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SINKING FEELING

By: Darlene Creamer     27th January 2023 Given internal ANC political dynamics, it looks like it will be difficult to reverse the decision to move the large State-owned enterprises from the Department of Public Enterprises to their line departments. For Eskom, such a shift is particularly problematic, as it will further blur the policy... 

SINKING FEELING: Given internal ANC political dynamics, it looks like it will be difficult to reverse the decision to move the large State-owned enterprises from the Department of Public Enterprises to their line departments. For Eskom, such a shift is particularly problematic, as it will further blur the policy lines between what is good for Eskom as opposed to the electricity supply industry as a whole – and there is a clear divergence. From a governance perspective, it’s akin to moving the deck chairs while the ship sinks.

COMES WITH BAGGAGE

By: Darlene Creamer     20th January 2023 Any thoughts of South Africa making an entirely fresh start in 2023 after what was a difficult 2022, were quickly snuffed out. Not only has there been ongoing loadshedding, but many of the other hangovers from last year remain ever-present, including the obvious signs of infrastructure decay and... 

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NOWHERE TO HIDE

By: Darlene Creamer     16th December 2022 No matter how hard the African National Congress tries to hide its toxic factional politics it’s plain for all to see and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s reaching a point where surely something has to give, if not internally, at the ballot box. The frightening thing for South... 

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DEFLATING

By: Darlene Creamer     9th December 2022 This year’s FIFA World Cup has had its fair share of upsets, which has deflated the egos of some of the bigger teams. The performance of the South African economy in 2022 has been equally deflating. The year started with hopes for a solid recovery following two years of Covid disruption. However,... 

This year’s FIFA World Cup has had its fair share of upsets, which have deflated the egos of some of the bigger teams. The performance of the South African economy in 2022 has been equally deflating. The year started with hopes for a solid recovery following two years of Covid disruption. However, loadshedding, devastating flooding and rising crime, including mafia-style heists, have all taken a damaging toll.

LEADERSHIP PUZZLE

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd December 2022 With the African National Congress gearing up for its 55th National Elective Conference many citizens are doubtful whether its new leaders will be able to finally place country before party. Finding the answer to this real-life riddle may appear far more intricate than the poplar Web-based word... 

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UNDER PRESSURE

By: Darlene Creamer     25th November 2022 The South African Institution of Civil Engineering launched its 2022 Infrastructure Report Card earlier this month, which uses a five-point scale from A (world-class) to E (unfit-for-purpose) to score the state of the country’s infrastructure. This year’s report had an overall score of D, which... 

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HEAVY LIFTING

By: Darlene Creamer     18th November 2022 After significant research, lobbying and consultative efforts, the first concessional finance has started to flow towards Eskom’s plan to repower and repurposed those coal power station sites that are scheduled for retirement. The World Bank Group has approved a 497-million finance package for... 

HEAVY LIFTING

JOURNEY ENDS & BEGINS

By: Darlene Creamer     11th November 2022 The scrapping of e-tolls became inevitable when there was massive civil disobedience, led by the well-organised civil society grouping initially know as Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, or OUTA, which later transitioned to become the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse. The resistance weakened... 

JOURNEY ENDS & BEGINS: The scrapping of e-tolls became inevitable when there was massive civil disobedience, led by the well-organised civil society grouping initially know as Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, or OUTA, which later transitioned to become the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse. The resistance weakened the will of the political authorities to enforce the scheme. What is less inevitable, however, is whether the Gauteng authorities will come up with an acceptable funding plan to both maintain and expand the vital highway network over which it has now regained control.

WATER WORRIES

By: Darlene Creamer     4th November 2022 With electricity loadshedding now a part of daily life in South Africa, there is growing anxiety about the prospect of water-shedding. Already several towns across the country are struggling either with water supply or face serious water quality problems. The recent disruptions in Gauteng also... 

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PUNCH DRUNK 

By: Darlene Creamer     28th October 2022 South African business has had a torrid 2022, with intense loadshedding, a freight-logistics strike and serious flooding all harming production and exports. Sadly, these electricity, transport and weather-related risks are not likely to abate soon, and the environment will be worsened by water... 

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DARK SPACE

By: Darlene Creamer     21st October 2022 Even the most determined proponent of State-owned companies and their supposed developmental role will have a hard time proving their case when it comes to Eskom and Transnet. The loadshedding crisis has caused untold damage to the economy for more than a decade, weighing on both productivity and... 

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OLD HAT

By: Darlene Creamer     14th October 2022 There is limited room for any surprises as South Africa’s Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, who is known for his many homburg hats, puts the final touches to his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, to be delivered on October 26. Indeed, the market also has a limited tolerance currently for... 

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NO JOY RIDE

By: Darlene Creamer     7th October 2022 As South Africans we are disconcertingly accustomed to major changes to the value of the rand. However, the US dollar’s rampant performance in September left many other currencies quite shaken, including the British pound, whose performance was also rocked by some questionable fiscal... 

As South Africans, we are disconcertingly accustomed, to major changes to the value of the rand. However, the US dollar’s rampant performance in September left many other currencies quite shaken, including the British pound, whose performance was also rocked by some questionable fiscal announcements. Given the extent of the economic and financial headwinds, heightened in South Africa’s case by intense load-shedding, the ride is likely to remain quite unsettling for some time.

TIPPING POINT:

By: Darlene 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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