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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.

Solidarity mulls possible legal action against Denel

Trade union Solidarity says Denel has informed employees that their July salaries might not be paid on time. “Not paying salaries on time is totally unacceptable and we condemn it. The implications are immense and far-reaching and Solidarity is ready for the fight,” Solidarity Defence and Aviation sector coordinator Helgard Cronjé said in a statement issued on Monday.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 4:01 pm

Tribunal approves economic alliance between WBHO, Trencon

The Competition Tribunal has approved the formation of an economic alliance between WBHO Construction and Trencon Construction. Trencon will replace Fikile Construction as an emerging contractor in the WBHO Alliance, with which WBHO initially entered into an agreement.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:57 pm

Respected head of IPP Office, Breytenbach, asked to leave post

The respected head of South Africa’s Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office, Karen Breytenbach, has confirmed to Engineering News Online that she has been asked to vacate her position by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). News of her departure was revealed in a Tweet on Monday afternoon by Anton Eberhard, who is emeritus professor and senior scholar at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. He also heads up the Eskom Sustainability Task Team, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to offer solutions to Eskom’s financial crisis.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:40 pm

Sappi appoints new CEO of North American operations

JSE-listed Sappi on Monday announced the appointment of Michael Haws as president and CEO of Sappi North America, effective October 1. Haws, who is currently Sappi North America manufacturing VP, will succeed Mark Gardner, who will retire at the end of September, following 12 years in his position.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:30 pm

Comprop offers R1.8bn in Safari takeover bid

Specialist investment company Futuregrowth Asset Management subsidiary Community Property Company has offered R1.8-billion to acquire the entire issued share capital of JSE-listed retail property fund Safari Investments. This follows after Safari announced a share-for-share reverse takeover offer for Fairvest Property Holdings.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:17 pm

Nigeria, Siemens agree roadmap to increase power – Buhari

Nigeria and German company Siemens have agreed a roadmap to increase Nigeria's "reliable" power supply to 11 000 MW by 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday. The president of the West African country said that at present, "only an average of 4 000 MW reliably reaches consumers".

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:05 pm

Commission recommends Clover buyout be approved with conditions

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed merger, whereby Milco SA intends to acquire Clover, be approved, with conditions. Milco SA, a special purpose firm incorporated in South Africa, is controlled by Mauritius International (MMI). Clover’s management and a replacement black economic empowerment (BEE) partner are minority shareholders in Milco SA.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:02 pm

ExecuJet adds second Pilatus PC-24 to portfolio for safari missions

Luxury aviation company ExecuJet has added a second Pilatus PC-24 jet to its managed fleet. ExecuJet last year became the first company in Africa to use this aircraft for charter missions.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:02 pm

SABS tests 32 t centrifugal diesel pump

The South African Bureau of Standards has successfully conducted a four-hour demonstration test on one of the country’s largest centrifugal diesel pump systems. The 32 t pump has the ability to pump water at a rate of 2 800 m3 an hour and is used under emergency conditions for the suppression of hydrofluoric acid vapour.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 3:00 pm

Grindrod recovers locomotives from Sierra Leone

JSE-listed freight and financial services company Grindrod has, this month, taken delivery of 20 of its locomotives that had been recovered and transported from Sierra Leone to the Port of Durban. The locomotives had been contracted in 2012 for hauling iron-ore from the Tonkilili mine to Pepel port, but the mine halted operations at the end of 2017 and the counterparty defaulted on its lease hire and maintenance payment obligations.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 2:59 pm

Brits inland terminal moved 100 000 t of chrome in June

State-owned Transnet Port Terminals’ (TPT’s) Pendoring inland terminal, in Brits, exceeded its monthly average throughput, moving 100 000 t of chrome, in June. TPT said in a statement on Monday the terminal generally moves about 90 000 t a month of chrome.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 2:58 pm

Coal to Newcastle: Residents say mine puts them in danger

Residents of Blaauwbosch village in Newcastle, who live near an old coal mine where informal mining takes place, say they are fed up with empty promises by the government and local politicians. They told GroundUp they want to be moved elsewhere. The residents say the walls of their houses are cracking because of the informal - and illegal - mining activity. Over 50 households are affected.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 2:55 pm

Amplats targeting largest fuel cell truck, mulling renewable energy

Platinum group metals mining and marketing company Anglo American Platinum, which recorded a spectacular 120% increase in half-year headline earnings per share, is screening the opportunities to use fuel cell trucks in its fleet. The cash-rich company has declared an interim dividend of R3-billion after achieving another strong financial performance in the first half of the year, on the back of robust market fundamentals.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 1:58 pm

South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope solves astronomical conundrum

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (Sarao), which is one of the National Research Foundation’s facilities, announced on Monday that the country’s MeerKAT radio telescope array had made a major scientific discovery, solving a decades-old astronomical riddle. The discovery, published as a paper in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, was made by an international consortium of scientists, including South Africans, which was partly funded by the European Research Council. The riddle concerned a galaxy designated NGC 1316 (NGC standing for New General Catalogue [of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars]), also known as radio galaxy Fornax A. It lies 60-million light years from Earth and is both the brightest visible-light and the most powerful radio wave-emission galaxy in a cluster of galaxies in the constellation of Fornax. In fact, it is the fourth brightest radio wavelength source in the whole sky. NGC 1316/Fornax A was created by two major galaxies (the smaller of which would have been about the size of our own galaxy, the Milky Way) colliding, followed by the absorption of smaller satellite galaxies. But observation showed that the galaxy contained far less hydrogen gas that it should (hydrogen being the raw material for the creation and fuelling of stars).

