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Economy News

Imperial’s new academy to help dent 
shortage of auto technicians

By: Darren Parker     31st July 2009 Motor vehicle dealer Imperial Holdings officially opened its R24-million Technical Training Academy in Germiston earlier this month. 

Producer price inflation fell by record 4,1% in June

By: Creamer Media Reporter      30th July 2009 South Africa’s producer price inflation (PPI) declined by a record 4,1% in June, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Thursday, with an analyst saying that the PPI would likely continue on a deflationary trend for the rest of the year. The June PPI was 1,1% lower than the 3%... 

Union declares wage dispute with Murray & Roberts

By: Chanel de Bruyn     29th July 2009 The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday announced it had declared a wage dispute with engineering, contracting and construction service company Murray & Roberts (M&R). The union is demanding a 15% wage increase, while the firm has offered only 9%. 

Economy to contract by 2% in '09, no further rate cuts seen – BER

By: Mariaan Webb     28th July 2009 South Africa’s economic growth is expected to contract by 2% this year – the country’s weakest performance since 1992, the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) said on Tuesday. However, the country, which entered its first recession in 17 years this year, could expect “fairly muted” economic... 

SA weathering recession ‘quite well’ – Fitch

By: Sapa     27th July 2009 South Africa is weathering the global recession and credit crunch "quite well" compared to its rating peers, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday. This was despite its predictions that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) would fall one to two percent this year, it said in a statement. 

RheinMetall Denel Munitions laying off 210 workers – union

By: Creamer Media Reporter      24th July 2009 Labour union Solidarity has rejected a move by defence firm RheinMetall Denel Munitions (RDM) to retrench 210 employees, saying this was “unfair dismissal”. The union reported on Friday that RDM, which was established in September last year when Germany’s Rheinmetall bought a 51% stake in the... 

Downturn brings about remuneration rethink

By: Dennis Ndaba     24th July 2009 The economic downturn is putting paid to the spiralling salaries, three-to-six-tier bonuses and incentive schemes that became the norm in the context of the longest economic growth period the world has known, says Landelahni Business Leaders CEO Sandra Burmeister. 

New tax website to help with strategic planning

By: Darren Parker     24th July 2009 Tax experts Deloitte announced last week that continued professional development (CPD) hours for chartered accountants (CAs) and tax practitioners can be accumulated through the use of the company’s new Tax Management Consulting (TMC) website. 

Thousands of nominations 
pour in for teacher awards

By: Darren Parker     24th July 2009 The polls have closed and the first batch of nominations has been counted for the Telkom Educator of the Year Awards, aimed at recognising and rewarding the best maths, science and technology educators in South Africa. 

NUM members picket outside Eskom head office  

By: Chanel de Bruyn     23rd July 2009 The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said thousands of its members had held a lunchtime picket outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park and other Eskom regional offices, to remind the utility of its wage increase demands. The NUM, Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of South... 

Deputy Minister Ntuli urges investors to help SA reach job creation goal  

By: Christy van der Merwe     21st July 2009 The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) needed assistance from investors, both inside South Africa and outside the country, if the government was to reach its goals of job creation and halving poverty by 2014, Trade and Industry deputy Minister Bongi Maria Ntuli said on Tuesday. 

SA firms urged to evaluate approach to emerging economies  

By: Chanel de Bruyn     20th July 2009 South African companies would have to make conscious strategic decisions in terms of how they deal with the emerging economies of the world, Frontier Advisory CEO Dr Martyn Davies said on Monday, noting that local firms were comfortable in doing business with the English-speaking world, but not... 

New energy efficiency learning hub launched

By: Darren Parker     17th July 2009 Global energy management company Schneider Electric has announced the debut of Energy University, a vendor-neutral, online educational community that provides the fundamentals needed to implement successful energy efficient solutions scaling various applications.


New Minister wants greater higher education 
and training choice 

By: Darren Parker     17th July 2009 The Department of Higher Education and Training will, towards the end of this year, be finalising a draft White Paper proposing a range of measures to enhance and expand training and further and higher education opportunities, Higher Education and Training minister Blade Nzimande said in his... 

SA freight volumes not expected to recover for many months yet

By: Terence Creamer     17th July 2009 Road and rail freight volumes have declined markedly over the past year, with neither South Africa’s monopoly rail operator nor the country’s road hauliers anticipating a recovery any time soon. South Africa’s Fifth State of Logistics survey, released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial... 

Botswana signed controversial deal with EU to protect its commercial interests 

By: Christy van der Merwe     16th July 2009 Botswana's decision to sign an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (I-EPA) with the European Union (EU) earlier this year did not pose a threat to the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and was based on the country's need to protect its immediate commercial interests, Botswana's Trade and... 

Tribunal chair concerned about competition in SA economy

By: Christy van der Merwe     15th July 2009 “I am not happy with the state of competition in South Africa – it is an area to be viewed with considerable concern,” said Competition Tribunal chairperson David Lewis on Wednesday. Addressing delegated gathered at the Neotel and Mail & Guardian business breakfast in Rosebank, he added that... 

Construction workers to return to work on Thursday 

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     15th July 2009 Striking construction workers would return to work on Thursday morning, after more than a week of protest action over a wage dispute, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday. This comes as unions and the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) reached... 

