- CS Monitor
On Saturday in Soweto, in front of 2,000 people, rock star economist Thomas Piketty offered a bleak assessment of the new South Africa – a country that is, in some ways, more unequal than it was 25 years ago. And while he has solutions, don’t expect them to be implemented here any time soon. Especially not by the event’s sponsors. SIMON ALLISON reports on a Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture that was as notable for its glaring hypocrisies as its scholarship.
For 10 weeks between July and September musician Karen Zoid, collaborating with several well-known local artists, dominated the iTunes South Africa charts with a record-breaking 10 hit singles in a row. The historic accomplishment is a testament to the rise of the independent artist in the digital age. Zoid, using a variety of platforms including television, social media and iTunes, has demonstrated what can be achieved when an artist owns the means of production. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Changes in the energy sector could happen quickly. Embracing the inevitable, if yet uncertain, changes is hard to do and South Africa and Eskom are uniquely unprepared for the future. Perhaps the challenge should be put this way: it is far more risky to hold onto the legacy energy system than to adapt and change the electricity system. By DIRK DE VOS.
If there is a state all human beings understand it is that of hunger. While those of us with the means and access to food often glibly remark “I'm starving”, there are millions in the world who literally are and who find themselves in regions where food security, due to a variety of environmental, political and socio-economic issues, is critical or non existent. This month a food producer accredited by the United Nations Children's Fund, a partnership between Norway and South Africa, officially opened in Cape Town, revealing that while hunger make take from some, it gives to others. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Volkswagen has set aside €6.5 billion to cover the costs of the growing scandal over cheating on emissions tests in the US. Putting a number on the cost further down line will be far harder, however, as it is a crisis which calls into question the ethical credentials of the company and the industry, as well as posing tough questions about the regulators and authorities who were duped. By Paul Nieuwenhuis, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director, Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence (EVCE), Cardiff University, for THE CONVERSATION.
On Tuesday night President Jacob Zuma announced a strange mini-reshuffle of his cabinet: Ngoako Ramatlhodi was moving to Public Service and Administration, and a complete newcomer Mosebenzi Zwane was now in charge of Mineral Resources. Immediately, the search started for a motive: Why move Ramatlhodi? And what is it about this move that seems odd? And why would Zuma make such a move at this particular time? The conspiracy theorists immediately blamed the Guptas. They could well be right. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Three legal teams in South Africa and two in the US are working together to represent 69 miners applying to be allowed to bring a class action against mining companies on behalf of all miners who have silicosis and tuberculosis as a result of their exposure to silica dust since 1965, and of the families of all miners who have died of silicosis and tuberculosis. But for some of them, it's already too late. By ALIDE DASNOIS for GROUNDUP.
Experts have warned that without urgent repairs the Kariba Dam risks collapse, unleashing a ‘tsunami’ of water through the Zambezi Valley, reaching the Mozambique border in just eight hours where it would overwhelm the Cahora Bassa wall, in so doing eliminating 40% of the region’s hydro-electric capacity and putting an estimated 3.5-million human lives at risk. Overlooked, perhaps inevitably, amidst the hyperbole of collapse, destruction and loss of life, is the cost of the poor management of the asset, and the water resource, something that can be relatively easily fixed and where the failure to do so is less dramatic but no less costly. By GREG MILLS.
South Africa’s beleaguered mining industry is in danger of losing almost 12,000 jobs: an employment vacuum the country can ill afford. As of Monday, a new plan signed by the industry, government and the unions won’t guarantee that the jobs will be saved. If further retrenchments are inevitable, however, the plan may ensure that life is a little easier for laid-off mineworkers. But is it enough to solve the problems of an industry in crisis? By REBECCA DAVIS.
What happens if you try to oppose some of South Africa’s biggest mining houses? Civil society organisations found out last week in the South Gauteng High Court. They were trying to join the potential class action against gold mining companies demanding compensation for contracting silicosis. The nongovernmental organisations won this round. Next round: October. By GREG NICOLSON.
Mining boss Roger Kebble, who for years insisted his son Brett did not orchestrate his own suicide, killed himself in his car in the upmarket suburb of Bishopscourt in Cape Town yesterday. The 78-year-old, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head, leaves an incredibly complex legacy. By MANDY WIENER.
