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CONFIDENCE SAPPING

By: Darlene Creamer     20th February 2015 South Africa’s weak economic performance is already making it hard for investors, domestic or foreign, to put money into expansionary projects. But add into the mix the country’s electricity instability, which appears set to be with us for some time, and the outlook becomes that much more bleak. 

CONFIDENCE SAPPING

OIL WINDFALL 

By: Darlene Creamer     13th February 2015 There is no question that consumers are enjoying a nice little windfall as a result of the dramatic fall in the oil price. But translating this short-term gain into sustainable benefits for households and the economy is easier said that done. 

OIL WINDFALL

DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE

By: Darlene Creamer     6th February 2015 The steep rise in unplanned outages from Eskom existing coal-fired fleet is a key reason for the return to load shedding. Until the State-owned utility recovers the performance of its existing power stations, even much needed new capacity will be insufficient to ensure supply stability. 

DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE

LABOUR CROSSHAIRS

By: Darlene Creamer     30th January 2015 Its too early to forecast what the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s new supply-chain-based organising model will mean for it, the future of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Cosatu affiliates on whose toes Numsa will undoubtedly tread. But the development... 

LABOUR CROSSHAIRS

HIGH NOON 

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd January 2015 President Jacob Zuma, who has avoided Parliament ever since the #paybackthemoney shouting match, is due to deliver his State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly on Thursday February 12. The tension is already building, with some expecting a Western-style showdown. Much is at stake,... 

HIGH NOON

TIME FOR SOLIDARITY

By: Darlene Creamer     16th January 2015 South African flag adapted and flipped in solidarity with the people of France. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

By: Darlene Creamer     12th December 2014 Nobody would disagree that 2014 has been a difficult year for South Africans. The economy underperformed, the electricity constraints became more visible than ever, and the industrial relations and political climate (notwithstanding a fairly successful election) was hostile to say the least. The... 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

STILL FRAGILE

By: Darlene Creamer     5th December 2014 South Africa's gross domestic product grew by an annualised 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter of 2014, from a revised 0.5% in the second. The recovery came amid still fragile investor confidence, the rebuilding of which will be vital if the South African economy hopes to close in on... 

STILL FRAGILE

TSUNAMI WARNING

By: Darlene Creamer     28th November 2014 As South Africans gear up for their summer holidays, calls for greater vigilance against criminality rise. But unless practical remedies are found to the country’s unemployment, poverty and inequality problems the ground remains fertile not only for crime, but also social instability. 

TSUNAMI WARNING

GLOOMY SHADOW

By: Darlene Creamer     21st November 2014 The South African economy simply failed to live up to expectations in 2014. And unless serious efforts are made to deal with chronic constraints – from electricity shortages and labour strife, to weak investor-confidence levels – the prognosis for 2015 will not be much better. 

GLOOMY SHADOW

NO LONGER BOREDROOMS

By: Darlene Creamer     14th November 2014 South Africans have become used to some quite colourful, even extreme, behaviour from their Parliamentarians. But the corporate boardroom can now no longer be considered a ‘boredroom’. Whether its PPC, HCI or South African Airways there is never a dull moment, it seems. 

NO LONGER BOREDROOMS

STILL A STRUGGLE

By: Darlene Creamer     7th November 2014 Some of the forward-looking indicators have turned positive for South Africa’s embattled manufacturers. However, there is no denying that conditions remain difficult. Domestic and international demand is still patchy and input and labour prices have increased materially. Some must be wondering... 

STILL A STRUGGLE

BINDING CONSTRAINT

By: Darlene Creamer     31st October 2014 There is little likelihood that South Africa’s electricity constraints will ease materially even after the first Medupi unit is introduced. In addition, a tariff hike of nearly 12.7% has been approved for introduction from April 1, 2015, with a possibility of more hikes, despite a recent... 

