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Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer

Terence Creamer is the Editor of Engineering News and a Deputy Editor for Mining Weekly.

He also has editorial responsibility for Polity.org.za and Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Editorial Insight

Under pressure

By: Terence Creamer     7th August 2015 The sharp decline in commodity prices is already exacting an economic and social toll across South Africa. Companies in the mining and steel sectors have announced restructuring plans that could result in thousands of jobs being cut, while suppliers to commodity-linked companies are reporting... 

Worrying disconnect 

By: Terence Creamer     31st July 2015 A genuine disconnect has arisen between government’s rhetoric on public infrastructure the perceptions of the infrastructure practitioners, particularly those in the construction sector. Outside of government there is palpable disappointment with the country’s infrastructure performance, as well... 

Fair trade-off?

By: Terence Creamer     24th July 2015 The trade-off currently being considered in the steel industry is relatively straightforward. The country’s largest steel producer, supported by some smaller companies, is seeking greater protection from steel imports, as well as regulations stipulating that locally made steel be used in public... 

Taxing times

By: Terence Creamer     17th July 2015 With tongue firmly in cheek, political commentator JP Landman empathised strongly recently with an audience of mostly male professionals for having to bear the infuriating insistence of their fathers-in-law that the entire country was being kept solvent by a small group of only five-million,... 

It’s not over 

By: Terence Creamer     10th July 2015 So what did we learn from the recent rejection by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) of Eskom’s application for a further 2015/16 tariff hike over and above the 12.69% already granted for the year? Besides the obvious reprieve for cash-strapped South African consumers... 

South Africa’s outward FDI stock grows

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2015 Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to South Africa fell by over 31% last year to $5.72-billion, from $8.3-billion in 2013, the latest World Investment Report (WIR 2015) shows. The decline in what is known to be a volatile number, drawn from South African Reserve Bank (SARB) data, came amid a... 

Back to the future?

By: Terence Creamer     26th June 2015 The new operating philosophy outlined by acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe sounds very much like the much maligned ‘keeping the lights on’ policy pursued in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 crisis. The strategy is based on finding the theoretical ‘sweet spot’ that will enable the utility to... 

Some way to go yet

By: Terence Creamer     19th June 2015 The legal instrument governing the creation of the so-called Tripartite Free Trade Area (T-FTA) – encompassing 26 mostly Southern and East African countries – would be formally launched at the third Tripartite Summit being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this week. However, the actual tariff... 

Much more debt?

By: Terence Creamer     12th June 2015 Notwithstanding its recent downgrade to junk status, State-owned electricity utility Eskom is still planning to raise a whopping R66-billion in debt funding during 2015/16 to cover operational and capital expenditure (capex) shortfalls that will arise even after a government equity injection of... 

Shedding competitiveness

By: Terence Creamer     5th June 2015 South Africa slipped one position, from 52 to 53, in the latest world competitiveness ranking, which highlighted power and infrastructure shortfalls, high youth unemployment, as well as inadequate education and technical skills availability as key challenges to the country’s competitive position.... 

Renewables rigour

By: Terence Creamer     29th May 2015 In an address dominated by the announcement that South Africa would indeed be moving ahead with a controversial procurement process for 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson offered some interesting feedback on the performance another electricity procurement... 

Weak Enforcement

By: Terence Creamer     22nd May 2015 The local manufacturing industry has generally been supportive of moves by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to designate specific products for local procurement by the public sector. However, industry has also repeatedly questioned whether the strategy is actually being implemented and... 

Urgency & Leadership

By: Terence Creamer     15th May 2015 Headlines and statistics don’t always tell the entire story or the full truth about a situation. But the current news and statistical flow on the state of the South African economy is more than a little worrying – even for those who have hitherto lived by the adage that it’s never as bad in this... 

Reworked savings model

By: Terence Creamer     8th May 2015 State-owned electricity utility Eskom has overhauled its approach to demand-side management (DSM), narrowing its focus to two main areas: a small number of large-scale industrial projects; and the mass deployment of energy-efficient light bulbs. The utility halted its DSM expenditure in 2014/15,... 

Significant developments

By: Terence Creamer     1st May 2015 A number of interesting developments have taken place in the electricity sector over the past few weeks that could have major long-term implications. Undoubtedly the most high profile of these was the decision by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to lean on the high-regarded Brian Molefe... 

Terms of trade weaken

By: Terence Creamer     24th April 2015 A sobering new World Bank report is forecasting that sub-Saharan Africa’s growth will slow to 4% in 2015 from 4.5% in 2014, owing to the weak commodity prices and the sharp fall in oil prices, which will exact a heavy toll on African oil exporters. Excluding South Africa, whose economic... 

Primacy of Performance

By: Terence Creamer     17th April 2015 In a recent presentation on the effect of South Africa’s electricity crisis on the mining sector, Chamber of Mines chief operating officer Roger Baxter included a PowerPoint slide titled ‘Problem Statement’. He included the following bullet points under that heading: 

Decoupling needed

By: Terence Creamer     10th April 2015 South Africa’s prevailing electricity shortages, conventional wisdom holds, are not only undermining the country’s actual economic performance, but also its future growth outlook. South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago summarised this view following the March meeting of the Monetary... 

Power priority

By: Terence Creamer     3rd April 2015 The unhealthy developments at the very top of Eskom are quite obviously destructive and destablising. But they are also diverting attention from the very real operational and financial problems that should by all rights be the full-time preoccupation of all involved. South Africa’s current... 

