. It led to millions of premature deaths which devastated families. The associated lockdowns, while necessary in many instances, caused untold misery, from the loss of livelihoods to loneliness and a rise in poverty and hunger. Frontline health workers, such as the one pictured, were pushed to their physical and psychological limits. As 2021 begins, however, there is cause for optimism. The vaccine is being deployed and economies are starting to recover. As with previous pandemics, humanity has again shown resilience, resourcefulness and innovation. We are down, but not out! Photograph: Reuters

BORDER BLUES

11th December 2020 Long lines of waiting trucks and cars are all too common a sight at key Southern African border crossings, with the busy Beitbridge border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa being no exception. Beitbridge’s capacity constraints are not only frustrating, but add significant cost and risk to... 

BORDER BLUES

FLEEING CONFLICT

4th December 2020 Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray... 

FLEEING CONFLICT: Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 4, accusing it of attacking two federal military camps in the northern region. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah for Reuters
Photo by Reuters
FLEEING CONFLICT: Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahme launched a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 4, accusing it of attacking two federal military camps in the northern region. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah for Reuters

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

27th November 2020 Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21... 

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21 bulk carriers were anchored off the Port of Jingtang, unable to offload their Australian coal cargo. Fifteen of the ships had been waiting since June, threatening a humanitarian crisis. During the trade stand-off China has blacklisted various Australian commodities and foodstuffs from coal to lobster.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Earlier this month, media reports emerged indicating that an estimated 400 seafarers and roughly two-million tons of coal were stuck on ships off the northeast coast of China, as that country’s diplomatic row with Australia intensified. A Bloomberg report stated that, at one point, more than 21 bulk carriers were anchored off the Port of Jingtang, unable to offload their Australian coal cargo. Fifteen of the ships had been waiting since June, threatening a humanitarian crisis. During the trade stand-off China has blacklisted various Australian commodities and foodstuffs from coal to lobster.

TRAVEL DISRUPTED

20th November 2020 A recent global survey commissioned by Inmarsat Aviation found that eight in ten airline passengers don’t plan to resume their regular travel routines even once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. The survey drew responses from 9 500 people from 12 countries, all of whom having taken at least... 

TRAVEL DISRUPTED

NOT LOOTERS

13th November 2020 Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been officially appointed chairperson of State-owned electricity utility Eskom, having served as interim chairperson for nine months. In a short address during the release of the debt-laden and corruption-prone group’s much-delayed 2020 results, Makgoba said that... 

NOT LOOTERS

FLYING HIGH

6th November 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leaps for joy after winning the Portuguese Grand Prix on October 25. The victory at the Algarve International Circuit was Hamilton’s 92nd. It also saw him passing the legendary Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most Formula One race victories in history 

FLYING HIGH

STRUGGLE CONTINUES

30th October 2020 There a worrying signs that fatigue has truly set in with regards the willingness of citizens to abide by Covid-19 restrictions being imposed by governments. The struggle is far from over, however, with infections surging in many countries, particularly in Europe. Hospital capacity has come... 

STRUGGLE CONTINUES

SUSTAINED PRESSURE

23rd October 2020 South African factory output contracted for a fifteenth month in August, when output fell 10.8%, compared with a revised 10.2% decline in July. The slump came even though South Africa has taken measures to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Bloomberg reports that the decline could weigh on an... 

SUSTAINED PRESSURE

WRECKED

16th October 2020 A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus... 

WRECKED: A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus pandemic continued to sink the industry.
Photo by Umit Bektas for Reuters
WRECKED: A drone image shows decommissioned cruise ships being dismantled at Aliaga ship-breaking yard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, in western Turkey, earlier this month. Media reports stated that British, American, and Italian cruise ships were being dismantled in the country as the coronavirus pandemic continued to sink the industry.

DISPLAY OF DIVISION

9th October 2020 US President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden hurled insults and repeatedly interrupted each other in their first debate, sparring over topics that included the coronavirus, the economy and their families. The debate was meant to be the first of three before the November 3... 

DISPLAY OF DIVISION

VIRTUAL ASSEMBLY

2nd October 2020 The United Nations (UN) headquarters, in New York, US, pictured during the 75th yearly UN General Assembly high-level debate, which was held mostly virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. In his virtual address, President Cyril Ramaphosa argued that the UN remained “the most effective means to... 

VIRTUAL ASSEMBLY

BLAST FALLOUT

25th September 2020 Following outrage over the destruction, by Rio Tinto, of rock shelters used by Aboriginal Australians as long as 46 000-years ago, the mining group announced this month that its CEO, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, would leave the company at the end of March, or when a successor was appointed. Chris... 

