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Economy News

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... 

State spending growth to moderate as revenues fall, interest costs rise

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2009 South Africa’s low debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio meant that government could maintain its present spending levels and increase its borrowings, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. But, speaking in the National Assembly, he said that a lower tax-revenue intake, together... 

Infrastructure spend to limit SA’s economic slide, but 1,9% contraction still likely for 2009 – Absa Capital

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2009 Infrastructure spending by government and State corporations, which was expected to rise to nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal year, would prevent what would otherwise have been an even larger slide in growth. But, Absa Capital research head Jeff Gable said on Wednesday that... 

SA should have ‘courage’ to raise tariffs to prevent de-industrialisation 

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2009 South Africa should have the “courage” to increase tariffs where there is evidence to show that this would prevent the destruction of the economy’s productive capacity and where such remedies were in line with South Africa’s international trade commitments, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob... 

Transnet leans towards localisation over accelerated delivery in diesel loco tender

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2009 State-owned freight logistics group Transnet was weighing up pricing, timing and localisation imperatives as part of its intensive evaluation of a so-called “urgent” tender process for the procurement of 100 diesel locomotives, while indicating that an award is now “imminent”. The tender, which... 

Liquidations rose by 36% in first five months of ’09

By: Chanel de Bruyn     29th June 2009 The number liquidations in May increased by 6,8% year-on-year to 283, while the total number of liquidations recorded between January and May had now increased to 1 640, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Monday. This 36,8% increase over the past five months was owing to a 39,1%... 

Nersa says it cannot issue new guidelines to limit municipal power hikes 

By: Terence Creamer     29th June 2009 The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) indicated on Monday that it would not draft new guidelines for the country’s municipalities directing them to pass on only justifiable electricity-price increases once the recently approved Eskom increase came into force as from Wednesday,... 

Manuel promises planning ‘nerve centre’, not gatekeeper

By: Terence Creamer     24th June 2009 The Green Paper detailing the “precise role and function” of the Planning Ministry and National Planning Commission, headed by former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, would be released for discussion by the end of July. Addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday, Manuel said the planning... 

Funding gaps could lead to curtailment of Eskom projects – Hogan 

By: Terence Creamer     23rd June 2009 Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan warned on Tuesday that Eskom’s build programme, which was viewed as central to the South African government’s mitigating response to the prevailing economic crisis, could be curtailed and/or rephased, unless funding shortfalls could be covered by either... 

Nonfarm jobs fell by 2,1% in Q1 – Stats SA

By: Chanel de Bruyn     23rd June 2009 The number of people employed in the formal non-agricultural business sector in South Africa declined by 2,1% or 179 000 people in the first quarter of 2009, Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA’s) Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) survey shows. At the end of March 2009, 84 000 less people... 

Accommodation shortages a worry for Blatter ahead of 2010 event  

By: Terence Creamer     22nd June 2009 A shortage of accommodation, particularly in some of the smaller 2010 host cities, such as Bloemfontein, had emerged as FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s main concern ahead of the international football tournament, which will kick off in June next year. Speaking at a function organised by the South... 

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