Probing Performance 

By: Terence Creamer     27th March 2015 One of the main reasons given for the recent suspension of Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona and three other senior executives related to a “lack of credible information” surrounding the poor performance of the existing coal-fired power plants. In response, the Eskom board established an independent... 

Growth speed limits

By: Terence Creamer     20th March 2015 In a recent speech delivered at the University of Cape Town, International Monetary Fund (IMF) first deputy MD David Lipton noted that several institutions, including the IMF, had downgraded South Africa’s “potential growth” from around 3.5% to 4% previously to between 2% and 2.5%. Besides weak... 

Private promise?

By: Terence Creamer     13th March 2015 There is a definite move by the Gauteng provincial administration, led by Premier David Makhura, to more fully integrate the capital, ingenuity and skill of the private sector into its programme to “transform, modernise and re-industrialise” the country’s smallest, yet richest, province. Over and... 

Tax, tolls and more 

By: Terence Creamer     6th March 2015 While some may view Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s maiden Budget as little more than a ‘tax-and-toll’ document, there are a number of other key thrusts that also deserve attention. Without question, the decision to raise personal income tax rates by a percentage point for all but the lowest... 

Execute the plan!

By: Terence Creamer     27th February 2015 The quote attributed to General George Patton, “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week”, came to mind  during a recent media interaction with acting South African Airways (SAA) CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. Admittedly, so did Yogi Berra’s oft-repeated remark: “It's... 

What are the priorities? 

By: Terence Creamer     20th February 2015 There are two key priorities for South Africa as the electricity crisis, which first reared its head all the way back in November 2005, deepens and looks poised to endure for some time as a result of major delays at the Medupi, Kusile and Ingula projects. The most urgent, and the most painful,... 

Mixed Picture

By: Terence Creamer     13th February 2015 While it is acknowledged there is no direct, or proportional, link between foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and development, it is nevertheless still an important indicator of a country’s prospects. FDI flows also offer insight into the changing investor appetites and patterns, with global... 

More to come?

By: Terence Creamer     6th February 2015 There are growing indications that State-owned power utility Eskom is starting to look beyond the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) for solutions to its financial problems. Through the RCA mechanism, Eskom has already clawed back R7.8-billion relating... 

Future imperfect

By: Terence Creamer     30th January 2015 Aside from the horrific terror attacks in Nigeria and France, the precipitous fall in the oil price has been the main news story of 2015 so far. The weakening has not only been steep, it’s been fast, with the rapidness of the change illustrated neatly in an article appearing in Bloomberg... 

Big risk factor

By: Terence Creamer     23rd January 2015 The jury is still out on what effect the collapsing oil price will have on Africa’s 2015 growth prospects, with the answer depending materially on whether a country is an oil importer or exporter. However, the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report is less equivocal when it... 

Beyond planning

By: Terence Creamer     16th January 2015 In his book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or how to Build the Future, serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel (best known as one of the cofounders of PayPal, along with Elon Musk and Max Levchin) has a chapter titled ‘You are Not a Lottery Ticket’. In it, he criticises the... 

New energy needed

By: Terence Creamer     12th December 2014 There is a sense of fatigue across South Africa as 2014 draws to a close. The year has been a difficult one for business and for citizens. The external environment remains problematic, with South Africa’s key trading partners performing unevenly and with commodity prices falling. South Africa’s... 

Plan Emerging?

By: Terence Creamer     5th December 2014 Some visibility may, at last, be emerging around South Africa's approach to the highly complex issue of beneficiation. It is understood that the Mineral Beneficiation Action Plan (MBAP), which is currently in draft form, should be finalised by the end of March. Engineering News has confirmed that... 

Growth, but no renaissance 

By: Terence Creamer     28th November 2014 Given the attention, disproportionate or not, being given to nuclear energy in South Africa, it was interesting to see what the International Energy Agency (IEA) had to say about the future of technology in its World Energy Outlook 2014 (WEO-2014), released earlier this month. The IEA’s base case... 

Important Progress 

By: Terence Creamer     21st November 2014 Given the prevailing uncertainty about Eskom's ability to keep the lights, it came as something of a relief to hear that the bidding process for the long awaited ‘baseload coal’ independent power producer (IPP) procurement programme is set to begin shortly and that it will be followed by a... 

Sustaining Momentum

By: Terence Creamer     14th November 2014 South Africa has been ranked third, after China and Brazil, in a new country-by-country assessment of 55 renewable-energy markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Climatescope 2014 report and index, which has been compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance on behalf of American... 

The emerging middle

By: Terence Creamer     7th November 2014 There may be no consensus on the size of Africa’s middle class, but there is, nevertheless, broad-based agreement on two things: firstly, that the African middle class is growing and, secondly, that its rise is important to the continent’s future prospects. A new book entitled The Emerging Middle... 

Holding the line

By: Terence Creamer     31st October 2014 Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene held the fiscal-consolidation line in his sobering maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) address last week. The Minister said the country had reached a “turning point”, whereby revenue was insufficient to cover expenditure, while debt levels were... 

Grid(lock) risks

By: Terence Creamer     24th October 2014 The relationship between economic growth and development and stable and affordable electricity supply is not only strong, but also indisputable. The link is reaffirmed in the Africa Energy Outlook publication, which was released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) earlier this month. It... 

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