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Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell is Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor for Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Insurers endangering a whole economic sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st July 2020 Once upon a time, there were people who honestly thought that the South African private sector maintained higher standards of honesty and ethics than the country’s public sector. And then the Competition Commission, which was only created in 1998, began to blow the lid on bad corporate behaviour,... 

Small is beautiful, and could transform SA’s nuclear energy sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th May 2020 Early this month, while briefing Parliament, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe dropped a bombshell. He announced a commitment to develop a roadmap for a programme to build new nuclear power plants (NPPs) with a total capacity of 2 500 MW. But that wasn’t the bombshell. What was... 

The grim and terrible balancing act between fighting Covid-19 and protecting the economy

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th April 2020 Covid-19: anxiety is everywhere. We are all concerned about our friends and colleagues who are at high risk. And there is the stress of the lockdown itself. It is a darkly humorous thought that many couples are finding out just how strong their relationships, whether formal or informal, really... 

Covid-19 – it’s serious and things will never be the same again

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th March 2020 Talk about living in “interesting times”! Actually, these would be better described as extraordinary times. Coming to work on the morning I wrote this column, I found that the normal traffic had pretty much evaporated. What was normally a 90 or so minute commute took me 59 minutes (I timed it).... 

Does nuclear have a future in South Africa?

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th February 2020 Will South Africa ever build a new nuclear power plant (NPP)? Well, and I hope the revelation doesn’t ruin the dramatic flow of my narrative, I haven’t a clue. I don’t think anyone does. There is a lot of opposition to any such idea. Or, rather, there is a lot of opposition to the idea among... 

UK displays optimism about Africa’s future at summit

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st January 2020 January 20 saw the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, attended by representatives of 21 African countries, including the Presidents of Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda. That South African President Cyril Ramaphosa chose to pull out of the conference to focus on the country’s... 

Regulatory, financing snags curbing SA aviation

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th December 2019 The past few weeks have seen a series of important conferences in South Africa, as far as the aerospace and defence sectors are concerned. And the aerospace and defence sectors are a significant part of the country’s high-technology manufacturing industry. They were the 2019 Aeronautical Society... 

Guys, we’re really, really angry and we want action

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th September 2019 Earlier this month, I got caught up in a traffic jam, in Sandton. I was in my car on my way to an appointment. And the traffic had effectively halted. Progress involved inching forward, but with periods of no movement at all. I was on Grayston, coming up to Rivonia. And then I could see that... 

Back to the PBMR?

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th August 2019 On August 20, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe made some interesting comments to journalists, regarding future nuclear energy in South Africa. “It comes back to a resolution we took as a Government: not going big bang into nuclear, but going at a pace and price that the... 

The dragon is ageing, fast

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th July 2019 In my previous column, I explained that, contrary to the impression created by sloppy analysis and lazy use of terminology, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), while being one of the most powerful countries in the world, was not yet a Superpower. To reiterate, Superpower is a politico-military... 

The dragon is not as strong as is commonly thought

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th June 2019 There is a habit, among too many people, here and abroad, to lazily categorise China as a superpower, implying parity and balance vis-à-vis the United States. And yet the truth is that China is not a superpower – yet. It is true that, depending on how you calculate it, China has the second... 

SA Constitution not designed to handle hung Parliaments

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th April 2019 South Africa’s next general election will, provided no catastrophe intervenes, take place on May 8. That is only days away. Naturally, it is one of the dominant domestic stories in the media, with lots of news and analysis. So, under the circumstances, I am afraid I have no choice – I am going to... 

SA entering a very scary socioeconomic corner 

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th March 2019 Despite the concerns of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, South Africa’s 2019 budget saw a real-terms increase in Government spending. Gross national debt will increase to about 60% in the financial year (FY) 2023/2024 – a proportion that, apparently, excludes debt guarantees and other “contingent... 

All political roads lead to Rome – again

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th January 2019 One of the enduring political-cultural legacies of the French Revolution (erupted 1789) was the adoption of the political terminology, and the concomitant division of politics, into “left” and “right”. For nearly 200 years, these concepts had value. But for some time now they have clearly been... 

Explanations and experts

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th December 2018 Hi! I’m back. First of all, I don’t think I can just pass over the absence of my column during the last two months without a word of explanation. The explanations are quite simple: in October I was sick and in November I was on leave. Why take leave in November? To move house. I downsized from a... 

Musings on the local aerospace and defence industries

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th September 2018 Last week saw the latest edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, still the continent’s premier exhibition in this sector, attracting exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. And, naturally, drawing one’s thoughts to the state of the closely related but not identical aerospace and defence... 

MeerKAT highlights importance of funding

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th July 2018 The official inauguration of the 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope array in the middle of this month was a wonderful landmark in the history of both science and technology in South Africa. It marked the culmination of years of hard work and innovation by South African scientists and engineers, and,... 

Let’s get the questions right on police reform

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th June 2018 One of the striking things about South Africa is how little interest the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has shown in transforming certain key institutions the country. Oh, there have been big changes in personnel, yes, because the ANC has focused, and continues to focus, on demographic... 

Lost in space?

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th May 2018 Analysts say that the planet Earth’s rapidly-growing space economy could hit $600-billion by 2030 and $1-trillion by 2040. Clearly, the space economy, worth some $350-billion today, is growing rapidly.  

Syrian storm puts SA in uncomfortable company

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th April 2018 On April 7, Douma, in Syria, was subject to what appears to have been a chemical weapons attack. The Syrian Government has an independently-established (by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW) record of using chemical weapons in the current civil war, and against... 

