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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

Mending relations?

By: Terence Creamer     18th September 2015 There is still a strong public perception of a trust deficit between government and business. But in recent weeks there seems to have been quiet, almost imperceptible, progress in mending relations between these two crucial social partners. Government’s charm offensive was on public display in... 

Time to persist

By: Terence Creamer     11th September 2015 Despite the consistent message from government that manufacturing is a priority growth sector, the industry continues to struggle and there is also rising pessimism about whether South Africa can truly revive the fortunes of manufacturing. The August Barclays purchasing managers index fell 2.5... 

Prevent own goals

By: Terence Creamer     4th September 2015 The unexpected 1.3% contraction of the South African economy in the second quarter of 2015 surely serves as a wake-up call to all the social partners, especially government, that efforts need to be intensified to deal with home-grown constraints to growth and investor confidence. Government,... 

Window still open, but . . .

By: Terence Creamer     28th August 2015 Few would argue that South Africa has failed to take advantage, since 1994, of what should have been a demographic tailwind, as its working-age population grew at a far faster rate than those who should, theoretically, have been dependent on them. Over the period, 11-million people entered the... 

Red tape and trust

By: Terence Creamer     21st August 2015 The Presidential Business Working Group, which took place in Pretoria earlier this month, agreed that steps should be taken to address regulatory impediments to economic growth and investment, including processes to deal with “unintended consequences” associated with South Africa’s new visa rules... 

Protection plea

By: Terence Creamer     14th August 2015 South Africa’s leading steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has made a strong case for increasing tariffs for an industry that is somewhat unique among its global peers in not enjoying import protection. Its argument, articulated forcefully by CEO Paul O’Flaherty, is that there is a... 

WATER SHEDDING

By: Darlene Creamer     7th August 2015 There are growing concerns about the state of South Africa’s water sector. There are already towns that are experiencing serious disruptions to water services, or where the quality of the water is not fit for human consumption. South Africa can simply ill afford to move for electricity... 

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... 

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