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TIPPING POINT:

By: Terence Creamer     30th September 2022 As South Africans are forced to endure the worst-ever year for power cuts, questions continue to be asked about how we arrived at this confidence-sapping point. Even absent incompetence and corruption, which have undoubtedly contributed, load-shedding became a near certainty once Medupi and... 

TIPPING POINT:

THE OTHER GREEN FINANCE

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd September 2022 When medical cannabis-focused special purpose acquisition company Cilo Cybin Holdings debuts on the JSE later this year it will reportedly be Africa’s first such listing. The company will seek about R2-billion, which will be used to acquire and expand an existing cannabis manufacturing facility... 

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SERIOUS THREAT

By: Darlene Creamer     16th September 2022 A recent Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime report showed that at least 183 infrastructure and construction projects in South Africa worth more than R63-billion were disrupted by the so-called ‘construction mafia’ in 2019 alone. Typically organised under the banner of... 

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WILLFUL BLINDNESS

By: Terence Creamer     9th September 2022 Determined reportage by News24, which has exposed in detail the circumstances surrounding the murder of whistleblower Babita Deokaran, leavea little room for doubt that some Gauteng officials were chillingly incompetent and insensitive at best, if not complicit. Deokaran was killed in a drive-by... 

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MISSING PIECE

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd September 2022 South Africa has the solar, wind and land resources to make it one of the most competitive electricity market globally as countries transition from centralised, fossil-based power systems to decentralised and decarbonised structures. However, the grid remains a key enabler and, for the... 

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HEAT IS ON

By: Darlene Creamer     26th August 2022 Following deadly flooding in 2021, the latest Northern Hemisphere summer has been characterised by extreme heat waves, droughts and wild fires, which have definitely thrown a spotlight on climate change and its destructive consequences. Less obvious, however, is what is being down to both... 

HEAT IS ON

WATER WORRIES

By: Darlene Creamer     19th August 2022 The water stresses being experienced in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, should serve as a wake-up call to the leaders and citizens of all cities and provinces. While some parts of the country are likely to become wetter as a result of climate change, large parts will become drier and more drought... 

WATER WORRIES: The water stresses being experienced in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, should serve as a wake-up call to the leaders and citizens of all cities and provinces. While some parts of the country are likely to become wetter as a result of climate change, large parts will become drier and more drought prone. Without proper planning, good governance and the implementation of adaptation measures and infrastructure, the risk of ‘Day Zero’ events is certain to grow.

TIGHT SPOT

By: Darlene Creamer     12th August 2022 It came as something of a shock when the South African Reserve Bank decided in July to increase interest rates by 75 basis points rather than the 50 basis points that had been anticipated. By doing so, it signalled that it believes there to be a real danger that inflation is becoming more... 

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MANY HANDS

By: Darlene Creamer     5th August 2022 While much of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to tackle load-shedding is focused on utility scale solutions, it also includes some space for micro-level action, mostly in the form of rooftop solar. The plan includes a proposal for a feed-in tariff, which could help unlock the ‘rooftop... 

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COLD SHOULDER 

By: Darlene Creamer     29th July 2022 South Africa has had several run-ins with the European Union (EU) over the past number of years with regard to the bloc’s trade rules governing citrus. The most recent dispute relates to a stipulation that South African oranges be subjected to cold treatment of between 0°C to -1°C for at least 16... 

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CHOKE HOLD

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd July 2022 The record fuel prices in South Africa, and in many other parts of the world, are squeezing businesses and citizens alike, with petrol and diesel used to produce and move nearly everything we consume. The fuel-levy relief granted to date has been welcome, but has been insufficient to ease the... 

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GRIEF TO ANGER

By: Darlene Creamer     15th July 2022 The implementation of Stage 6 load-shedding in late June and early July has moved many citizens from grudging resignation to intensifying anger. Visible action is needed and needed fast to start closing the supply gap that has persisted for years and is growing as Eskom’s neglected coal fleet... 

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TIME TO ACT

By: Darlene Creamer     8th July 2022 Just looking at the tower of Zondo Commission Reports, packaged into several parts and volumes, is exhausting enough. Now is not the time to rest, however. Now is the time to act firmly against the predatory elite who took this country to the brink and have left a trail of destruction – from... 

