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.
Any way you look at it, this isn’t the brightest or most beautiful time for South African mining – if there’s ever been one. Strikes in the platinum sector are costing the industry an estimated R197 million per day. On Tuesday, as all the major players in African mining gathered at Cape Town’s swish Convention Centre for the annual Mining Indaba, SAPS had to disperse 3,000 “violent protestors” at an Amplats shaft. But the industry was putting on a bullish face – despite some nostalgic references to the “good old days”. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On 5 December 2013, Eskom announced the resignation of its CEO, Brian Dames, three years after he had assumed the position following the controversial axing of the previous CEO, Jacob Maroga, who also held the position for only three years. Whatever the reasons for their early departures, clearly both Dames and Maroga failed in their missions by leaving before their job was done. Whoever comes next, will have a massive task at hand. By CHRIS YELLAND.
The announcement of the 'early retirement' from Independent Media of longtime employee and group executive editor Chris Whitfield will inevitably set tongues wagging again about the internal dynamics within Iqbal Surve’s newspaper group. Whitfield’s staying mum at the moment – but it’s hard not to suspect that his departure is linked to the controversial December removal of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois. By REBECCA DAVIS.