Opportunity Issue 108

Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


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www.opportunityonline.co.za FEBRUARY/MARCH/APRIL 2024 • ISSUE <strong>108</strong><br />


More than 500 small<br />

businesses attended the<br />

inaugural South African<br />

Future Trust Summit<br />



New technology can promote<br />

sustainable mining<br />



How can retailers overcome<br />

loadshedding?<br />






Marine Protected Areas<br />

hold huge potential for<br />

the tourism sector<br />






South Africa’s oil and gas<br />

sector is welcoming investors<br />

Productive onshore gas discoveries and investment in production studies show that Petroleum Agency<br />

South Africa is hard at work promoting the case for investment into the country’s abundant resources.<br />

These are exciting times for<br />

the oil and gas sector in<br />

South Africa. The application<br />

by TotalEnergies for the<br />

right to produce off the south coast<br />

of South Africa signals an important<br />

new phase in the development and<br />

growth of the national oil and gas<br />

sector. Extensive exploration has<br />

confirmed that a significant resource<br />

lies off the coast of Mossel Bay. In 2022,<br />

Tetra4, a wholly-owned subsidiary<br />

of Renergen, started commercial<br />

production of liquid natural gas (LNG)<br />

from their plant in the northern Free<br />

State. In January 2023, the company’s<br />

helium plant became the eighth place<br />

in the world to produce that gas.<br />

These are initiatives and investments<br />

in which PASA has played a vital role,<br />

in assessing the exploration bids,<br />

in granting bids, in checking the<br />

environmental impact assessments<br />

to ensure that they comply with<br />

standards and liaising with developers<br />

in many other ways.<br />

The Virginia Gas Project, a project licensed and approved by PASA, has the potential to create<br />

an entirely new subsector within the South African oil and gas sector. Tetra4, a subsidiary of<br />

Renergen, has started delivering liquified natural gas (LNG) to customers. Credit: Renergen<br />

Facilitating investment<br />

Petroleum Agency South Africa (PASA), the custodian of the<br />

country’s oil and gas resources, and which facilitates and promotes<br />

responsible investment into the sector, sees a major role for gas in<br />

helping the country transition to cleaner energy sources. As joint<br />

host of the third annual Southern African Oil and Gas Conference<br />

held in Cape Town in September 2023, PASA unveiled the positive<br />

aspects for investors of the South African oil and gas sector, the<br />

regulatory environment and the considerable size of the resources,<br />

both onshore and offshore.<br />

Further participation at events such as the African Mining<br />

Indaba and the Africa Energy Indaba underscore the vital role<br />

that PASA plays in promoting the country as an investment<br />

destination and interacting with companies from around the<br />

world. As things stand, natural gas supplies just 3% of South<br />

Africa’s primary energy. A significant challenge facing the<br />

development of a major gas market is the dominance of coal.<br />

Opportunities for gas lie in the realisation of South Africa’s National<br />

Development Plan (NDP) and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).<br />

