ECONOMY NEWS SOUTH AFRICA                                                                   31.03.2015


We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.’ – Winston Churchill

Black economic empowerment  at its best is a complex and sensitive issue, but the elephant in the room  race is the cause of huge discomfort and economic alienation and although discussed in private, is not dealt with openly and honestly.

However, if our nation wants to unite, progress and prosper, this issue has to be debated with brutal honesty; innovative and inclusive models have to be found.

I suffer from a fair amount of prejudice in a wide range of areas. I do not have all-pervading knowledge – very far from it; like all of us, my views are influenced by what I know. I can only strive to know and to understand more, but I will never be able to see the whole picture.

None of us will. Living in denial, though, remaining quiet for the sake of peace and safety, won’t bring me closer to the truth.

In addressing this issue, and since I am a so-called white , risk being called a racist and anti progressive . But for the sake of South Africa and all its people, I will take the risk.

This article has nothing to do with the empowerment of black people, but everything to do with forced business marriages, made for the wrong reasons – based not on a natural merging of talents, abilities and a shared vision, but forced upon business for purposes of short-term commercial gain, even survival. That is while history has taught us that sound decisions can never be based on skin colour.

This article is inspired by the increased challenges white owned small, medium and micro enterprises and family businesses are facing due to BEE demands in obtaining any form of business from larger companies, let alone the state – which to all practical purposes in respect of these businesses is now a dry pit.

The biggest potential job creator is effectively sidelined. The consequences are obvious.

The BEE scheme is designed for some to win and others to lose. The criterium is skin colour – similar to the pre-1994 arrangement. It is modelled on a similar evil, only with a different colour. This noble aim, the argument goes, is to correct the wrongs of the past.




We can all be winners                                                31.03.2015

“You do not strengthen your weakness by weakening your strength”, I once heard the cricket player Darryl Cullinan say. Marginalising one part of our population won’t place lasting wealth in the hands of others. We will never prosper unless the potential of all South Africans is unleashed and optimised.

South Africa will never experience sustainable prosperity if any of its people are structurally marginalised. Race-driven policies will remain a stain on this nation’s conscience, which inevitably will inhibit creativity, suppress productivity and prohibit overall economic growth.

We cannot ignore the past, but we will have to be much more innovative if we want to redress it. We will have to come up with a completely new model, not only use the flip side of that old coin as our point of departure – that completely unrealistic, obsolete and unrighteous old model.

Hard work and integrity is the only way to wealth. There’s no other way. Riches, in respect of those who desire it, can be obtained through other means with apparent good short-term results, but that is never sustainable.

After 20 years of democracy, South Africa is a much better place in many areas. There is so much counting in our favour. But we also find ourselves in huge danger. Right in front of our eyes we see, in a number of areas, how our country is failing. Our race-based policies play a huge part in these self-created challenges.

Tightening the screws in order to manufacture a particular result, to quicken the pace of race transformation, won’t solve any of these problems; instead, it will speed up the decline.

All is not lost yet, but bringing about real change, stimulating the economy, creating real jobs, bringing the poor and disenfranchised into the mainstream economy will require a new ideology, an inclusive approach and, above all, very strong leadership.

It’s up to us.


South Africa’s action plan to keep the lights on


South Africa’s so-called “energy war room”, established to address the country’s energy supply problems, was focused on implementing government’s five-point plan, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Tuesday.


The minister said this at a media briefing held by the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town, which he chairs.


The government has been hosting briefings on the implementation of government’s programme of action following President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on 12 February.

Nkwinti said the five-point plan entailed:


  • implementing Eskom’s maintenance and capacity improvement programme;
  • introducing new generation capacity through coal;
  • entering into co-generation contracts with the private sector;
  • introducing gas-to-power; and
  • accelerating demand side management.

In December last year, Cabinet announced that a war room had been set up following the power outages which were impacting on the daily lives of South Africans. The war room is made up of the departments of Energy; Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Public Enterprises; Economic Development; Water and Sanitation; the Treasury and Eskom; as well as technical officials.

The Government will provide R23-billion to Eskom in the next fiscal year to improve its finances to minimise load-shedding, Nkwinti said.

One of government’s objectives in the medium- to long-term included the diversification of the country’s energy sources, he said, and state-owned companies were “undertaking programmes to accelerate the exploration for oil and gas”.

A number of exploration wells would be drilled over the next 10 years in partnership with the private sector, and gas infrastructure would be expanded.

Efforts to diversify the energy supply would include importation of hydro-power and nuclear and renewable energy.