Government launches expenditure review in bid to seek out savings 

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African government would undertake a "comprehensive review" of its expenditure in a bid to identify savings and reprioritise spending in light of falling revenues and rising expenditure, The Presidency's policy unit head Joel Netshitenzhe reported on Tuesday. However, speaking at the... 

SA's project pipeline needs urgent replenishment, Manuel asserts 

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African government, which had placed infrastructure expenditure at the heart of its response to the global economic crisis, warned on Tuesday that the country was at risk of running into a "a procyclical trough" within the next year unless new projects were identified to replenish the... 

SA won’t veer from price-stability course 'just because it’s difficult'  

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African Constitution ultimately set the mandate for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to maintain price stability and this objective could not be abandoned simply because it was difficult to achieve, Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel asserted on Tuesday. 

Highveld will also raise some steel prices in August

By: Terence Creamer     13th July 2009 South Africa's second-largest steel producer Highveld Steel & Vanadium would join its larger rival, ArcelorMittal South Africa, in raising steel prices as from the start of August, having refrained from doing so in July. Engineering News Online has learned that Highveld would increase prices on... 

Construction strike in sixth day, unions to meet Safcec on Tuesday

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     13th July 2009 The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday that it was finalising the draft document outlining its remaining concerns, before handing the document to the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) on Tuesday. This came after the unions and Safcec reached a... 

Safcec optimistic workers will accept deal to end strike  

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     10th July 2009 The South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) said on Friday that it remained optimistic that employees would accept the framework agreement that was drafted on Thursday, despite reports that some workers had rejected the proposals. Safec and labour unions had reached a... 

Automation group opens new Midrand training college

By: Darren Parker     10th July 2009 Automation and control company Honeywell has opened its Automation Training College at its head office in Midrand, Johannesburg. 

Better use could be made of offsets 
to boost development, specialist asserts

By: Darren Parker     10th July 2009 There are significant opportunities for furthering and enhancing various levels of development in South Africa through countertrade,consultant Johan van Dyk argues, citing the already running defence industrial participation (Dip) and national industrial participation (Nip) programmes as a good... 

Construction workers continued with strike action on Thursday

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     9th July 2009 Strike action by some 70 000 construction workers continued for a second day on Thursday, as South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) and unions were meeting with the Labour Minister to bring an end to the industrial action, which threatens to delay a number of 2010... 

Construction sector strike could damage investor confidence – Sacci

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     9th July 2009 The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Thursday expressed its concern over the impact that the construction strike would have on the country’s economy and the perception of investors in the local business environment. “Strikes are used as an instrument of influence too... 

‘Rigid' application of inflation targeting a ‘costly mistake', Stiglitz avers  

By: Terence Creamer     8th July 2009 Nobel prize-winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz reiterated his stance that the "rigid" application of inflation targeting by central bankers had contributed to the onset of the current economic crisis and that containing inflation needed to be balanced with other concerns, such as sustaining... 

Safcec, unions to meet Labour Minister on construction strike  

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     8th July 2009 Labour unions and the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) would meet with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana on Thursday to discuss a possible solution to the nation-wide strike. “We will go there with an open mind. We are open to explore areas of settlement,”... 

S&P's could lift Eskom watch soon, but wants finality on guarantees

By: Terence Creamer     7th July 2009 International credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P's) said on Tuesday that it would remove power utility Eskom from ‘CreditWatch' as soon as it had certainty on the execution of the R176-billion government-guarantees package - a development which it anticipated would take place within... 

SA’s low savings rate worrying – Nene 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     6th July 2009 While South Africa’s gross savings as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 17,1% in the first quarter of this year, the country’s historical low rate of saving was worrying, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday. Speaking at the launch of Savings Month, Nene... 

From wind to fuels, IDC mulling big energy-economy role 

By: Terence Creamer     6th July 2009 South Africa's State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) expects to become increasingly active in the energy milieu, both as a partner to independent power producers (IPPs), as well as a financier of mega transport fuel projects. CEO Geoffrey Qhena tells Engineering News that its... 

Construction strike judgement expected on Monday

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     3rd July 2009 The South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) said on Friday that judgement regarding its interdict against the proposed construction strike on July 8, would be handed down on Monday. Speaking to Engineering News Online, Safcec spokesperson Joe Campanella said that... 

Analyst sees no sign of big 
policy shifts in the short term

By: Leandi Kolver     3rd July 2009 No major policy changes were expected in the near future, the University of Witwatersrand Graduate School of Public and Development Management political scientist and professor of public policy Susan Booysen said at the recent Economic Outlook conference held in Johannesburg. Instead, the... 

Westinghouse showcases localisation models 
as South Africa mulls nuclear-energy restart

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2009 Nuclear equipment vendor Westinghouse Electric Company has been using the “quiet time” associated with what appears to be South Africa’s temporary step-back from a major nuclear-energy investment programme to showcase its technology-transfer and localisation successes in Asia.

In a recent... 

IDC has already spent R800m to aid distressed firms, confirms R6,1bn bail-out budget

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2009 The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) confirmed on Wednesday that it had already spent more than R800-million to assist "distressed" companies affected by the domestic economic slowdown, and confirmed that it had set aside a total of R6,1-billion for the next two years to assist others... 

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