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Cartoon

MOOD LIFTER

By: Darlene Creamer     27th November 2015 Amid all the bad news and in the same week that lawmakers debated the controversial Protection of Investment Bill, BMW gave South Africans a much needed lift when it announced that it would invest R6-billion into the Rosslyn plant, in Gauteng, to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity... 

MOOD LIFTER

FEATHERS FLY

By: Darlene Creamer     20th November 2015 The long-standing disagreement between South Africa and the US over the ability of the American poultry industry to export chicken pieces to South Africa came to into sharp relief earlier this month when President Barack Obama announced that Africa Growth and Opportunity Act benefits would be... 

FEATHERS FLY

LAST STRAW

By: Darlene Creamer     13th November 2015 The South African economy is under tremendous strain. Growth has been weak ever since the 2008/9 global financial crisis and the country’s immediate economic prospects are weighed down by the deceleration in China, the associated fall in commodity prices, domestic electricity shortages and poor... 

LAST STRAW

GAPS EVERYWHERE

By: Darlene Creamer     6th November 2015 South Africa is facing funding shortfalls on an increasing number of fronts as tax revenues come under pressure and social demands rise. The most recent gap emerged when it was decided to hold back on university fee increases for 2016. But government is also having to scramble to cover... 

GAPS EVERYWHERE

HARD TIMES

By: Darlene Creamer     30th October 2015 Despite the obvious disjuncture between the scenes inside the Parliamentary chamber last week and those occurring on the streets outside, there was concurrence, at both events, on one theme: students want to pay less, as they and their parents or benefactors feel the pinch of an underperforming... 

HARD TIMES

ROCKY RIDE

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd October 2015 The South Africa economy undoubtedly faces its own specific domestic weaknesses; from the electricity shortfall and regional drought conditions to its educational backlogs and skills deficit. But the global environment is also far less favourable than was the case ahead of 2008 global financial... 

ROCKY RIDE

UNACCEPTABLE

By: Darlene Creamer     16th October 2015 The recent bombing by the US military of a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, can surely not be justified. MSF is correct to demand an independent investigation of what if views as a war crime. After more than 30 minutes of bombing, 12 MSF staff members and 10... 

UNACCEPTABLE

SHOCKING DECEPTION

By: Darlene Creamer     9th October 2015 The admission by German carmaker Volkswagen that it cheated emissions tests in the US by installing devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, has shocked the world. It is also likely to have a negative effect on diesel vehicles, which have hitherto been held up as... 

SHOCKING DECEPTION

IN THE CROSSFIRE

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd October 2015 South Africa’s school children are likely to be the real losers unless government and the teachers unions can breach the impasse on the annual national assessments. Both sides have good arguments. But in the end, the assessments are required to offer better visibility of the education system’s... 

IN THE CROSSFIRE

FLICKERS OF HOPE, BUT . . .

By: Darlene Creamer     25th September 2015 After around 100 days of load-shedding since November, South Africa has experienced relative calm in recent weeks. However, the tight system remains vulnerable to supply disruptions, as was the case recently when Eskom introduced rotational cuts after supply from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa... 

FLICKERS OF HOPE, BUT . . .

RAND RUCTIONS

By: Darlene Creamer     18th September 2015 There is no telling what the South African currency will be trading at by the time you see this cartoon. What is not in doubt, though, is that many South Africans are finding the rand’s decline against the dollar, the euro and the pound most disconcerting. Hopefully, exporters will tap into their... 

RAND RUCTIONS

STEEL STRESS

By: Darlene Creamer     11th September 2015 The South African steel industry is under major stress, with mills having already been shut and further plant closures on the cards. While government, industry and labour are at last singing from the same ‘survival’ hymn sheet, conditions are such that job losses are inevitable. The extent of the... 

STEEL STRESS

NENE ON NUCLEAR 

By: Darlene Creamer     4th September 2015 In a recent interview with Business Day, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene stressed that it was premature to pronounce on the affordability, or otherwise, of South Africa’s proposed new nuclear build programme. However, he was adamant, that if the programme was unaffordable, it could not be done. 