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HOME TO ROOST

By: Darlene Creamer     1st July 2022 The electricity crisis has been casting a confidence-sapping shadow over the South African economy for nearly 15 years. The chickens of Eskom debt, corruption and inefficiency, policy mixed signals, regulatory bottlenecks and procurement delays have been roosting for some time and have been... 

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TIED DOWN

By: Darlene Creamer     24th June 2022 South Africa’s mining production plummeted by nearly 15% year-on-year in April, with gold production slumping 27.8%, platinum group metals output shrinking 22.6% and coal production falling 14.7%. The poor performance has been attributed to strikes, electricity and rail disruptions, and ongoing... 

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DEADLY & DEMORALISING

By: Darlene Creamer     17th June 2022 South Africans are dealing with many burdens currently: rising food and fuel prices; load-shedding; finding ways to recover from Covid disruptions professionally and personally; and a toxic political climate. Adding to these worries is the rising threat of violent crime, as reflected in the... 

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THROUGH THE ROOF

By: Darlene Creamer     10th June 2022 The outlook for food price inflation is deeply worrying, with Tiger Brands CEO Noel Doyle warning recently that the price of certain food items could “go through the roof”. Even more worrying are warnings that the shortages of grain and fertiliser, caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, could... 

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BRIGHT SPARK

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd June 2022 The City of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Mpho Phalatse, has become something of a bright spark despite the ongoing load-shedding gloom. Phalatse has outlined a new vision for City Power and has indicated that the city will seek to partner with independent power producers on a R26-billion... 

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DARK DAYS

By: Darlene Creamer     27th May 2022 There is no question that South Africans are far better prepared for rotational power cuts than they were when the scourge first appeared some 14 years ago. Eskom has regular and brutally candid briefings, load-shedding schedules are more or less accurate and the EskomSePush App ubiquitous.... 

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COLD & DARK

By: Darlene Creamer     20th May 2022 Eskom has given its assurance that it will do what it can to limit rotational power cuts during the winter months. There are signs, however, that this winter could be both cold and dark. The under-maintained coal fleet is simply in no state to offer reliable supply and South Africa has not... 

COLD & DARK

EXTREME PRESSURE

By: Darlene Creamer     13th May 2022 Recent developments in South Africa, especially the deadly July 2021 riots and the horrific KwaZulu-Natal floods, have seriously undermined confidence in the future. The negative effects of these developments are being amplified by a series of international factors – including horrific conflicts,... 

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HANGING TOUGH

By: Darlene Creamer     6th May 2022 Consumer inflation nudged the upper end of South Africa’s 3% to 6% target band in March when it reached 5.9%, and it is expected to rise further. In a context of low growth and high unemployment, questions will naturally arise about the wisdom of holding on to a target, which will required yet... 

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SHAMEFUL GOVERNANCE

By: Darlene Creamer     29th April 2022 Chinese philosopher Confucius is said to have expressed the following about governance: “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” In South Africa, where governance is now equated with money and... 

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WORRYING RISE

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd April 2022 The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s gauge of global food prices rose at a record pace in March, fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the United Nations body has warned of further increases to come. Food inflation in South Africa also continues to accelerate, with the Bureau for Food... 

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SLOTS FOR SALE

By: Darlene Creamer     15th April 2022 State-owned freight logistics group Transnet is turning to the private sector in a bid to revive the fortunes of two underperforming rail corridors. The group’s rail unit has officially launched a bidding process for 16 rail slots on both the container corridor from Durban to City Deep and its... 

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EXPLOSIVE SHACKLES

By: Darlene Creamer     8th April 2022 South Africa’s official unemployment rate rose to a record 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed that the number of unemployed people increased by 278 000 to 7.9-million. It’s a terrifying figure. Even more terrifying, however, is a youth unemployment rate... 

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HIKED TO HURT

By: Darlene Creamer     1st April 2022 While nothing even resembling the pain being experienced by Ukrainians living in towns and cities being attacked by the Russian military, South Africans are not immune from the economic hurt flowing from the invasion. Fuel prices will rise sharply again in April after having already surged in the... 