BLAST FALLOUT

BURNING ISSUE

18th September 2020 The sky turned orange in San Francisco, California, earlier this month as wildfires raged. California reported a total of 4 927 fires in 2019 and so far during 2020, during which summer temperatures have surged, there have been more than 7 606 blazes. There are also warnings that the risk of... 

BURNING ISSUE

NOT A GAME

11th September 2020 The high-profile clash between technology giant Apple and video game developer Epic Games is starting to attract the interest of competition regulators. In August, Apple terminated Epic’s account from its App Store, making it impossible to update the Fortnite app in its store. Earlier this month,... 

NOT A GAME

SOLAR SALUTE

4th September 2020 On August 25, Swiss adventurer Raphael Domjan completed the world's first parachute jump from a solar-powered aircraft, the SolarStratos. Domjan said he wanted to prove that activities such as skydiving could be carried out without producing greenhouse gases. He undertook the flight with Spanish... 

SOLAR SALUTE

NAVIGATING HOSTILE SEAS

28th August 2020 The world’s largest container line, AP Moller-Maersk, reported earlier this month that it had been able to reinstate its full-year earnings guidance at a higher level than it had previously indicated, after staying open for business throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Global demand growth for... 

NAVIGATING HOSTILE SEAS

GLOBAL AFTERSHOCKS

21st August 2020 The aftershocks from the explosion in the Beirut port area, in Lebanon, on August 4 have been felt across the world. While the proximate cause was the criminal neglect of a warehouse storing thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, the root cause appears to be a political system that sustains... 

GLOBAL AFTERSHOCKS: The aftershocks from the explosion in the Beirut port area, in Lebanon, on August 4 have been felt across the world. While the proximate cause was the criminal neglect of a warehouse storing thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, the root cause appears to be a political system that sustains sectarianism and thrives on corruption. It should serve as a wake-up call to all countries, including South Africa, of the damage that can arise should corruption and political inertia be allowed to take hold for a sustained period. Photograph: Mohamed Azakir for Reuters
Photo by Reuters
GLOBAL AFTERSHOCKS: The aftershocks from the explosion in the Beirut port area, in Lebanon, on August 4 have been felt across the world. While the proximate cause was the criminal neglect of a warehouse storing thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, the root cause appears to be a political system that sustains sectarianism and thrives on corruption. It should serve as a wake-up call to all countries, including South Africa, of the damage that can arise should corruption and political inertia be allowed to take hold for a sustained period. Photograph: Mohamed Azakir for Reuters

SPLASHDOWN

14th August 2020 The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft made its historic splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, in the US, on August 2. The capsule carried US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who rocketed to the International Space Station two months earlier. The... 

SPLASHDOWN

RED PLANET RACE

7th August 2020 The Long March 5 Y-4 rocket, carrying an unmanned Mars probe of the Tianwen-1 mission, taking off from Wenchang Space Launch Centre in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China, late last month. The rocket is carrying a six-wheeled rover robot and should arrive in orbit around the Red Planet in February.... 

RED PLANET RACE

HISTORIC ELBOW BUMP

31st July 2020 European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel do an elbow bump at the end of a news conference on July 21, which followed a four-day European summit at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. European Union leaders reached a landmark... 

HISTORIC ELBOW BUMP

MONTH OF STORMS

24th July 2020 As if the onset, in July, of the Covid-19 pandemic storm were not enough, South Africans have also been buffeted by several others. In Cape Town, people were literally drenched by sea spray thrown up by huge swells as a cold front moved into the region. Nationally, the dreaded load-shedding storm... 

MONTH OF STORMS: As if the onset, in July, of the Covid-19 pandemic storm were not enough, South Africans have also been buffeted by several others. In Cape Town, people were literally drenched by sea spray thrown up by huge swells as a cold front moved into the region. Nationally, the dreaded load-shedding storm struck, owing to a combination of unplanned power station outages and a rise in demand, triggered partly by the cold weather. All the while, the ongoing lockdown continued to trigger stormy debate, with opinions strongly divided on whether schools should have remained open, the effectiveness of the alcohol and cigarette bans and whether taxi precautions are appropriate.
Photo by Reuters
MONTH OF STORMS: As if the onset, in July, of the Covid-19 pandemic storm were not enough, South Africans have also been buffeted by several others. In Cape Town, people were literally drenched by sea spray thrown up by huge swells as a cold front moved into the region. Nationally, the dreaded load-shedding storm struck, owing to a combination of unplanned power station outages and a rise in demand, triggered partly by the cold weather. All the while, the ongoing lockdown continued to trigger stormy debate, with opinions strongly divided on whether schools should have remained open, the effectiveness of the alcohol and cigarette bans and whether taxi precautions are appropriate.