Helium onshore<br />

When the SpaceX rocket launched in 2021, 11 tons of helium was<br />

used to propel it off the ground. Every computer microchip in the<br />

world is produced in the presence of helium and the world uses 85<br />

tons of it every day. Although it’s a very useful element, it’s also a<br />

very difficult element. The result of that is that Renergen, the owner<br />

of the Tetra4 company that holds the first onshore petroleum<br />

production right issued by the Department of Mineral Resources<br />

and Energy (DMRE), has had to import much of its equipment and<br />

many of the skilled personnel it needs to commercialise the gas<br />

field. However, as the project ramps up production, employment<br />

numbers will increase over time. The field covers 187 000ha in the<br />

region of Virginia, Theunissen and Welkom. Hiring has increased<br />

rapidly since 2019 as the project ramps up from the first phase in

which a pilot compressed natural gas (CNG) plant was constructed<br />

in 2016. The second phase, referred to above, encompasses LNG<br />

and helium. Production of helium is expected to grow from 350kg<br />

per day to five tons in the second phase.<br />

LNG for the domestic market and helium for export from this<br />

project will create an entirely new stream of energy options<br />

for South Africa. The first sector to respond to the potential of<br />

this gas find was the logistics sector. Bulk Hauliers International<br />

Transport (BHIT) signed an agreement to take LNG to fuel 50 of its<br />

trucks, which should lead to lower operating and maintenance<br />

costs. Renergen has signed an agreement with TotalEnergies for<br />

distribution and sales and other manufacturers have since come<br />

on board. The economic spinoff of the work done by PASA is clear<br />

to see in these developments. Tetra4 has a loan from the Industrial<br />

Development Corporation to build a 107km pipeline network from<br />

Virginia and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),<br />

an agency of the US government, will lend Renergen $40-million<br />

(more than R600-million) over 12 years, further evidence of the<br />

positive economic benefits of this brand new subsector.<br />

The International Energy Association (IEA) has published<br />

a report, “Africa Energy Outlook 2022”, which deals with the<br />

balancing of Africa’s developmental needs and the urgent<br />

imperative to move away from fossil fuels. The report concludes<br />

that a balance can be achieved. A key factor in allowing Africa to<br />

continue to industrialise will be an uptick in the discovery and use<br />

of gas. If all the gas so far discovered in and off Africa was used, the<br />

continent’s share of global emissions would rise by 0.5% to 3.5%.<br />

Petroleum Agency South Africa has welcomed the report.<br />

PASA has consistently argued that South Africa’s road to net<br />

zero emissions will be via gas. As PASA noted in the context of<br />

major discoveries of oil condensate off the southern coast, the<br />

development of these discoveries has the potential to replace<br />

more than 2 300MW of diesel-fired electricity generation<br />

in Gourikwa, Dedisa and Ankerlig, thereby reducing the<br />

carbon emissions from these plants by more than 50% while<br />

eliminating sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, which<br />

are also harmful to the environment. The Agency concluded<br />

that gas is an obvious bridge to a lower-carbon future in<br />

South Africa. There are other onshore areas showing promise.<br />

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment<br />

(DFFE) in 2022 issued draft regulations to govern the process<br />

of hydraulic fracking because the underground resources of the<br />

Karoo are again in the spotlight. Various environmental studies<br />

are being done, including groundwater and geological studies.<br />

The geo-environmental baseline study for gas in Beaufort West<br />

undertaken by the Council for Geoscience has been completed<br />

and showed significant resources of shale gas. The study did not<br />

encompass any economic modelling.<br />

Great potential<br />

PASA will be responsible for the granting of any licences once<br />

the draft regulations are finalised. The Agency’s Resource<br />

Evaluation Manager, David van der Spuy, says that onshore<br />

gas holds great potential and makes a distinction between the<br />

biogenic gas discovery<br />

that Renergen are<br />

working on and other<br />

potential sources. He<br />

says, “There are other<br />

types of unconventional<br />

gas onshore, such as<br />

coal-bed methane and shale<br />

gas.” In the south-central Karoo,<br />

basin-analysis studies show potential<br />

for conventional deposits of both dry<br />

gas and wet gas. Three natural gas exploration<br />

