Along the Panama Canal, the types of businesses, international and non-governmental organisations, and research institutions are carefully selected on account of their technology and knowledge component. It is about putting in place the conditions to attract the right skills and businesses. By GREG MILLS and LYAL WHITE
An energy sector leader recently observed that the electricity crisis in South Africa is maturing (perhaps like cheese), from generation capacity issues, to issues of the electricity price, tariffs, the price elasticity of demand, and the capacity of Eskom to finance its generation, transmission and distribution activities. By CHRIS YELLAND.
South Africa was eventually included in the newest version of AGOA – the African Growth and Opportunity Act – but with an important proviso. This was the requirement that there was progress in sorting out access to South African markets by American poultry, pork and beef exporters. But the negotiations on these questions seem to have come to a stumbling block and the US invoked a provision of AGOA to restrict South African exports of agricultural products to the US in two months unless things are sorted out. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a look yet again at AGOA issues.
Now that the Economic Freedom Fighters have forced white monopoly capital to pay attention to their demands, the rest of the country may want to consider the party’s stance on the potential of the cannabis plant. With the help of a management consultant who is unpacking the business case for legalisation, KEVIN BLOOM attempts to assess the real value of South Africa’s fabled dagga fields.
During an application for potentially thousands of former mineworkers with silicosis and tuberculosis to be certified as a class to claim damages from the gold mines, lawyers for the mines argued that mines cannot be held liable for TB. There was no necessary link between excessive exposure to silica dust and TB without silicosis, Gold Fields' lawyer told the South Gauteng High Court. By PETE LEWIS for GROUNDUP.
A partnership between the government, innovators and companies is finally ensuring that e-learning is taking its place in South Africa’s schools. But it remains challenging to implement, not least because many of the teachers required to facilitate it don’t know how to use it. The good news is that the government is largely receptive to investing in it as a tool to help repair the education system, and has signed on the dotted line with Via Afrika to start training teachers to use it. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE found out more.
The landmark silicosis class action lawsuit in South Africa has thrown up some similarities between the history of the country's gold mines and the violent history of the rubber trade in the Congo. Over decades, South Africa's gold mines systematically exposed their mostly poor and black workers to dangerous levels of silica dust knowing it would kill them. By MARCUS LOW for GROUNDUP.
The news that the Volkswagen Group manipulated emissions tests for its diesel engines strikes at the heart of the capitalist system. In such a system, the general view is that the government should ensure a level playing field and participants should play according to the rules. The case of the VW Group shows a dismal failure of this noble goal. JANNIE ROSSOUW for THE CONVERSATION.
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.