Silicosis could become one of the defining issues for workers in our time. Tens of thousands of mineworkers are trying to launch a class action suit against gold mining companies. Now civil society groups are on board, claiming that occupational lung diseases not only affect mineworkers but perpetuate the cycle of poverty in labour-sending areas. By GREG NICOLSON.
Governments throughout Africa are not doing enough to support female entrepreneurs, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Thursday. As we near the end of Women’s Month, Zulu described the circumstances under which many small business owners operate as ‘criminal’. And she added that there should be far greater engagement between the government, analysts and ordinary people struggling to make a living. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
The nuclear energy sector future looks to be in dire straits. Most of the current new builds are in China but in 2014, China paid $9-billion for nuclear while spending $83-billion on wind and solar. French nuclear company Areva, once the standard bearer for nuclear, is now technically bankrupt. Most telling is the fact that no Generation III reactors (the ones South Africa is apparently looking to procure) have come into service in the past 20 years due to continued delays. So what is the attraction? By DIRK DE VOS.
On Sunday the editor-in-chief of The New Age and ANN7, Moegsien Williams, wrote an opinion piece in the City Press newspaper, stating that "the media acts like the unelected opposition". Coming from someone in the media, during a time when once again people who should know better, like Zweli Mkhize, are calling for "patriotic journalism", he is clearly trying to influence the debate on how the media operates. Williams goes further, in suggesting that media organisations should "contribute to the country's growth and development". He makes some interesting points. The problem is, these points, and his assumptions, are mostly just plain wrong. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Faced with jobs being slashed across the industry, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi took the first step in addressing the crisis on Wednesday by getting companies, the government and unions together to find a solution. The minister made it clear this week that he is not going to go easy on the mining houses, but if the parties can't find a solution in these challenging times the job losses will continue. By GREG NICOLSON.
MTN on Wednesday dumped their Tour de France conquering team. It doesn’t matter. When you’ve battled the hardest mountains in the Alps—blah blah blah, etc etc. But seriously, what’s next for this team? How will they cope? Can they keep making Africans across the continent happy? Or will a certain cell phone company ruin the show? We spoke to Team [Insert Sponsor]-Qhubeka's Number One, Douglas Ryder. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Online music giants such as Spotify and Apple Music have missed one important thing: they’re not catering for niche markets. That’s the view of one local entrepreneur, who is selling online music differently. Meet the team at NicheStreem, which plans to take on online music streaming, one targeted market at a time. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Lucky Montana, for years the driving force at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), has been suddenly sidelined. While Prasa has come under attack in recent weeks, his troubles began with the new board. Now, Prasa is without a CEO while it spends billions on new trains and with Montana promising to tell the full story, things might only get worse for the state-owned enterprise. By GREG NICOLSON.
If there is one thing that has changed my daily life in the last few years, that’s made my life safer, easier and quicker, it’s Uber. Despite the strong competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung (I have a tablet by one and a phone by the other) it is actually an app rather than a device that has made me feel safer than anything else. But Uber is under attack from all and sundry. And that's because it deserves it. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
An important judgment handed down in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday has declared 15 salary attachment orders issued by a loans company to workers to be invalid and unlawful. The ruling could have implications not just for unscrupulous credit providers attaching salaries in this way, but the micro-lending industry in general. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The media storm around Caitlyn Jenner has calmed down, and as it always does after any issue receives major attention for a while, the world has returned to its business. But what happens to the ordinary people living the reality of the issue that has been raised? MARELISE VAN DER MERWE has been interviewing transgender South Africans about their lives. Meet C.
Tazara railway can be turned around, though it will require dollops of political will to do so. At first, it will necessitate a recognition that its current state is not ‘fixed’, even though it suits several key actors to keep it down and out. Turning the political economy of protecting privilege, plunder and survival into one of prosperity will lie at the heart of the railway’s transformation, as with any infrastructure in Africa, writes GREG MILLS.
Just the other day, J. BROOKS SPECTOR quietly obtained a transcript of the discussion in a committee of the board of directors of a major multinational high-tech manufacturing company. This committee is the one that prepares final recommendations for the topmost layer of management in that firm for its future investment decisions abroad and at home. In the interest of South Africans, we thought it would be useful to reprint the relevant portion of that discussion.