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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

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd May 2014 The release of the controversial blockbuster has ‘Noah’ coincided with the release of a number of new working group reports under the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They warn that greenhouse-gas emissions are accelerating and that, without more... 

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

CELEBRATE & REFLECT

By: Darlene Creamer     25th April 2014 The changes that have taken place in South Africa over the past 20 years are nothing short of remarkable. However, the country continues to be weighed down by many social and economic problems. As we celebrate our democracy, therefore, we also need to take time out to reflect on our weaknesses... 

CELEBRATE & REFLECT

QUANTITY & QUALITY

By: Darlene Creamer     18th April 2014 It was well known that Nigeria could surpass South Africa as Africa’s largest economy once its gross domestic product rebasing exercise was completed. As it happened, the populous West African country turned out to be considerably larger than its Southern African counterpart. But South Africa... 

QUANTITY & QUALITY

NO RIBBON

By: Darlene Creamer     11th April 2014 While President Jacob Zuma is doing much ribbon cutting in the run up to the May 7 poll, no ceremony is planned for his private residence at Nkandla, where around R246-million has been spent on ‘security’ upgrades. The Public Protector found that prices were inflated and rules and regulations... 

NO RIBBON

NATIONAL SHAME 

By: Darlene Creamer     4th April 2014 The Nkandla debacle is unlikely to lead to a change in leadership within the African National Congress, nor materially affect the May election result. But the blatant disregard shown for law, procedure and basic morality is shameful. It further erodes public confidence in government, its leaders... 

NATIONAL SHAME

MOBILE MISSIVES

By: Darlene Creamer     28th March 2014 Tensions are running high between South Africa’s mobile groups, with some of the animosity having boiled over in the form of open letters and hostile advertisements. But, surely, most South Africans would far prefer to see that energy and money being spent on better service levels and on... 

MOBILE MISSIVES

BLACKOUT BLUES

By: Darlene Creamer     21st March 2014 On Thursday March 6 Eskom began implementing load shedding for the first time since the crisis of 2008. The interruption caused shops to close, disrupted cellular networks and raised fresh concerns about the constraint being placed on South Africa’s already poor growth outlook by the country’s... 

BLACKOUT BLUES

COLD WAR ECHOES

By: Darlene Creamer     14th March 2014 The emergence of unidentified, yet Russian-linked, troops in Crimea, following a popular uprising against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, rattled Western politicians and global markets. It’s uncertain whether or not the Cold War-like intervention could set a precedent for a new pattern of... 

COLD WAR ECHOES

PUT-UPON

By: Darlene Creamer     7th March 2014 South Africa’s largest electricity consumers are becoming increasingly agitated at the fact that they are the first and only port of call when the power system becomes distressed, as it did in late February. Protocols are in place for Eskom to effectively demand that energy-intensive businesses... 

PUT-UPON

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