permits have been awarded to Tosaco Energy for the sandstonerich<br />

area between Amersfoort and Balfour in the western<br />

part of Mpumalanga by Petroleum Agency South Africa. Two<br />

methane-gas exploration rights have been granted to Highland<br />

Exploration in the Evander area.<br />

In 2022 a successful bid was made to drill for gas at the site of<br />

the Majuba Power Station. Kinetiko Energy aims to supply Majuba’s<br />

20MW gas generator with fuel. Majuba is one of Eskom’s many<br />

coal-fired power stations which are facing closure in the province<br />

of Mpumalanga and one of several that might be switched to gas.<br />

Kinetiko has a further two sites where it will do exploratory<br />

drilling: one near Sasol’s Secunda synthetic fuel plant and one<br />

to the south of that. PASA will continue to promote, facilitate<br />

and regulate exploration and development of South Africa’s<br />

oil and gas resources, ensuring that sustainable development<br />

is promoted in a responsible way. A key objective is to move<br />

increasingly to development and production phases, beyond<br />

just exploration.<br />

The offshore TotalEnergies project and the onshore Renergen<br />

project encapsulate the kind of work that PASA wants to move<br />

towards, in search of economic benefit for South Africa.<br />

Onshore exploration prospects are opening up new possibilities in<br />

the Free State and the Karoo. Credit: PASA


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Contents<br />

ISSUE <strong>108</strong> | FEB/MAR/APR 2024<br />

08<br />

10<br />

16<br />

22<br />

26<br />

32<br />

36<br />



Several established corporates have joined South Africa’s most representative<br />

chamber.<br />


Minerals Council South Africa CEO Mzila Mthenjane outlines his vision for how<br />

mining can transform South Africa.<br />


An interview with Nico Jacobs, CEO of the South African Future Trust, a funder<br />

and supporter of small business. The inaugural South African Future Trust<br />

Summit was held in November 2023.<br />



A team from Webber Wentzel shows that companies demonstrating<br />

responsible and sustainable mining practices can take advantage of<br />

environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainable finance trends.<br />


Rudie Opperman, Manager for Engineering and Training, Middle East and Africa<br />

at Axis Communications, argues for sustainable mining practices.<br />


Solly Engelbrecht, National Logistics Executive at The SPAR Group, writes on the<br />

future of distribution in the retail sector.<br />

16<br />

22<br />

36<br />





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Contents<br />

ISSUE <strong>108</strong> | FEB/MAR/APR 2024<br />

44<br />

46<br />

48<br />

52<br />

56<br />

60<br />

65<br />

60<br />


Teachings from the use of mobile apps in the insurance industry has given<br />

Yaron Assabi, the founder of the Digital Solutions Group (DSG), unique insights.<br />


Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer, Dejan Kastelic, explains how “virtual<br />

wheeling” offers an alternative to loadshedding.<br />



The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) analyses the<br />

results of an international survey into environmental perceptions.<br />


Universities should be equipping students with the skills and abilities they<br />

need to thrive in the modern workplace, argues Cymbeline Harilal, Instructional<br />

Designer at The Independent Institute of Education.<br />



The MPA Day Committee, comprising representatives from nine organisations,<br />

issued this article about Marine Protected Areas to draw attention to the huge<br />

potential that these areas hold for the tourism sector.<br />


Brian Harris, General Manager: Operations at Turnberry, outlines the many<br />

benefits of gap insurance cover, not least at the time of bereavement.<br />


The latest economic data issued by SACCI: Business Confidence Index (BCI) and<br />

Trade Conditions Survey (TCS).<br />

46<br />

48<br />


Let a thousand<br />

SMMEs bloom<br />

Many people are not suited to being business owners. But for people who are<br />

willing to put up with long hours, lots of stress and tiresome paperwork, there<br />

are great potential rewards. The idea that entrepreneurship can fix South<br />

Africa’s unemployment problem, as some politicians and commentators<br />

have been suggesting, is unrealistic but small businesses can certainly get more people<br />

into work and improve lives. Entrepreneurship is a new subject at some TVET colleges<br />

and a productive area for SMMEs is in the supply chains of big companies. The support<br />

of a corporate, a mining or a retail company can take many forms: low-interest loans,<br />

equipment, advice, transport, access to land or markets and offtake agreements. South<br />