BINDING CONSTRAINT

FISSION & FRICTION 

By: Darlene Creamer     24th October 2014 The outcry over the Department of Energy’s agreement with Rosatom was more about a perceived breach of process than about nuclear energy as a technology. But the opponents to nuclear are gearing up for stout resistance, which is likely to only truly come to the fore once a preferred site is... 

FISSION & FRICTION

DIFFICULT EQUATION

By: Darlene Creamer     17th October 2014 Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will have his task cut out for him when he presents the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on October 22. It’s going to be a tall order indeed to align rising fiscal demands and weak revenue flows without proposing new tax increases. 

DIFFICULT EQUATION

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WASTE

By: Darlene Creamer     10th October 2014 Admittedly, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has been able to show material progress in dealing with irregular expenditure at the Department of Public Works (DPW) over the past five years. However, citizens are justified in regarding DPW as the ‘Department of Public Waste’, especially after... 

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WASTE

FAREWELL

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd October 2014 The announcement that Gill Marcus would be stepping down as South Africa’s first woman governor of the South African Reserve Bank came as a surprise and was also associated with a fall in the rand. The reason? Marcus was seen to be doing a good job, having used her term to improve the level of... 

FAREWELL

UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIP

By: Darlene Creamer     26th September 2014 South Africa, correctly, wants to stem deindustrialisation and raise output from its manufacturing sector. However, an inverse relationship seems to have developed between manufacturing output, which fell again last month, and the ever-loudening calls for industrialisation. Let’s hope it ends soon. 

UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIP

NUCLEAR FRICTION

By: Darlene Creamer     19th September 2014 State-owned power utility Eskom is adamant that its procurement processes for the replacement of six steam generators at its Koeberg nuclear reactor in the Western Cape were fair, transparent and equitable. It has, thus, gone ahead and awarded the R4.3-billion contract to Areva, of France. But... 

NUCLEAR FRICTION

STILL FALLING

By: Darlene Creamer     12th September 2014 New-vehicle sales declined by 1.4% to 55 722 units in August, compared with the same month in 2013. The outlook for the South African automotive sector for the balance of 2014 is also expected to remain challenging, owing to a combination of low economic growth, recent increases in interest rates... 

STILL FALLING

FAILING THE FUTURE

By: Darlene Creamer     5th September 2014 For years, government has been promising to deal with the country’s inadequate school infrastructure. Sadly, though, the gaping divide between rich and poor schools persists. Too many South African children are still left to learn at facilities that lack the very basics, such as classrooms, desks... 

FAILING THE FUTURE

HANDLE WITH CARE

By: Darlene Creamer     29th August 2014 South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has to navigate some treacherous obstacles as he seeks to help restore confidence in the country’s underperforming economy. However, his recent admission that domestic problems lie at the heart of many of the current problems at least means that he... 

HANDLE WITH CARE

STRONG SIGNAL

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd August 2014 There may be much debate about the effectiveness of the latest round of sanctions imposed on Russia following the shooting down of Flight MH17 in July. However, there seems to be less debate about the need to send a strong signal to Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, over Russia’s... 

STRONG SIGNAL

BACK TO BASICS

By: Darlene Creamer     15th August 2014 The recommendations contained in the Department of Basic Education’s Ministerial Task Team Report on the National Senior Certificate appear to be sensible and sound. The emphasis given to improving the quality of teaching in the area of English, mathematics and science is also laudable. However,... 

BACK TO BASICS

E-TOLL SPEED BUMPS

By: Darlene Creamer     8th August 2014 While Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s e-toll review panel may not have much formal power (the South African National Roads Agency Limited is a State-owned company falling under the national Department of Transport and e-tolling was sanctioned by Cabinet), it has the potential to add a new... 

E-TOLL SPEED BUMPS

7/17

By: Darlene Creamer     1st August 2014 It is possible that July 17, 2014, will go down in history as one of the most horrific and miserable of the 21st Century. Besides the outrageous shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, it was also the day that Israel decided to move ground forces... 

