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.
How can you tell the difference between the Mining Indaba and the Alternative Mining Indaba? One trick is to look for people who are actually miners, or who come from mining-affected communities. If there are any around, chances are good that you’re at the Alternative incarnation. Another trick is to ask people if they paid up to R23,000 for a ticket to the event. If the answer is ‘yes’, then they’re at the Mining Indaba. REBECCA DAVIS has been at the other one.
While a reported 7,000 people attended the Investing In Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week, those in the know say those with the money are “sitting on their hands” and taking a “wait-and-see approach” to government policy on key issues such as beneficiation, strategic minerals, re-empowerment and developmental pricing. By MARIANNE THAMM.
In a country with South Africa’s levels of rising inequality, people often say that they’d like to volunteer their time towards a good cause – but don’t really know where to start. REBECCA DAVIS takes a look at a new online initiative, forgood.co.za, which aims to match up people and causes in a way which makes the best use of an individual’s specific experience or assets.
By November last year, the true crime weekly podcast, Serial, had turned into an Internet sensation. The podcast about the 1999 murder of a Baltimore high school student, supposedly by her former boyfriend, became one of the most popular in the history of iTunes with over five million downloads across the world including South Africa. What’s the appeal of the podcast and are we entering a golden age for the medium? By MARIANNE THAMM.
Last night, Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and chairman of GE, the world's largest infrastructure and technology company, spoke in Johannesburg. GREG NICOLSON was there to hear the influential American's thoughts on Africa, advice for South Africa, and tips for being a leader in uncertain times. And, of course, Eskom.
The 2014 electricity blackouts have brought into stark relief the failure by government, the Department of Energy, the Department of Public Enterprises, Eskom and municipalities to provide an adequate and sustainable electricity supply to meet the growing needs of the country, the economy and its people. By CHRIS YELLAND.
It is hard not to be depressed about Eskom. Eskom is not just another State-Owned Enterprise in perpetual crisis; it is far more important than that. It represents almost our entire electricity system. Electricity is the foundation of our economy and frankly, the foundation of our broader society. By DIRK DE VOS.
At a briefing by Eskom’s Medupi project manager, Roman Crookes, and the head of capital projects, Dan Morakane, it was indicated that a further delay in the first synchronisation of Unit 6 at Medupi power station was increasingly likely, and that the minister of Public Enterprises and other key stakeholders were being informed of this eventuality. By CHRIS YELLAND.
It should be abundantly clear to anyone that Eskom, and therefore our electricity system, is fast approaching a crisis - and that it just can’t go on like this anymore. Drastic changes to how our electricity system operates are a certainty; it is merely a question of whether our government will make the necessary decisions itself, thereby influencing the outcome, or rather have fate drive the changes for us, with consequences that are impossible to determine. By DIRK DE VOS.
When the Woolworths board meets on 26 November, their discussions will be about much more than the usual things such as profits and sustainability. They will also be talking about a concerted campaign against the company because of its perceived support for Israel and its trade links with Israeli companies. By RYLAND FISHER.
Free-to-air e.tv and its 24-hour eNCA cable news channel have built their brand on editorial independence, in strong opposition to the state-run SABC, and their commitment to let you “know more”. Their independence has already been dented this week by reports that HCI directors tried to ensure positive coverage of government events – and now new evidence has emerged that eNCA may have broadcast an entire series of state-funded documentaries under the guise of news in the early part of 2014. CHRIS VICK reports.
If South Africans are annoyed now with wanton spending in government to keep the top set in the lap of luxury, imagine what it will be like from February when higher taxes are announced? Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene set out in his first Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday just how bleak the economic outlook is, and a range of measures to curb spending and raise revenue. The statement was largely aimed at pacifying ratings agencies to avoid another sovereign credit ratings downgrade. But if Nene is to succeed where his predecessor was frustrated in getting more bang for his buck, he needs the president and his Cabinet to fully buy into his reformation agenda. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Our Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, says privatisation has been rejected and Eskom’s chairman, Zola Tsotsi, also says privatisation of the utility will not happen. We should probably wait for Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to present his medium-term budget policy statement next week, which will have to include how he plans to plug the gaping holes in Eskom’s balance sheet. But if decisions are really about choosing from a range of available options, then we should know that these have now become severely constrained as a direct consequence of previous decisions. By DIRK DE VOS.
How is it possible that South Africa and other African countries produce such staggering successes, but none of the successes accrue locally? And why, for all our talk of enabling environments and supporting local entrepreneurship, are we most successful at chasing entrepreneurs abroad? By ALEXANDER O'RIORDAN.
South Africa is less than 30 days away from the launch of yet another aspiring low-cost passenger airline. It’s a movie we, the public, have seen before, but never with a Hollywood ending. STYLI CHARALAMBOUS asks FlySafair CEO, Dave Andrew, the obvious question: why he thinks this time will be different.
South African tech entrepreneur Vinny Lingham continues to be a man to watch. Two years ago, with two successful tech start-ups already under his belt, Lingham founded a digital gift card company called Gyft. It has just been sold to the USA’s largest credit card processing company for over $50 million. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It is tragic that a country built on mining and in search of new energy sources has mining legislation that makes these things very difficult to accomplish. This is a great pity, not only because we are losing investment as a result, but because the damage that it causes is self-imposed. By DIRK DE VOS.
A new book by a French economist and a nearly-book length report by two American political scientists, the first on who controls the wealth of the world and the second why the powerful are, well, powerful, have catapulted into the limelight in both academic and public discourse on who runs what and why. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a first look at this evolving debate.