ART OF REOPENING

17th July 2020 The Louvre museum, in Paris, has reopened its doors to the public after an almost four-month closure, owing to the coronavirus outbreak in France. There is something of an art to the reopening of the world’s busiest museum during a pandemic, though. All visitors are now expected to wear... 

ART OF REOPENING: The Louvre museum, in Paris, has reopened its doors to the public after an almost four-month closure, owing to the coronavirus outbreak in France. There is something of an art to the reopening of the world’s busiest museum during a pandemic, though. All visitors are now expected to wear protective face masks and an online reservation system is being use to limit crowds to well below the typical 50000-a-day pre-pandemic visitor numbers. The upside is that visitors, such as those pictured here, are now able to have a less congested experience when viewing the museum’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci. Photograph: Charles Platiau for Reuters
Photo by Charles Platiau for Reuters
ART OF REOPENING: The Louvre museum, in Paris, has reopened its doors to the public after an almost four-month closure, owing to the coronavirus outbreak in France. There is something of an art to the reopening of the world’s busiest museum during a pandemic, though. All visitors are now expected to wear protective face masks and an online reservation system is being use to limit crowds to well below the typical 50000-a-day pre-pandemic visitor numbers. The upside is that visitors, such as those pictured here, are now able to have a less congested experience when viewing the museum’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci. Photograph: Charles Platiau for Reuters

WING & PRAYER

10th July 2020 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni used his Supplementary Budget on June 24 to signal that dramatic action will have to be taken in the coming few years if government is to get its burgeoning debt under control and avoid a scenario whereby debt to gross domestic product surges well past the 100%... 

WING & PRAYER

TOWER TALKS

3rd July 2020 Telecommunications group Telkom is exploring possible deals for its portfolio of about 6 500 towers as it moves to strengthen its balance sheet and preserve cash to weather a deep recession brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand for towers could rise as South Africa starts to roll-out a... 

TOWER TALKS: Telecommunications group Telkom is exploring possible deals for its portfolio of about 6 500 towers as it moves to strengthen its balance sheet and preserve cash to weather a deep recession brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand for towers could rise as South Africa starts to roll out a 5G network. Pictured here is the iconic Telkom Tower, in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, which was developed during a very different era and when Telkom’s predecessor, the Department of Post and Telecommunications, was the only game in town.
Photo by Bloomberg
TOWER TALKS: Telecommunications group Telkom is exploring possible deals for its portfolio of about 6 500 towers as it moves to strengthen its balance sheet and preserve cash to weather a deep recession brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand for towers could rise as South Africa starts to roll out a 5G network. Pictured here is the iconic Telkom Tower, in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, which was developed during a very different era and when Telkom’s predecessor, the Department of Post and Telecommunications, was the only game in town.

CRITICAL MINERAL

26th June 2020 Automotive manufacturers globally are seeking to reduce the use of cobalt in the production of their electric vehicles, owing to concerns that its extraction has been associated with human rights abuses. Nevertheless, with big global expansion plans, electric-car pioneer Tesla will need to secure... 

CRITICAL MINERAL

LOST EXPORTS

19th June 2020 Agriculture is one of Africa’s most important economic sectors, making up 23% of the continent’s gross domestic product. Africa’s exports of food and agricultural products are worth between $35-billion and $40-billion a year and, in sub-Saharan Africa, farming provides work for nearly 60% of the... 

LOST EXPORTS

NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE

12th June 2020 Protests erupted across the US this month following the agonising and filmed death of George Floyd. Floyd succumbed to asphyxiation when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held him down during an arrest by using his knee on Floyd’s neck and back for nearly nine minutes. Some of the protests... 

NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE

STIMULUS WHILE DISTANCING

5th June 2020 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, centre, has proposed a fiscal stimulus package of €750-billion for Europe to help overcome what is being described as the deepest recession in living memory. Von der Leyen made the proposal during a meeting in the hemicycle of the European... 

STIMULUS WHILE DISTANCING

BE PREPARED

29th May 2020 While South Africa’s grade 7 and 12 learners are set to return to some form of contact learning from June 1, it will most definitely not be teaching and learning as normal. To build the confidence needed to begin phasing in the other grades, schools are going to have to institute entirely new... 

BE PREPARED

NO MASKING HUNGER

22nd May 2020 South Africa’s R500-billion support package will help to reduce the economic distress precipitated by government’s entirely justifiable response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is wholly insufficient, however, to entirely alleviate the economic pain and close a gaping social-welfare gap that was... 

NO MASKING HUNGER
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