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Engineering News | Latest News

Engineering News is South Africa’s premier source of weekly real-economy news on projects, products, policies, personalities and technoeconomic progress, covering a wide range of industries – from agroprocessing to information technology.

Importance of scientific cooperation with South Africa reaffirmed by Japan

Japan regards South Africa as an important research partner. This was affirmed on Thursday during the first session of the 4th South Africa-Japan University (SAJU) Forum Conference, at the University of Pretoria. "South Africa is a very important country for Japan," highlighted Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Director for International Cooperation (Ms) Mutsuko Yasuda. South Africa was the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with which Japan had a scientific cooperation agreement.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 3:54 pm

Enviro dept invites public comment on sulphur dioxide emissions amendment

The Environmental Affairs Minister has temporarily withdrawn a provision that would have allowed for a doubling in the amount of harmful pollutant sulphur dioxide companies may emit. This follows environmental organisation GroundWork’s litigation, instituted last month, seeking to have the provision set aside.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 3:37 pm

Afrimat’s diversification contributes to strong full-year results

Industrial minerals and construction materials group Afrimat has recorded a good overall performance for the year ended February 28, and achieved positive results for the period owing to its diversification strategy, Afrimat group CEO Andries van Heerden said in a statement on Thursday. The group’s entry into bulk commodities two years ago was highlighted as having been well-timed, given that it contributed considerably to its sustained earnings growth in the year under review.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 3:24 pm

NPA starts prosecution of Aurora directors

Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Thursday announced that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would start its prosecution of the former directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems on May 28. A summons had been issued in March related to environmental and water transgressions at the failed Grootvlei mine, near Springs, in the Upper Vaal Management Area.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 3:17 pm

SA Express says to lay charges against former execs

As South African Express (SA Express) continues to strengthen its operational efficiency and governance systems, the State-owned airline is preparing to lay fraud and corruption charges against some of its former executives. SA Express chairperson Tryphosa Ramano said in a statement on Thursday that the decision to charge some of the former executives stemmed from a forensic investigation that “flagged a number of prejudiced transactions”.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 2:56 pm

Reserve Bank again keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.75%

The South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee has again decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.75%, a decision widely expected by analysts.  The central bank's governor Lesetja Kganyago made the announcement at a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday afternoon. The repo rate is the benchmark interest rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to other banks. Changes in the repo rate affect the prime lending rate, which is the lowest rate at which banks start lending to clients. With the repo rate unchanged, the prime lending rate will remain unaltered at 10.25%.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 2:30 pm

PE port the first in South Africa to achieve ISO 45001 certification

The Port of Port Elizabeth (PE) has become the first port in South Africa to achieve the International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO’s) 45001 certification, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said in a statement this week. ISO 45001 is an international standard that specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, with guidance for its use to enable an organisation to proactively improve its OH&S performance in preventing injury and ill health.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 2:14 pm

Use remote machinery to mine at depth ­– Jourdan

Independent consultant Dr Paul Jourdan on Thursday urged South Africa to cease sending people down dangerous deep-level mines and to come up with remote machinery to mine at depth. He was speaking at the Southern African Mining Supply Chain Conference and Strategy Workshop , which was hosted by the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Mandela Mining Precinct, in partnership with mining supply chain clusters, alongside the Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo at Nasrec’s Johannesburg Expo Centre.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 2:11 pm

Pioneering system holds huge potential for microgrids

A sharper focus on renewable energy has led to increased opportunities for microgrids in rural areas, industrial and commercial parks and residential developments in African countries. “Technology is progressing very fast on alternative energies and systems. An increased focus on renewable energy is widening the playing field and opening up more opportunities for modern technology,” Siemens East Africa hub and Kenrya country manager Johan Helberg told Engineering News Online in a recent interview.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:45 pm

JRA says M2 bridge on track to reopen in October

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) this week reminded road users that the M2 motorway between the Crown interchange and Maritzburg street remained closed for rehabilitation works on the bridge. The full closure will remain in force until the end of October.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:42 pm

India to surpass China as largest importer of coking coal by 2025

Fitch Solutions maintains its forecast for an average coking coal price of $195/t for this year, stating that prices will remain elevated, with strong demand from China’s steel sector, as US–China relations continue to deteriorate and the probability rises of further economic support from the Chinese government towards domestic industries. On the supply side, the consultancy company expects production misses from Australia to keep the coking coal market tight in the coming quarters as large diversified miners lose their appetite for mining coal.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:39 pm

Cosatu wants Gordhan's department scrapped

South Africa’s biggest labor-union group wants state companies to be managed by various ministries and wants the Department of Public Enterprises scrapped when President Cyril Ramaphosa announces his new executive. Such a step would do away with the department currently led by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who has been at loggerheads with labor unions over pay and possible job cuts at the state power utility since he was appointed to the position last February.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:39 pm

Cape Town to spend R320m on next phase of hostel transformation programme

The City of Cape Town on Thursday said that it will be moving forward with plans to upgrade more hostel units in Langa as part of the next phase of the hostel transformation programme, which will cost R320-million. The next phase of the programme, which is set to start in 2020, will see the construction of an estimated 660 new apartments.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:37 pm

