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Economy News

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... 

‘Green Paper’ on role of planning commission soon – Manuel 

By: Terence Creamer     5th June 2009 A “Green Paper” would be presented to Parliament within the next few weeks outlining how South Africa’s new National Planning Commission, headed by the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Trevor Manuel, would fit into the government system. Speaking in Parliament on Friday,... 

New Treasury unit to probe public-procurement corruption 

By: Terence Creamer     5th June 2009 The National Treasury would establish a unit to monitor and investigate corruption in public procurement processes, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Friday. Speaking in Cape Town, Gordhan said that the unit would focus on both government employees and the private-sector involvement... 

Gordhan warns of spending limitations as tax revenues decline

By: Terence Creamer     5th June 2009 South Africa’s new Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan emphasised the need for continued fiscal prudence in an address to the National Assembly on Friday, asserting that there “will be limitations to what we can spend”, owing both to the effects of the global economic crisis and the fact that the... 

Omnia defends position in Competition Commission fertilizer probe

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th May 2009 JSE-listed chemical services company, Omnia on Wednesday said it noted the comment by the Competition Commission, linking it to the Sasol Nitro collusion investigation, which was heard at the Competition Tribunal. “Notwithstanding recent media reports, the grounds for our defence against the... 

Competition body confirms fresh fertiliser probe

By: Terence Creamer     20th May 2009 The Competition Commission is proceeding with a new investigation of possible anticompetitive behaviour in the fertiliser industry, the commission’s economist and divisional manager of policy research Dr Simon Roberts confirmed on Wednesday. Addressing a Competition Tribunal hearing into a... 

Sasol agrees to higher R250m fine after more fertiliser breaches are unearthed 

By: Terence Creamer     19th May 2009 Energy and chemicals group Sasol announced on Tuesday that, in line with an amended agreement reached with the Competition Commission, it had agreed to an even heftier fine of R250,68-million to settle competition breaches involving its fertiliser unit. Earlier, a fine of R188-million had been... 

Stats SA to report to Manuel not Gordhan

By: Terence Creamer     18th May 2009 In what is arguably the first significant confirmed shift in economic reporting responsibilities to take shape under the new government structure outlined by President Jacob Zuma on May 10, South Africa’s statistical agency, Statistics South Africa, or Stats SA, will soon begin reporting to The... 

Sasol to meet with Tribunal on R188m fertiliser settlement

By: Creamer Media Reporter      11th May 2009 Petrochemicals giant Sasol will meet with the Competition Tribunal next week to make submissions on a R188-million settlement it had agreed to with the Competition Commission last week, regarding uncompetitive behaviour in the fertiliser industry. The petrochemicals producer admitted to... 

Sasol to pay R188m fine to settle fertiliser cases

6th May 2009 Petrochemicals firm Sasol will pay a penalty of R188-million for contravening South Africa’s competition legislation by fixing prices in the fertiliser sector. This fine is the highest settlement reached with the Competition Commission to date, and is based on 6% of the turnover of the Sasol... 

Tribunal’s Lewis appointed chair of global competition group

By: Creamer Media Reporter      5th February 2009 South African Competition Tribunal chairperson David Lewis has been appointed interim chair of the International Competition Network (ICN) steering group. Lewis would take on the role until the next ICN yearly conference, to be held in Zurich, Switzerland, in June. “During my time as chair, I... 

Should we have inflation targeting?

By: Seeraj Mohamed     12th July 2002 South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor Tito Mboweni recently complained to Parliament’s finance portfolio committee that business, labour and the parastatals were showing little interest in keeping prices in check. 

Rate cut could boost fixed investment

19th June 2001 Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni’s announcement last week of a one percentage point cut in the repo rate is vitally important for South Africa’s real economy as it could significantly help boost gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) – that is investments into bricks-and-mortar... 

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