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INFLATION MONSTER

By: Darlene Creamer     25th March 2022 After a relatively long hibernation, the inflation monster is awake and ready to eat the income and wealth of all citizens, poor and rich alike. Initially awakened by uneven supply-chain recovery efforts following the Covid lockdowns, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has poked the monster further.... 

INFLATION MONSTER

SHAMEFUL

By: Darlene Creamer     18th March 2022 While it’s not difficult to point out the West’s hypocrisy in its response to Russia’s vicious invasion of Ukraine, South Africa’s own response has been shameful. The decision to abstain in a United Nations vote condemning Russia has been rationalised on the basis on this country’s commitment to... 

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CROSSING THE LINE

By: Darlene Creamer     11th March 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin made the world a less safe place than it already was when he authorised the invasion of his democratic neighbour on February 24 on the false pretexts of “demilitarisation and de-Nazification”. The steep escalation in tensions when Russian troops crossed the... 

CROSSING THE LINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin made the world a less safe place than it already was when he authorised the invasion of his democratic neighbour on February 24 on the false pretexts of “demilitarisation and de-Nazification”. The steep escalation in tensions when Russian troops crossed the Ukraine borders from the north, east and south, steepened further when Putin placed Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert. The fallout has been felt in the form of civilian deaths, a growing humanitarian crisis, the roiling of energy markets and in diplomatic confusion, especially among the democratic members of the Brics bloc, including South Africa.

BREAKING POINT

By: Darlene Creamer     4th March 2022 Some of the crime statistics included in the report covering the third quarter of the 2021/22 fiscal year are beyond upsetting. South Africa recorded 6 859 murders in the three-month period, up from 6 279 in the corresponding period of 2020, while 9 556 people were raped. Yet, instead of an... 

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RED-TAPE ALERT

By: Darlene Creamer     25th February 2022 For several years, government has been promising to cut the unnecessary red tape undermining entrepreneurship and stifling investment. For this reason, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of business luminary Sipho Nkosi as his red-tape-reduction czar has been welcomed. That welcome has been... 

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DEATHLY ROOTS

By: Darlene Creamer     18th February 2022 There is nothing startling in the report of the expert panel appointed to review government’s response to the July 2021 civil unrest. It confirms that factional politics is now having deadly consequences, that poverty and inequality are dry tinder just waiting for a spark and that our public... 

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THE PPE WE NEED NOW

By: Darlene Creamer     11th February 2022 The final Special Investigating Unit report into fraud and corruption linked to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as other works and services purchased in response to Covid, makes for grim reading. The report deals with contracts valued collectively at over... 

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PRICE SHOCK

By: Darlene Creamer     4th February 2022 As expected, none of the non-Eskom stakeholders who made oral representations to the energy regulator on Eskom’s request for a 20.5% increase had any sympathy for such a hike. Doubly so given the context of a weak economic outlook, rising unemployment and deepening poverty. That said, many of the... 

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ENSNARED BY AMBITION

By: Darlene Creamer     28th January 2022 Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s deeply offensive and unsubstantiated attack on the judiciary and her undermining of a constitution that she has taken an oath to defend has all the hallmarks of an overly ambitious politician who cynically believes that ends (securing the ANC presidency in this... 

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DUSTBIN OF HISTORY

By: Darlene Creamer     21st January 2022 South Africa simply cannot afford a repeat of 2021 this year. Further delays in dealing with the country’s big problems of load-shedding, economic and social crime, vaccine hesitancy and, most worryingly, a growth rate that is too low to make a dent into chronic unemployment will set the scene... 

South Africa simply cannot afford a repeat of 2021 this year. Further delays in dealing with the country’s big problems of load-shedding, economic and social crime, vaccine hesitancy and, most worryingly, a growth rate that is too low to make a dent into chronic unemployment will set the scene for the type of deadly instability that gripped the country in July last year. Decisive policymaking and diligent implementation are the only ways to confine 2021 to the dustbin of history.

(OMI)NOUS OR SIGNAL?

By: Darlene Creamer     10th December 2021 Given patchy global vaccination penetration and ongoing hesitancy at home, the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant was as inevitable as the fourth wave. Far less inevitable is the health risk posed by Omicron. Especially if there is stricter adherence to the proven nonpharmaceutical protocols and... 

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