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Trade News

Distell welcomes opening up of sector, but calls for clarity on key concerns

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     26th May 2020 South African drinks company Distell Holdings has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country’s move to Level 3 of lockdown would include the sale of alcohol for home consumption under strict conditions. Ramaphosa confirmed that these conditions had not been finalised... 

AfCFTA to be continent’s main post-pandemic ‘stimulus’ lever  

By: Terence Creamer     25th May 2020 The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) represents the only realistic stimulus option available to resource-constrained African governments for reigniting growth in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, AfCFTA secretary-general Wamkele Mene avers. The global response to the virus had... 

AfCFTA to be continent’s main post-pandemic ‘stimulus’ lever
AfCFTA secretary-general Wamkele Mene on the impact of Covid-19 on the trade agreement and its role in reigniting growth across the continent. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

African economic integration still has a long way to go, reveals new report

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th May 2020 The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have jointly called for African countries to strengthen their economic integration. They made this call at the recent launch of the Africa Regional Integration Index... 

Trade and Industry Committee briefed on plans to reopen economy

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     22nd May 2020 The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry was on May 22 briefed by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition about measures taken by the department in response to Covid-19’s impact on various industries. The department told the committee that the national lockdown has served its... 

Tribunal confirms another excessive pricing consent agreement

By: Donna Slater     22nd May 2020 The Competition Tribunal has approved a consent agreement relating to the alleged excessive pricing of face masks in the context of Covid-19, with two related companies to jointly pay an administrative penalty of R1.5-million.

The companies, Sicuro Safety and Hennox Supplies, have also... 

Council accelerates online services amid lockdown

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has forced home building industry regulator the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to review its business operations by fast-tracking its online service offering following the national lockdown. 

Council accelerates online services  amid lockdown
OTSILE MASENG Covid-19 and subsequent economic downgrades by rating agencies will result in a sharp decline in domestic demand for residential properties

Pandemic, economic challenges to shape industry direction

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 Industry trends are likely to take a new direction because of the global Covid-19 pandemic and a severely constrained local economy, says steel and value-added steel products merchandiser and distributor Macsteel. 

Pandemic, economic challenges to shape industry direction
MIKE BENFIELD The construction and steel sectors – including the larger manufacturing industry – are “hand-in-glove”

Built-environment growth a focus for regulator

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has its sights set on accelerating growth in and strengthening its partnerships with the construction sector. 

Built-environment growth a focus for regulator
TOWING THE LINE The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications’ National Building Regulations division assists with the upkeep of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act

Pandemic heightens existing construction sector woes

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 Challenges in the construction sector will continue to prevail if construction sites remain closed, owing to South Africa’s national lockdown, says Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) president Christelle Bown. 

Pandemic heightens existing construction sector woes
CHRISTELLE BOWN It is important to address the difficulties caused by the onerous conditions prescribed when tendering for professional services

Sector increasingly adopting digitalisation

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 Technology provider ABB Southern Africa believes that digitalisation can address the production challenges of the sugar industry. 

Sector increasingly adopting digitalisation
JOHN MANUELL The full potential of sugar production processes lies in leveraging available data to drive the seamless interoperability among people, assets and production processes

Lifting of cigarette sale prohibition will improve tobacco farming economics

By: Donna Slater     21st May 2020 If the ban on cigarette sales is lifted, tobacco farmers supported by the Emerging Farmer Initiative will benefit enormously, enabling them to sell and duly process crops that have already been harvested, says agricultural services company Afgri. The organisation notes that permitting cigarettes... 

Hudaco unlikely to pay dividend as Covid-19 impacts businesses

By: Donna Slater     21st May 2020 Branded automotive, industrial and electronic consumable product importer and distributor Hudaco reports, that despite business disruptions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, its business remains in a sound financial position, with payments still being made to its creditors on negotiated... 

CFOs in Africa take steps to provide safe working environments for their employees

By: Donna Slater     21st May 2020 As governments in Africa ease lockdown restrictions and reopen local economies, CFOs are focusing on plans to provide a safe working environment for their employees and ensure that this safety can be sustained throughout the Covid-19 crisis and recovery. This deduction comes from the latest 'the... 