Winter is coming – as the global Game of Thrones comes back to life

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th March 2018 There is a well-known slight misquotation of Karl Marx: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. In the past few weeks, in international relations, we have seen a novel variation on this theme: tragic and farcical diplomatic crises happening pretty much... 

Zuma is, alas, not an aberration

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd February 2018 Well, Jacob Zuma is no longer President of the Republic of South Africa, following his “recall” (in effect, order to resign) by his political party, the African National Congress (ANC). The raid on the Johannesburg home of his close associates, the Gupta brothers, on the morning of February 14... 

New year, new beginnings, new gender . . .

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th January 2018 Hi, and Happy New Year! You will no doubt have noticed a new bye-line and a new photo with this column. But the brain is the same, the knowledge is the same and the writing style is unchanged. But I am now Rebecca, no longer Keith. I am transgender or transsexual (I have no problem with either... 

Tax, spend, squander provide toxic backdrop for nuclear plans

By: Keith Campbell     24th November 2017 On November 7, France ran out of money. Or, rather, France ran out of its own money; that is, it ran out of all the money the French State had gathered in taxes and other imposts. Between November 7 and December 31, the French State is running on borrowed money. This fascinating calculation was... 

The unremarked threat

By: Keith Campbell     27th October 2017 Well, one must admit it was rather apposite timing. Only 12 or so hours after the closing of the country’s first Homeland Security Africa Conference (in Pretoria), gunmen in a car driving through the upper level passenger drop-off zone at Cape Town International Airport opened fire at a man who... 

Radical? Really?

By: Keith Campbell     29th September 2017 Roughly in the middle of this month (September), speaking on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting of his luxury goods businesses holding company, Switzerland-based Compagnie Financière Richemont, in Geneva, businessman Johann Rupert, generally regarded as South Africa’s richest man, said... 

America’s President needs to stand for American values

By: Keith Campbell     25th August 2017 The apparently never-ending culture wars in the US are ceasing to be depressing and becoming downright alarming, reaching a new low in the recent murderous terrorist-attack-by-vehicle in Charlottesville in the State of Virginia, which killed a young woman and injured some 19 other people. There... 

Rougher waters in the Indian Ocean while SA behaves like the ostrich

By: Keith Campbell     28th July 2017 To holidaymakers the Indian Ocean usually appears a balmy body of sea. But, over the horizon, out of sight, great political forces are moving across the ocean and its subsidiary seas and gulfs, creating rougher waters.  

Keep the dragon of inflation on its chain

By: Keith Campbell     30th June 2017 One of my most vivid memories is the time, years ago during the period of hyperinflation in Brazil, when my late wife (who was Brazilian) and I were on holiday in that country, and it came time to pay our hotel bill. In those days, there were no electronic credit card machines, just the... 

Down with State security! Long live national security!

By: Keith Campbell     26th May 2017 Why does South Africa have a Ministry of State Security? (The official South African Government website refers to it as a Ministry, although it is also officially referred to as a Department.) Let me make the question clearer: why does South Africa have a Ministry/Department of STATE Security? As... 

Independent agencies can have teeth and autonomy

By: Keith Campbell     28th April 2017 Some South Africans, with some knowledge of events in Brazil, have expressed a degree of envy at the successful impeachment, last year, of the President Dilma Rousseff. This was, in fact, the second time since the restoration of democracy in Brazil in 1985 that popular pressure has brought down a... 

Laptop bomb threat is real and expect restrictions to go global

By: Keith Campbell     31st March 2017 Just about 15 months ago, on February 2, 2016, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb onboard an Airbus A321 airliner of Daallo Airlines some 15 to 20 minutes after it took off from Mogadishu Airport. The bomb blew a roughly one square metre hole in the aircraft’s fuselage. Fortunately, it had been... 

Diplomatic doldrums for Pretoria?

By: Keith Campbell     24th February 2017 While much local media attention has been devoted to US President Donald Trump, there has been something that, from a South African perspective, was much more important. This was the outcome of the African Union summit at the end of January. This appears to have been pretty much a diplomatic... 

Post-Brexit Britain, like China, recommits to globalisation

By: Keith Campbell     27th January 2017 The speech delivered on January 17 by British Prime Minister Theresa May on her government’s negotiating objectives for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) – “Brexit” – contained nothing really surprising to anyone who has been paying attention to what she and her key relevant Ministers... 

The great autocrat

By: Keith Campbell     16th December 2016 One of the highest points of my career as a journalist happened, back in 1994, when I interviewed then Cuban President Fidel Castro, in Pretoria. He was attending the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. Castro was unquestionably a very impressive man. And there can be no doubt that, love... 

Trumped by the Hunger Games

By: Keith Campbell     25th November 2016 Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Now that we have US President-elect Donald Trump I feel entitled to remind you that, in my previous column, when many were assuming that rival candidate Hillary Clinton would triumph, I wrote "don’t fool yourselves – Trump could still win”. But I can only... 

The US faces an ‘interesting’ election and SA should be prepared

By: Keith Campbell     28th October 2016 Well, we are definitely living in interesting times, at home and abroad. China, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, has adopted a nationalist assertiveness in the East and especially South China Seas. Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, has been even more assertive, bringing the Crimea under... 

Reassurance in a stormy world

By: Keith Campbell     30th September 2016 After a review that lasted some two months, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant (NPP), which will be built by a partnership between France’s State-owned Électricité de France (EDF) and China General Nuclear Power (CGN), another... 

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