Women of the Black Mambas take on poachers


A group of South African women who are part of an anti-poaching unit are not afraid to man-up in a nature reserve. The Black Mambas are well-trained bobbies on the beat in the Olifants West Nature Reserve, and their success can be seen in the massive drop in snaring.

A group of 26 South African women is on a mission: to stop poaching so that their children and grandchildren are able to see Africa’s Big 5 in the wild.

Known as the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) of Transfrontier Africa, they protect the Olifants West Nature Reserve. It forms part of the Balule Nature Reserve, near Kruger National Park. It is not an easy job for them, because they work in a male-dominated environment.

Amy Clark, the project administrator at Transfrontier Africa, says the women have to endure the judgement of others while trying to prove themselves on the job. “Since the majority of our Mambas are mothers, they also have to leave their families behind for extended periods of time while on duty in the reserve.

“Former soldiers and old-school conservationists had doubts that the Mambas could effectively protect wildlife, but the success of our female mambas has triumphed over the scepticism,” she adds.

“I want my baby to see a rhino, that’s why I am protecting it,” one of the women, who is pregnant, told Grind TV.

Clark says the Mambas are fully qualified to carry out arrests. “Since the deployment of our first team in April 2013, we have, to date, assisted in the arrest of six poachers. However, our mission is not to catch poachers, but to prevent poaching altogether by early detection and visual policing.

“We do not measure our success on the number of poachers caught, but on the number of weeks free of any poaching-related incidents.”



Four scenarios food crisis in South Africa

Four scenarios were developed focusing on plausible threats to natural resources, food production, the impacts of the political economy and nutrition issues respectively.

Looking only at the first scenario – the one that deals with the natural resources on which we rely in order to produce food – we’re presented with some dire realities if increased warming and droughts develop as predicted.

Picture this scenario for a moment: increasing temperatures and droughts result in a crisis in water quality and quantity. This, of course, coincides with a crisis in energy supply, setting in motion a ripple-effect through interconnected ecological and social systems. Soils have been depleted, there is limited viable arable land, irrigation demand is growing and municipal infrastructure is ageing.

Poverty, inequality, high unemployment rates and household food insecurity form the social backdrop to this scenario. As a result of many of these factors, South Africa’s river systems take strain, which in turn impacts on agriculture.

Some potential results: the quality of export crops would be compromised by poor water quality; significant job losses would occur in the agricultural sector; honeybee species would become endangered, threatening crop pollination; state expenditure on food may be diverted to nuclear infrastructure to address the energy crisis; crop yields would decrease; drought conditions would push up the price of staple foods.

Higher food prices

None of the above is far fetched. In fact, some of this is already playing out with 2015 predicted to be an eight-year low in maize production due to drought. The knock-on effects of this include higher food prices in the short-term as the grain is a basic input for the production of red meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

The purpose of developing the food future scenarios was to prompt a more coherent conversation about an effective food system for South Africa. The scenarios help to identify the choices organisations and individuals can make now to adapt to anticipated challenges or to shape, together, the future of food in South Africa.


How the energy crisis impacts on food security in SA


In 2008, scores of South Africans responded in angry disbelief to calls to switch off their lights for an hour in WWF’s annual Earth Hour campaign.

In the midst of what was, at that point, the country’s worst ever energy crisis, the call to voluntarily dim the lights seemed ludicrous. Seven years down the line, and with Earth Hour round the corner on 28 March, the country faces a similar energy situation, with talk of loadshedding continuing for the next few years at best.

The difference is, this time round we know more. Increasing resource price inflation and volatility has highlighted the interconnected and interdependent nature of energy, water and food resources and the increased risk of resource-related shocks.

Crisis in the energy system can quickly have knock-on effects to the food system. For example, consider the impacts of loadshedding on both irrigation schedules and the cold chain in food transport in the African Continent.



Suntech Power, the manufacturer of solar products for residential, commercial, industrial and utility applications, has announced the opening of a warehouse in Cape Town, South Africa.


New facility will initially store 500kW of modules and will expand its storage capacity to 1MW later in 2015. Suntech established a full time presence in South Africa in 2014 as part of its expansion efforts in the African Continent.

“The opening of a local warehouse in Cape Town will allow Suntech to increase its sales capacity in South Africa, and in the South African development community, which serves as a free trade zone. We are also eliminating the effort involved in the PV modules shipping and importation procedure, which will help our customers to better plan their project schedules,” said Joey Zheng, regional director of Suntech’s Africa and South Asia markets.

“With a growing number of sales to larger scale projects, we will now be able to assure that all of our customers will have their products within 24 hours after purchase, whereas previously it took 40 days for modules to be delivered.