From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Mariaan Olivier.
Making headlines today:
Emerging telecoms provider Neotel unveiled its long-awaited consumer offering on Thursday, with CEO Ajay Pandey revealing that the company hoped to connect between 50 000 and 60 000 customers over the next nine months, while accelerating its network expansion beyond the current geographic coverage area, which was restricted to parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Five "converged" packages, branded NeoConnect, combine voice and data services, and range in price from 299 rand a month for the "entry level" product, through to 999 rand a month for a high-end solution.
The top-end product incorporates 2 000 free on-network minutes, 120 free local and regional calls to Telkom customers, as well as text messaging, high-speed Internet and e-mail.
Embattled Eskom chairperson, Valli Moosa, who has been widely accused of having kept far too low a profile during the prevailing electricity crisis, broke his silence on Thursday.
In a statement released on behalf of the Eskom board, Moosa rejected "in the strongest possible terms" a suggestion, contained in a regulator's probe of recent load-shedding events, that Eskom management had been pre-occupied with the profitability at the expense of safeguarding supply security.
"This is a misguided statement and can never be substantiated in fact," Moosa said in the statement.
South African Chamber of Mines, or CoM, chief economist Roger Baxter on Thursday stated that a smoothed approach of increasing electricity prices, as well as a phased approach of providing proper incentives for people to start becoming energy efficient, was the best way for South Africa to proceed.
The CoM was scheduled to give a presentation to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa on Friday afternoon, and would reiterate that the mining industry, and in fact the entire business community in South Africa, "does not believe that it is in the interests of this country to have a massive, upfront, front loaded increase in the electricity price, because it takes time for businesses to adjust", Baxter said.
Nersa was holding public hearings into a request by Eskom for a 60% upward revision in its tariff for the 2008/2009 financial year - earlier Nersa had approved a 14,2% increase for the period.
Also making headlines:
Eskom to have clarity on the future of Nuclear 1 by year-end
Climate change risks tend to be underestimated says survey
Tito Mboweni warns that action on inflation is needed
Two DRDGold workers die in anti-foreigner clashes on the East Rand
Zambia still on course for 415 million dollar mine tax target
And, diamond junior Rockwell Diamonds starts operations at South African mine
In political news:
Township attacks chill South African tourism industry
Sudan says a senior Darfur rebel has been arrested
Eligible applicants without IDs to receive social grants
And, Essop Pahad to exit public office
That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories, visit engineeringnews.co.za, miningweekly.com and polity.org.za