7/17

FOUR-STAR DURCH TECHNIK

By: Darlene Creamer     25th July 2014 Germany was the big winner on and off the pitch at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The kits of both finalists were German, most of the boots were German (although the goal scorer, Mario Gotze, wore Nike footwear) and even the ball was engineered in Germany. It was a powerful display of the... 

FOUR-STAR DURCH TECHNIK

UNHAPPY REALITY

By: Darlene Creamer     18th July 2014 It’s an old one, we know, but many wish Bafana Bafana had as many strikers as South Africa’s trade unions. It's a worrying leadership position to have and the unacceptable violence and intimidation associated with domestic strikes is seriously damaging the country’s image as a stable and... 

UNHAPPY REALITY

NEW TOYI-TOYI

By: Darlene Creamer     11th July 2014 Former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative Lindiwe Zulu knows one or two things about the toyi-toyi. But the newly appointed Small Business Minister now wants the energy that used to be channelled into protest action and songs to be directed towards a new national imperative: enterprise development. 

NEW TOYI-TOYI

NEW STYLE

By: Darlene Creamer     4th July 2014 The appropriateness of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) attire and use of language in Parliament can and will be debated at length. But the party has definitely introduced a new sense of style and the EFF’s headgear is, unquestionably, adding much colour to Parliamentary hat stands.... 

NEW STYLE

OWN GOALS

By: Darlene Creamer     27th June 2014 South African officialdom is finally beginning to wake up to the fact that domestic rather than global factors are behind much of the economy’s current low-growth predicament. The number of own goals scored in recent months is surely unlikely to be matched during the month-long Word Cup 2014... 

OWN GOALS

PLATINUM PRICE TAG

By: Darlene Creamer     20th June 2014 Besides the devastating price paid by the striking platinum workers and their families, the economic costs to South Africa have also been extremely high. It should also not be forgotten that the strike has come with less tangible costs in the form of falling investor and business confidence.... 

PLATINUM PRICE TAG

THE ‘R’ WORD

By: Darlene Creamer     13th June 2014 South Africa’s new Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene remains hopeful that the South African economy can avoid recession in 2014. However, many of the indicators are far from positive and if the platinum strike is followed by labour-related disruptions in other sectors a job-destroying contraction... 

THE ‘R’ WORD

TINA’S INBOX

By: Darlene Creamer     6th June 2014 Tina Joemat-Pettersson is going to have her hands full as South Africa’s new Energy Minister. There is much to do and very little time in which to do it. She will have to get her head around the portfolio incredibly fast so that critical decisions and actions can be taken to stabilise the... 

TINA’S INBOX

IN CONTRAST

By: Darlene Creamer     30th May 2014 The reaction of business to Narendra Modi’s election victory in India has been decidedly more positive than has been the case with the African National Congress’ win. Some argue that relations have deteriorated over the past five yeas and that President Jacob Zuma will need to make a concerted... 

IN CONTRAST

POLITICAL DISHARMONY

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd May 2014 South Africans have become accustomed to battles within the governing alliance of the African National Congress, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party. However, the Democratic Alliance has proved in recent weeks that it’s not immune to factionalism, as... 

POLITICAL DISHARMONY

SCOURGE CONTINUES

By: Darlene Creamer     16th May 2014 The figures are chilling, but also somewhat numbing. Year to date, around 300 rhinos have already been killed. In 2013, more than 1 000 rhino were poached, up on the 668 and 448 killed during 2012 and 2011 respectively. Unless there is a breakthrough soon in both law enforcement and, especially... 

SCOURGE CONTINUES

MIXED MESSAGES

By: Darlene Creamer     9th May 2014 There is little question that the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative is gaining welcome attention. Still there are many worrying developments across the continent. Conflict in South Sudan and the Central African Republic provide a sobering reminder of the miserable reality in which many of Africa’s... 

MIXED MESSAGES

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