NENE ON NUCLEAR

PLANS VS. IMPLEMENTATION

By: Darlene Creamer     28th August 2015 The South African government is punting a nine-point plan to help lift growth and investment, which has slumped amid power and labour instability and falling commodity prices. What South Africans really want to see, though, is greater diligence with regards implementation. 

PLANS VS. IMPLEMENTATION

TAKING PAIN 

By: Darlene Creamer     21st August 2015 When Brian Molefe was still at Transnet, he insisted on converting the freight-rail utility’s coal-mining clients into take-or-pay customers. Now at Eskom, Molefe is finding out what it is like to be on the other end of a tricky take-or-pay contract, with the power utility paying over... 

TAKING PAIN

JOBS AT RISK

By: Darlene Creamer     14th August 2015 More than 20 000 workers at big South African enterprises have reportedly been placed on notice in recent weeks that they could face retrenchment. Such news would be devastating in any country. But the trauma is amplified in South Africa, where unemployment is rife and where having a job remains... 

JOBS AT RISK

EXPERT OPINION

By: Darlene Creamer     31st July 2015 The panel of experts appointed by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom had this to say about South Africa’s new visa rules: “The requirement of biometric visas and unabridged birth certificates is likely to have a real impact on the number of tourists that visit our country. While the intention behind... 

EXPERT OPINION

NUCLEAR OPTION

By: Darlene Creamer     24th July 2015 The Department of Energy (DoE) has indicated hat the procurement process for the acquisition of between six and eight nuclear reactors will kick off this month. The main concern, hitherto batted away by government, relates to the affordability of the programme. The DoE insists it can be financed... 

NUCLEAR OPTION

COLLAPSING CONFIDENCE

By: Darlene Creamer     17th July 2015 The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) business confidence index fell to a 16-and-a-half-year low in June. The Sacci publication followed hot on the heels of the release of the consumer-confidence print for the second quarter, which collapsed to a 14-and-a-half-year low.... 

COLLAPSING CONFIDENCE

SOME REPRIEVE

By: Darlene Creamer     10th July 2015 South Africans breathed a sigh of relief on June 29 when the National Energy Regulator of South Africa Nersa rejected Eskom’s application for a further 2015/16 tariff hike in addition to the 12.69% already granted for the year. However, the door has been left open for another approach, so we... 

SOME REPRIEVE

UNHAPPY TREND

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd July 2015 Whether justified or not, the trend of suspending State-owned company (SoC) executives is nevertheless unsettling. The latest SoC afflicted is embattled oil company PetroSA, where it was finally confirmed that CEO Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo and CFO Lindiwe Bakoro had been placed on “precautionary... 

UNHAPPY TREND

REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE

By: Darlene Creamer     26th June 2015 South Africa’s reputation as a beacon of hope for the world has been on the wane for some time. But the country arguably reached a new low in the eyes of the international community this month in it’s handling of President Omar al-Bashir visit. Why was he allowed to come in the first place? Why... 

REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE

FIFA-FICATION

By: Darlene Creamer     19th June 2015 The news flow surrounding FIFA and South Africa’s 2010 World Cup bid has been depressing to say the least. It has gone some way to undermine the warm feelings most South Africans still have towards the event, which some still contend was one of the best-run in the history of footfall. 

FIFA-FICATION

CONFIDENCE SAPPING 

By: Darlene Creamer     12th June 2015 The executive’s handling of the entire Nkandla debacle has been poor from the start. But it arguably reached a now low last month when Police Minister Nathi Nhleko presented an entirely unbelievable spin on the non-security components of the upgrade. The entire confidence-sapping scandal has not... 

CONFIDENCE SAPPING

ENERGY SAPPING

By: Darlene Creamer     5th June 2015 While South Africa was enduring more than 20 days of consecutive load-shedding in May, Africa’s largest economy was experiencing an economically debilitating fuel crisis. The Nigerian crisis arose over a disagreement between government and fuel wholesalers on payment for the differential between... 