CFOs in Africa take steps to provide safe working environments for their employees
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
PwC Africa CEO Dion Shango

Masondo reiterates projections of economic downturn, increased demand on health services

By: Simone Liedtke     21st May 2020 While difficult to predict what the South African economy will look like post-Covid-19, Deputy Finance Minister Dr David Masondo has warned that citizens can expect a 6% contraction in economic growth this year, alongside an increased demand on health services and infrastructure. Speaking during... 

Masondo reiterates projections of economic downturn, increased demand on health services
Photo by Screenshot taken during webinar by Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Deputy Finance Minister Dr David Masondo

Itac aligns its permitting services with lockdown level regulations

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th May 2020 Following the easing of the national lockdown to Level 4 since May 1, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) has scaled up its operations accordingly. With the gradual opening of some sectors, Itac will, as far as possible, provide import and export control,... 

Massmart reports lower sales owing to Covid-19

By: Simone Liedtke     18th May 2020 South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown had a significant impact on normal trading patterns for wholesale and retail group Massmart, with total sales for the 19 weeks ended May 10, amounting to R28.2-billion, or 11.9% lower than the same period last year. Comparable store sales for this period were... 

Planned move to Level 3 lockdown positive, but longer-term foresight urgently needed

By: Donna Slater     18th May 2020 The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) reports that its constituencies are working sectorally and collectively to migrate South Africa to Level 3 of the national lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on May 13, stating that lockdown regulations would be... 

Planned move to Level 3 lockdown positive, but longer-term foresight urgently needed
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso

Online platforms should adapt to ensure post-Covid-19 survival

By: Donna Slater     15th May 2020 With people around the world increasingly using Web-based platforms to communicate, buy, sell and otherwise inform themselves about current affairs, Accenture technology practice MD Kirtan Sita says such platforms need to prioritise and implement essential functions that come with this vital... 

Digital solutions can assist agricultural export sector during Covid-19

By: Donna Slater     15th May 2020 Technology that can be used by the agricultural industry plays an increasingly important role as has recently become evident in the efficiencies it can drive in the food industry as Covid-19 disrupts various businesses, says start-up tech business Agrigate One CEO Greg Whitaker. He says the... 

Covid-19 to result in contraction, increased instability and regionalism

By: Nadine James     15th May 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to result in increased geopolitical instability, recessions and a shift away from globalisation, speakers said during a May 14 webinar, titled 'Covid-19: Political And Geopolitical Risks', hosted by risk and industry research company Fitch Solutions. The speakers... 

As firms reopen and pandemic lingers, health and safety obligations rise

By: Nadine James     15th May 2020 By now, most people are aware of measures prescribed by the World Health Organisation to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, given the phased reopening of the South African economy, it is prudent to consider the health and safety protections afforded employees through existing... 

As firms reopen and pandemic lingers, health and safety obligations rise

Local procurement lags in public, private sectors

By: Mamaili Mamaila     15th May 2020 A prevailing issue facing the valves sector is the “poor attitude” to local procurement in the public and private sectors, says valves manufacturer RGR Technologies commercial director Ross Hunter. 

Local procurement lags  in public, private sectors
MAPPING THE WAY FORWARD RGR Technologies looks forward to slowly introducing three-dimensional printing into its processes to assist with the manufacture of valve parts

Valves maintenance still a challenge

By: Mamaili Mamaila     15th May 2020 Although demand for valves has increased over the past five years, maintenance costs, efficiency and valve service life are some of the challenges that companies face yearly, says coating technology specialist Thermaspray’s laser cladding manager Jordaan Lourens. 

Valves maintenance  still a challenge
IRREPLACEABLE SOLUTIONS The initial coating of new valves as well as their efficient repair results in fewer valve replacements

Proudly SA extends Covid-19 portal to include sanitisers, detergents and disinfectants

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th May 2020 Following the success of its online portal dedicated to matching supply and demand of locally manufactured fabric face masks, national campaign Proudly SA has extended the portal to include local producers of hand sanitiser, surface disinfectants and detergents. As South Africans gradually return... 

Lockdown hampers business and trade activity for April – Sacci

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th May 2020 The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) notes that trade conditions were badly affected in April as a result of the lockdown measures implemented to halt the spread of Covid-19. It notes that this called for extraordinary efforts by businesses to keep afloat. 