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 12:05 pm

ConCourt deals a blow in Public Protector's SARB report

The Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday endured a scathing assessment of her report on the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) at the Constitutional Court, which found that she had lied and used false documents to advance her cause. Mkhwebane had appealed the high court order that she should, in her personal capacity, pay 15 percent of the costs of the SARB on an attorney and client scale, including the cost of three counsel.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:53 am

EY signs up as platinum sponsor for World Energy Congress

The World Energy Council on Monday announced that professional services firm EY had signed on to be a platinum sponsor for the World Energy Congress. The twenty-fourth World Energy Congress will be held from September 9 to 12 in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:51 am

Murder stats show decline since SANDF troops deployment in Cape Town communities

Murder statistics for the Cape Town metro region have shown a decline from previous weekends, as the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) troops arrived on the ground in various communities, Western Cape government officials said on Monday. A total of 25 murders were recorded over the weekend by the province's forensic pathology services unit, compared with 43 last weekend, and 55 in the weekend prior.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:50 am

Innovative waste management more necessary than ever before – Wasteplan

South Africa has again been ranked as the seventeenth dirtiest energy producer in the world, “out-polluting” the UK and France, says commercial and industrial waste management company Wasteplan CEO Bertie Lourens. In a media release issued following the 2019 SAPICS Conference, in Cape Town, during which he addressed delegates, he discussed how South Africa was fast approaching a situation where it is running out of landfill space – an inevitable “day full”.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:47 am

Bigen advances group’s transformation with new appointments

Infrastructure solutions company Bigen Group has appointed Dr Snowy Khoza group CEO, effective July 16 to September 30, 2021. Khoza was previously CEO of Bigen Africa Group Holdings, before she was appointed executive chairperson of the group when Bigen established Bigen Global in Mauritius.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:44 am

South Africa allocates extra R59bn for cash-strapped Eskom

The South African government has made an extra R59-billion available to State-owned power utility Eskom over the next two years so it can meet its obligations, a Special Appropriation Bill seen by Reuters on Monday showed. Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the country's electricity but has implemented severe power cuts this year, fails to generate sufficient profit to meet its debt servicing costs and has required state cash injections to stay afloat.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 11:34 am

AFRO4000 locomotives to be auctioned off

Online auction house WH Auctioneers will, in September, auction off 13 AFRO4000 locomotives that were initially procured for use on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) long-distance network. The auction will open on September 1 and close on September 12.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 10:57 am

Eskom asks prospective CEOs to apply by August 2

State-owned Eskom is continuing its search for a group CE, following Phakamani Hadebe’s resignation in May, which becomes effective at the end of this month. Hadebe, at the time, said he was stepping down for health reasons after leading efforts to stabilise the highly indebted State firm since his appointment as CE in May 2018.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 10:24 am

Further info on spectrum policy to be communicated in due course

The much-anticipated policy direction on unassigned high-demand spectrum has been finalised. The policy is now undergoing “requisite processes” prior to publication, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies said in a statement.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 8:52 am

South African firms invited to join exposure tour of Mozambique’s ‘game changing’ gas projects

Market and project intelligence firm Africa House will lead a group visit of South African companies to Mozambique in August to explore the business opportunities that will arise from the development of three multibillion-dollar gas projects in the far-flung northern provinces of the Southern African country. Between 150- to 200-trillion cubic feet of gas has been found offshore the country’s Cabo Delgado province and final investment decisions have already been made for two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, the most recent being Anadarko’s Rovuma Area 1 Mozambique LNG project.

Posted on 22 July 2019 | 8:00 am

Ngqura, Cape Town, Durban terminals returning to productivity after illegal strike

State-owned freight utility Transnet on Friday said productivity at its affected ports was returning to normal and estimated that it would take two weeks to clear the backlog at the Ngqura container terminal. This follows after the company last week secured a court interdict against an unprotected strike at the Ngqura port and go-slows by employees at some of its other ports.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 3:47 pm

Commission recommends Tribunal prohibit ATON’s takeover of M&R

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed acquisition of Murray & Roberts by ATON be prohibited. ATON, through Redpath South Africa, provides a range of mining services, including the excavation of vertical or inclined openings from the surface for the conveyance of miners, materials, ventilation and pumped water, and the hoisting of ore and waste rock; operational or maintenance activities; infrastructure development and upgrade; and whole-of-mine operational management, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 3:05 pm

AB InBev sells Carlton subsidiary for $11bn

NYSE- and JSE-listed Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) on Friday announced it would sell its Australian subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi Group Holdings for $11.3-billion in enterprise value. As part of this transaction, AB InBev granted Asahi the rights to commercialise the portfolio of AB InBev’s global and international brands in Australia.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 2:07 pm