Africa also has several active incubators, helping businesses survive and thrive. One such<br />

entity is the Tholoana Enterprise Programme, which operates outside of the major supply<br />

chains and in rural areas. Backed by the SAB Foundation, Tholoana mentors owners,<br />

teaches business skills and provides access to resources. Running a business is hard work,<br />

but there is help out there for entrepreneurs who want to learn the ropes.<br />

In this issue<br />

Minerals Council South Africa CEO Mzila Mthenjane outlines his vision for how mining can<br />

transform South Africa. The sector will play a key role in the national and global transition<br />

to new energy.<br />

SMMEs are the focus of Nico Jacobs’ work as CEO of the South African Future Trust.<br />

An interview with Nico covers the transition this fund is making from being dedicated to<br />

helping businesses meet their payrolls during the Covid pandemic to having a broader<br />

remit, including consulting with SMME owners and putting them in touch with advisors.<br />

Nico also reflects on the inaugural South African Future Trust Summit.<br />

A team of legal experts from Webber Wentzel present an argument for a positive<br />

approach to the growing centrality of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues<br />

in mining. Sustainability in mining is also the subject of Rudie Opperman’s article, but his<br />

focus is technology. Opperman is well placed to discuss how mining can better utilise<br />

many new technologies to reduce environmental impact.<br />

Energy has been an important area of focus for all businesses in recent times, and<br />

retail is no exception. Solly Engelbrecht, National Logistics Executive at The SPAR Group,<br />

applies his mind to the future of distribution in the retail sector in an energy-scarce world.<br />

Localisation is among the key approaches that should be adopted to ensure a reliable<br />

power supply. Having worked on the use of mobile apps with the insurance industry,<br />

Yaron Assabi, the founder of the Digital Solutions Group (DSG), has penetrating insights<br />

into how a frictionless commerce experience can improve customer retention. Many<br />

South Africans will be interested and relieved to read that loadshedding can be beaten.<br />

Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer, Dejan Kastelic, explains how “virtual wheeling”<br />

has been trialled and tested by his company, working with Eskom.<br />

In an article about the impact of paper on forests, the Paper Manufacturers Association<br />

of South Africa (PAMSA) analyses the results of an international survey into environmental<br />

perceptions. Cymbeline Harilal, Instructional Designer at The Independent Institute of<br />

Education, contributes an article on how universities should be equipping students with<br />

the relevant skills for the modern workplace. Another article focusses on the potential<br />

South Africa’s Marine Protected Areas hold for the tourism sector.<br />

John Young, Editor<br />

8 | www.opportunityonline.co.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za<br />

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Managing Director: Clive During<br />

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submission of articles and with their advertising. All rights reserved.