Commission refers face mask pricing cases to Tribunal for prosecution

By: Donna Slater     13th May 2020 The Competition Commission has referred cases against two major protective face mask suppliers to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.   Sicuro Safety and Hennox Supplies are said to have allegedly charged excessive prices for face masks, with the commission saying prices had increased... 

Samed urges vigilance in acquiring quality PPE

By: Donna Slater     11th May 2020 The outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa and the consequent rapid requirement for bulk personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, has led to an influx of PPE products from many suppliers and distributors, thereby raising quality and functionality concerns by the healthcare industry and, in... 

Commission warns retailers they'll have to substantiate reasons for cost increases 

By: Simone Liedtke     8th May 2020 Firms and retailers that are found to increase prices during the Covid-19 pandemic will need to substantiate why this is the case when approached by the Competition Commission, according to the commission’s chief economist James Hodge. While various factors are taken into account – such as... 

Commission warns retailers they'll have to substantiate reasons for cost increases
The Competition Commission’s James Hodge gives insight into how the organisation approaches the price regulation and excessive pricing situation in South Africa in its time of crisis. Video & Editing: Creamer Media’s Darlene Creamer.

Small business survey points to major relief only being likely at lockdown Level 2 or 1 

By: Donna Slater     6th May 2020 Findings from the Covid-19 National Small Business Survey, which was conducted after the Level 5 lockdown was eased to Level 4, point to continued stress experienced by small businesses coming out of Level 5 of the lockdown. The survey, which was released by the National Small Business Chamber... 

South Africa records stellar wine season – report

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     5th May 2020 South Africa’s 2020 wine grape crop will bring “exceptional” wines to consumers, following favourable conditions throughout the season, the South African wine industry’s yearly 'Wine Harvest Report 2020' shows. “Although it’s always important to take our diversity over ten wine grape growing... 

Tribunal dismisses price fixing, tender collusion case against Bloemfontein companies

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     4th May 2020 The Competition Tribunal has dismissed a case of alleged price fixing and collusive tendering against five Bloemfontein-based companies accused of colluding on a Free State Treasury tender to supply and deliver office stationery to provincial government departments in 2014. Catha Silkscreen... 

Famous Brands opens domestic delivery-only food services as lockdown restrictions ease

By: Donna Slater     4th May 2020 Branded food services franchisor Famous Brands has reopened a limited number of restaurants for delivery-only services across a broad geographical spectrum in South Africa in a phased programme, with effect from May 1. In terms of the Famous Brands international jurisdiction and in compliance... 

Tribunal approves consent agreement with fresh produce supplier

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     4th May 2020 A supplier of fresh produce in Kempton Park, Gauteng, has agreed to donate hand sanitisers to the Tembisa Provincial Hospital, after having been accused by the Competition Commission of charging excessive prices for hand sanitisers. In a consent agreement entered into with the commission,... 

African free trade deal launch unlikely this year - AfCFTA Sec Gen

By: Reuters     4th May 2020 A blockbuster African trade deal is unlikely to be implemented before early next year, an official said on Friday, after the disruption caused by the new coronavirus made the current July 1 deadline unworkable. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, told... 

Incentives needed to aid local energy tech

By: Mamaili Mamaila     1st May 2020 While there is an increased focus on local content across several South African industries, government could do more in terms of incentivising local manufacturing, says energy solutions company i-G3n co-founder and director Sydney Phakathi. 

Incentives needed  to aid local energy tech
NO FUSS WHATSOEVER i-G3n offers standard solutions that it can also tailor to suit the specific needs of every client

1.6m jobs set to be lost this year, Nedbank forecasts

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     30th April 2020 The Nedbank Group Economic Unit’s latest forecasts show that about 1.6-million jobs will be shed in the country this year. This compares with about 900 000 jobs that were lost after the global financial recession in 2008/9, it notes. 

Lockdown prohibitions unintentionally boosting criminal syndicates

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     30th April 2020 The bans on cigarette and alcohol sales have dramatically boosted the fortunes of criminal syndicates and even seen gangs expanding their activities into these markets as their regular criminal activities have been disrupted by the lockdown, Business Against Crime South Africa (Bacsa) has... 

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