South Africa set to name 'bad cop' to oversee Eskom rescue

Of all the executives, government officials and consultants being recruited to tackle the mammoth task of rescuing South Africa’s state power utility, the toughest task could fall to the person who has to take it apart. President Cyril Ramaphosa last month said a soon-to-be appointed chief restructuring officer will be “expected to re-position Eskom financially with careful attention to the mix between revenue, debt and cost structure of the company.” That euphemistic job description skirts around what the person will inevitably have to do: fire thousands of workers, split it into three units and help reorganise a R440-billion debt mountain.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 2:02 pm

City's business plan to take over passenger rail service in Cape Town approved

A business plan has been approved to incrementally take over the management of the failing rail network in Cape Town, Mayor Dan Plato said. Speaking at the Integrated Urban Transformations South-South Knowledge Exchange, hosted by the City of Cape Town this week, Plato said that over the last few years, Cape Town’s public transport challenges have increased as a result of the failing national rail system and other contributing factors. 

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 1:49 pm

Plan in place to deal with ongoing electricity supply disruptions in Gauteng

The Gauteng provincial government and State-owned Eskom have agreed to implement joint action to deal with ongoing disruptions in electricity supply in several areas within the province. The provincial government, led by special adviser to the premier on service delivery and political management Eric Mxolisi Xayiya, met with Eskom’s management earlier this week to discuss the ongoing problems regarding the increasing number of repeated equipment failures in some areas of Gauteng.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 11:36 am

South African, Indian defence industries agree on areas of collaboration

The South African Aerospace Maritime and Defence Export Council (Saamdec) announced on Thursday that it had made a breakthrough in developing collaboration with the Indian defence industry. The breakthrough took the form of identifying the main areas in which Saamdec member companies will be able to collaborate with their Indian counterparts, for mutual benefit. These areas are: ammunition (small and medium calibre), artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, electronic warfare, landward weapons (especially artillery), robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles. This information was released by Saamdec CEO Sandile Ndlovu while on a Department of Trade and Industry Outward Selling Mission to India.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 11:31 am

Commission sees benefits in SAB’s takeover of Smirnoff, Guinness products

The Competition Commission has recommended the Competition Tribunal to approve a transaction whereby South African Breweries (SAB) intends to acquire the rights to a range of products from Diageo South Africa. The Diageo brands in question include Smirnoff’s ready-to-drink (RTD) products namely Storm, Guarana, Spin, Pine Twist and Berry Twist products, excluding the Smirnoff Vodka brand, as well as Guinness’ products, excluding its Foreign Extra Stout and Malta brands.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 11:29 am

Water, sanitation challenges

Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Natasha Odendaal about Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s plans to deal with corruption within the Department of Water and Sanitation, as well as the funding challenges facing the department and possible new legislation for the sector.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 10:48 am

Air Products, Jeka highlight benefits of solar rooftop installations

A solar photovoltaic roof-mounted power plant system installed at industrial and specialty chemicals supplier Air Products’ Kempton Park facility generates sufficient energy to meet between 60% and 70% of the facility’s day-time requirements, Air Products GM Maropeng Bahula says. The plant, installed by black-owned Jeka Energy, can also be expanded into a hybrid system in the future to store energy to cater for the facility’s night-time energy requirements.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 9:51 am

Pioneer’s shares rise on $1.7bn PepsiCo deal

JSE-listed Pioneer Foods’ share price rose by nearly 29% on Friday morning after the company announced the conclusion of an agreement with New York-headquartered PepsiCo, which plans to acquire all of the outstanding shares in Pioneer at R110 a share. The acquisition represents a 56% premium to the 30-day volume-weighted average prior to July 15, when Pioneer issued a cautionary announcement stating that it was in discussions regarding a potential transaction.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 9:42 am

Union reports Denel has failed to pay contributions to pension fund

Trade union Solidarity reported on Thursday that pension funds for Denel workers had not been paid to the company’s pension fund, Denret. This information had been provided by Denret. The union also reported that it had demanded that Denel provide proof of payment. Solidarity further stated that Denel management had met with unions on Thursday and had given verbal assurances that the funds had been transferred to Denret. While it welcomed these verbal assurances, Solidarity remained sceptical.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 9:17 am

Jasco’s Reflex dispute settled favourably

A dispute challenging JSE-listed Jasco Electronics' majority ownership of Reflex Solutions by the latter’s minority shareholders has been concluded, with an arbitrator having ruled in favour of Jasco. The arbitrator ruled that the cancellation by the minority shareholders of the sale of shares and shareholders' agreement was invalid and that the agreements entered into between Jasco, the minority shareholders and Reflex Solutions in 2017, as well as Jasco’s majority interest in Reflex Solutions, remain in full force and effect.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 9:02 am

How technology is starting to change logistics ecosystems

New technologies being applied to supply chains – helping to digitalise them further – can provide significant intelligence that will improve control and streamline business processes. This will be grounded in more real-time information and predictions based on analytical outputs of the data, which will assist in reducing risks while allowing for new services and capabilities.

Posted on 19 July 2019 | 7:00 am