Saceec celebrates inaugural Exporter of the Year awards

The South African Capital Equipment Export Council (Saceec) on Wednesday evening hosted its first-ever Exporter of the Year Awards, coinciding with the inaugural Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo (LME), which was held from May 21 to 23. Saceec CEO Eric Bruggeman told Engineering News Online that the council decided to have eight award categories, with the main criteria being growth in terms of the value of exports, as well as the volume of products exported and the number of countries products were exported to.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:31 pm

South Africa’s fiscal crisis, price volatility among top energy risks for this year

The South African National Energy Association (Sanea) has outlined its nine top energy risks for 2019, with price volatility and uncertainty, and South Africa’s fiscal crisis, among the top risks at both the country and industry level. The issue of price volatility and uncertainty was significant as it impacted on many other sectors and on the most vulnerable in society, Sanea secretary general Wendy Poulton said on Wednesday evening.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:10 pm

Kenya's Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore to stay an extra year in post

The chief executive of Safaricom, Bob Collymore, said on Thursday that he will stay on in his role for an extra year at Kenya's biggest telecoms operator. "I'm here until the year 2020," Collymore told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting. He was due to step down in August.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:07 pm

International science cooperation benefits South Africa – DST

International cooperation has been most beneficial for the development of scientific capacity in developing countries, and South Africa was no exception. So pointed out South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) acting Deputy Director General for Research Development and Support Dr Daniel Adams in his address to the first day of the fourth South Africa-Japan University Forum Conference, at the University of Pretoria, on Thursday. He pointed out that the twenty-first century had been marked by the proliferation of global systems for research. This was happening across many disciplines, in some (such as physics) because of the huge expense of the required experiments, but in many others it was because many of the problems needing to be addressed, such as climate change and HIV/Aids, were international.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 1:05 pm

Africa’s solutions to its challenges lie in 4IR

Africa’s readiness to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will be dependent on its youth and the pressure it puts on government to create an enabling environment that will foster collaboration in developing solutions to the challenges facing communities, says Innovation Hub CEO Advocate Peter Holl. This, he told delegates at the 2019 edition of the International Association of Science Parks Africa Division conference and workshop, on Thursday, will, “according to futurists”, allow Africa to take advantage in solving its challenges through solutions that can be found in the 4IR.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 12:16 pm

State outlines Zuma’s ‘luxurious litigation’ designed to delay prosecution

The National Prosecuting Authority on Thursday outlined in court how it believed former president Jacob Zuma had used extensive litigation, known as the Stalingrad defence, to delay being prosecuted on fraud and corruption charges. Zuma had used a consistent pattern of litigation, designed ultimately to delay prosecution, said seasoned advocate Wim Trengove, acting for the state. "The litigation endured for almost 14 years without interruption, barring one month. He lost all of those cases,” Trengove said. He said the litigation was conducted at public expense and cost between R16-million and R32-million, calling it “luxurious litigation designed to delay”.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 11:23 am

Three companies join forces to launch EMVAfrica brand

Energy Engineered Products, Multi-Alloys and E-Metals Cape have joined forces under the EMVAfrica umbrella to create what they call “a dynamic, single-source solutions provider and service suit”. Simone Liedtke gives us the details.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 11:15 am

Lufthansa maintenance company opens its first operation in South Africa

Lufthansa Technik Maintenance International (LTMI) formally opened its new, and first, facility in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon. The facility has been established at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport. A second facility is being set up Cape Town. Both facilities are initially intended to provide line maintenance for South African private-sector airline company Comair, which operates the British Airways brand in South Africa and the Kulula low-cost airline. Comair operates a fleet comprised entirely of various models of Boeing 737s.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 11:12 am

Tanzania's China-backed $10bn port plan stalls over terms – official

A planned $10-billion port project in Tanzania backed by China has hit an impasse, with the two sides disagreeing on terms of the infrastructure investment, a senior Tanzanian port official said on Wednesday. In 2013, Tanzania signed a framework agreement with China Merchants Holdings International, China's largest port operator, to build the port and a special economic zone that aims to transform the east African country into a regional trade and transport hub.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 10:38 am

Sasol’s Lake Charles project to cost up to $12.9bn

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer about the latest increase in the cost estimate for Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemicals project, in the US, and why the project is important to Sasol.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 10:34 am

Massmart warns on profit, names Walmart executive as new CEO

South African retailer Massmart on Thursday warned of lower headline earnings per share for the first half of the year and said that Walmart executive Mitchell Slape would become its new CEO. Massmart, in which Walmart has a majority stake, said headline earnings per share for the six-months ended June might be at least 50% lower than the prior year, while operating profit before interest, depreciation, restructuring, non-trading items and taxation might be flat.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 10:33 am

PwC Southern Africa appoints first black female CEO

Consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has appointed Shirley Machaba Southern Africa CEO, effective July 1. She is the first black African woman to be appointed as CEO within PwC in Southern Africa.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 10:33 am