ENERGY SAPPING

CLEAR AS MUD

By: Darlene Creamer     29th May 2015 Recent statements made by government and African National Congress leaders regarding possible private investment into struggling State-owned power utility Eskom were confusing to say the least – possibly deliberately so. But the bottom line is that government has a limited ability to inject... 

CLEAR AS MUD

HANDSHAKE REPUBLIC

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd May 2015 Recent high-profile settlements and resignations at the South African Revenue Service, South African Airways and the Hawks have led to some commentators questioning whether South Africa might not becoming a ‘golden handshake republic’. Such settlements may bring immediate stability, but their... 

HANDSHAKE REPUBLIC

NOT IN A GOOD SPACE

By: Darlene Creamer     15th May 2015 South Africa experienced its worst spate of load-shedding since 2008 in April and the early statistical releases in May suggest that the country’s electricity constraint is really starting to hurt. It was also leading contributor to yet another unhappy downgrade, to 2%, of the country’s 2015... 

NOT IN A GOOD SPACE

REAL PAIN

By: Darlene Creamer     8th May 2015 The recent trading update by aluminium-products manufacturer Hulamin gave worrying insight in the real financial costs of load shedding. First quarter output, the company said, had been impacted by electricity curtailments, with interim earnings set to fall by more than 20% as a consequence.... 

REAL PAIN

PLEASANT SURPRISE

By: Darlene Creamer     1st May 2015 Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson surprised on the upside last month in unveiling South Africa’s plans for the introduction of independent power producers. Besides an accelerated and expanded renewable-energy programme, she also gave a far clearer outline for the introduction of private coal... 

PLEASANT SURPRISE

UGLY & UNACCEPTABLE 

By: Darlene Creamer     24th April 2015 The violent attacks on foreign nationals in Durban provided an ugly reminder of the xenophobia that still lurks deep within the South African psyche. Overcoming this image-damaging scourge will require responsible and progressive-minded leadership of the highest order. Sadly, there is currently... 

UGLY & UNACCEPTABLE

ROADS CRUNCH

By: Darlene Creamer     17th April 2015 Uncertainty over South Africa’s approach to funding the newly improved Gauteng highway network can be seen every time Sanral attempts to raise debt on the capital markets. At some point (hopefully sooner rather than later), resolution has to be found to the current impasse. The longer it is left,... 

ROADS CRUNCH

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

By: Darlene Creamer     10th April 2015 South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago had this to say about the electricity situation, following the March meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee statement: “The outlook for the domestic economy remains overshadowed by the electricity supply constraint, which appears to have had... 

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

HERE WE GO AGAIN

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd April 2015 Eskom has confirmed that it is preparing an application for a reopener of the third multiyear price determination (MYPD3), under which five yearly tariff increases of 8% have been officially approved. The cash-strapped utility, which originally sought yearly increases of 16%, is looking to hikes... 

HERE WE GO AGAIN

WHAT CRISIS?

By: Darlene Creamer     27th March 2015 Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi explained away the situation at the troubled State-owned utility thus, after announcing the suspension of the newly appointed CEO and three other senior executives: “There is no crisis. I’ll say to you what the President said, that there is no crisis. I’ll tell you... 

WHAT CRISIS?

CAPEX CUTS

By: Darlene Creamer     20th March 2015 Like so many other energy companies, South African energy and chemicals group Sasol has been forced to realign its business to the new oil price reality. It has outlined a R30-billion to R50-billion cash-conservation programme, with capital-expenditure (capex) cuts making up the lion’s share. The... 

CAPEX CUTS

GROWTH WORRY

By: Darlene Creamer     13th March 2015 Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had little option but to walk the fiscal-consolidation talk when presenting his maiden Budget. However, too little emphasis was given to what could be done (outside of the Budget) to galvanise higher rates of growth, without which the problems of poverty,... 

GROWTH WORRY

POWER PLANS

By: Darlene Creamer     6th March 2015 Both the Western Cape and Gauteng have announced that they plan to raise non-Eskom electricity output. The two important economic centres realise that their growth ambitions will be seriously curtailed without reliable and affordable power. But to deliver it will be easier said that done. 

POWER PLANS

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