University of Nottingham academics patent gravitational energy storage using soil batteries

Academics have patented new concepts on electric power energy storage using gravity, with the concept of gravity energy storage using soil batteries being promoted by two University of Nottingham academics – European Academy of Sciences fellow and World Society of Sustainable Technologies president Professor Saffa Riffat and Marie Curie research fellow Professor Yijun Yuan. The academics filed a patent application in May for a gravity energy storage technology based on drums filled with soil.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 9:55 am

AB InBev sees Africa investment rising after $200m outlay

Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev sees further African investment after spending about $200-million on the continent since the world’s largest brewer bought SABMiller in 2016, according to CEO Carlos Brito. AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, has invested the bulk of that money in South Africa and Nigeria, Brito told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday. That includes a new brewery near Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s most populous country, which will cost about $400-million when full capacity has been added.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 8:21 am

Coca-Cola reformulates drinks following tax

Coca-Cola South Africa has cut the sugar in its drinks by a quarter (26%) since government introduced a tax on sugary drinks, according to Camilla Osborne, Head of Communications for Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa. On 1 April 2018, Treasury imposed a Health Promotion Levy of 2.1 cents per gram of sugar on all sweetened drinks but made the first 4g of sugar per 100ml exempt from taxation as an incentive for manufacturers to cut the sugar content.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 8:10 am

Conspiracy theories aside, the case against Mr Zuma is very strong – State

The reason for the decision to prosecute former president Jacob Zuma on charges of racketeering, money laundering, fraud and corruption does not matter, even if it was politically motivated. This is one of the arguments set to be put to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg by advocate Wim Trengove SC on Thursday, as he argues against an application by Zuma for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Posted on 23 May 2019 | 7:08 am

PRASA places three executives on special leave

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has placed the company’s chief strategy offer Dr Sipho Sithole; its legal, risk and compliance head Martha Ngoye and its group CEO Tiro Holele on special leave. The decision follows ongoing investigations into allegations of improper, irregular, corrupt, and fruitless as well as wasteful expenditure by various employees of PRASA at all levels of the organisation.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 3:44 pm

Minerals Council welcomes safety improvements, but warns of continuing policy concerns

The Minerals Council South Africa will, later this year, launch a new health and safety initiative called Khumbela iKhaya, council chaiperson Mxolisi Mgojo revealed on Wednesday. Addressing the council's annual general meeting, he noted that appreciable improvements in the health and safety performance across the mining industry had been achieved.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 3:29 pm

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa announces IPO

Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the Mozambican concessionaire of the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant, has announced the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) for up to 7.5% of its shares to individual Mozambican nationals and collective national investors. The IPO will see a first tranche of 2.5% of its shares becoming available on the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique.  

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 3:27 pm

Digital innovation outside of the ‘factory’ needed for manufacturing success – tech advisory

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is blurring the boundaries between how people traditionally see an organisation and what people call a “factory” in the first place, says technology advisory company On-a-Cloud CEO Geoff Scott. During a seminar at the Local Manufacturing Expo, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, he discussed how intelligent factories can be established.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 3:06 pm

Nersa to host workshop to clarify licensing process for small-scale power plants

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) says it will, in due course, host a stakeholder workshop in order to provide clarity on the processes it will follows, as well as information it requires, in order to register or licence small-scale embedded generators (SSEGs). In a statement issued on Wednesday, the regulator officially confirmed that it had received a letter from Energy Minister Jeff Radebe on May 2, granting a deviation from the existing Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030 for the licensing of generation facilities between 1 MW and 10 MW in size.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 2:55 pm

New study proves penguins are key indicators of ocean health

A new study has proven that African penguins benefit when there is a greater abundance of fish available and it can be used to inform fisheries management in future. The three-year study looked at a colony on Robben Island during a period when the area was closed to commercial fishing and monitored the health of the birds as well as the effects on the surrounding fish populations.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 1:17 pm

Kibo subsidiary to acquire UK gas-fuelled power plant project

Aim- and JSE-listed Kibo Energy’s 60% subsidiary MAST Energy Developments (MED) has executed an agreement to acquire Bordersley Power Limited (BPL) from Balance Power Projects. BPL – a special purpose vehicle – will comprise a 5 MW gas-fueled power generation plant, which will be supported by an option to lease the land that comprises the project site, a grid connection offer and a gas connection offer, both of which will be novated to Bordersley.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 11:56 am

SACPCMP calls on construction industry to avoid being timid

The South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) has called on the South African construction industry to avoid being timid. In an address at Construction Industry Conversations forum, held last week, SACPCMP registrar Butcher Matutle encouraged the industry to “rise from the quagmire of despondency and do battle for our space and sphere of influence”.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 11:39 am

TNPA to review hull cleaning permits

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) intends to introduce in-water hull cleaning at South African ports in an effort to stringently manage biofouling, where marine organisms attach themselves to the hull of a ship and niche areas, potentially spreading alien and invasive species across borders. This is aimed at better managing biodiversity, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

Posted on 22 May 2019 | 11:22 am