57 micro<br />

enterprises accessed<br />

affordable credit.<br />

22 496 learners<br />

accessed Maths and<br />

Science content.<br />

183 449 learners<br />

accessed new digital<br />

education content.<br />

865 290 litres of<br />

clean water supplied<br />

to low-income people.<br />


Set up in 2010 as one element of the broad-based black<br />

economic empowerment transaction by the South African<br />

Breweries, the SAB Foundation is an independent trust<br />

that annually invests millions of rands towards developing<br />

entrepreneurship in South Africa.<br />

The SAB Foundation provides funding for small, medium,<br />

and micro-sized enterprises to contribute to the economic<br />

and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged<br />

persons through entrepreneurship development. The focus<br />

is on providing opportunities within small, medium, and<br />

micro-sized enterprises for women, the youth, people in<br />

rural areas, as well as people with disabilities.<br />

The SAB Foundation’s recently released 2023 annual<br />

impact report reveals a notable achievement.<br />

The entrepreneurs in the programmes achieved a<br />

business survival rate exceeding 90% over five years,<br />

and collectively generated an impressive half a billion<br />

rand in revenue from 2015 to March 2023.<br />

To read the full impact report visit: www.sabfoundation.co.za/impact


Championing the<br />

interests of business<br />

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) reflects<br />

on a transformative year and looks forward to 2024.<br />

As we bid farewell to another transformative year,<br />

the South African Chamber of Commerce and<br />

Industry (SACCI) stands as the most representative<br />

voice of business. With a legacy rooted in advocacy,<br />

collaboration and progress, SACCI continues to champion the<br />

interests of businesses across diverse sectors. SACCI, the apex<br />

chamber of commerce in the Republic of South Africa that has<br />

been in existence for 78 years, is a broadly based representative<br />

national business body.<br />

Alan Mukoki, SACCI CEO<br />

SACCI is made up of three tiers of membership:<br />

• Corporates: large multinationals and national companies, most<br />

of which are JSE listed.<br />

• National associations: the industry-specific bodies that<br />

represent various groups of professionals in the country.<br />

• Chambers: this tier of membership consists of town<br />

and city chambers throughout the country as well as a<br />

few township chambers. Under this tier we also host the<br />

approximately 20 000 SMMEs that are also members of<br />

SACCI via the chamber they are affiliated to.<br />

Seven pillars that drive the organisation:<br />

• Inclusive economic growth and employment creation<br />

• Constructive public and private stakeholder engagement<br />

• Entrepreneurship<br />

• Infrastructure “The four lines to heaven”<br />

• Continental development in Africa and CFTA<br />

• Revenue generation<br />

• Membership rewards and benefits<br />

Services<br />

• Policy: Legislation and regulation<br />

• Business Confidence Index (BCI): A report that measures the<br />

business confidence in the South African economy at any<br />

given time<br />

• Trade Conditions Survey (TCS): A comprehensive overview<br />

of retail sales and goods imported and exported for the time<br />

period covered<br />

• Small Business Growth Index (SBGI): Introduced in 2023 in<br />

partnership with the Bureau of Market Research (BMR), the SBGI<br />

tracks small business growth and development<br />

• Facilitation of trade delegations: Successful trade delegations<br />

into South Africa<br />

• Networking and business-to-business linkages<br />

• ATA Carnet and Certificates of Origin<br />

• Interventions with government, legislators or regulators on<br />

behalf of members<br />

• Events coordination and management<br />

• Rewards and benefits<br />

• Ministers’ breakfasts<br />

• Women in Business cocktail event<br />

• Corporate Forum, Chamber and Association Forums<br />

• Political dialogue<br />

In 2023, South Africa,<br />

represented by SACCI,<br />

chaired the Trade and<br />

Investment Working<br />

Group of the BRICS<br />

Business Council. SACCI<br />

President Advocate Mtho<br />

Xulu at the podium<br />

10 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Looking ahead in 2024<br />

As we gaze into the future, SACCI is committed to<br />

spearheading initiatives that will contribute to a resilient<br />

and thriving business environment. SACCI invites<br />

businesses of all sizes to join hands in shaping the future.<br />

Your participation, insights and collaboration are integral<br />

to our collective success. As we reflect on the milestones<br />

of the past year, we express gratitude to our members,<br />

partners and stakeholders for their unwavering support.<br />

SACCI looks forward to a promising 2024 where together,<br />

we will navigate challenges and create opportunities for<br />

the prosperity of South African businesses. We will continue<br />

to foster relationship and partnership. Below is the list of<br />

Corporate members that have recently joined SACCI.<br />

Karpowership South Africa<br />

Karpowership is a global company that owns and<br />

operates the world’s largest and only floating power<br />

plant fleet of 36 Powerships providing over 5 000MW<br />

of power across Latin America. Karpowership South<br />

Africa is a fully empowered local entity that has been<br />

established to deliver LNG-to-power energy solutions<br />

to the country.<br />

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa<br />

CCBA is the eighth-largest bottling partner worldwide by<br />

revenue and the biggest on the continent, accounting for<br />

about 40% of all Coca-Cola volumes sold in Africa. They<br />

employ more than 17 000 people and the 40 bottling<br />

plants service over 680 000 customer outlets. CCBA<br />

is a proud industry leader in developing increasingly<br />

sustainable ways to manufacture, distribute and sell its<br />

products. Their aim is to create greater shared opportunity<br />

for the business and the communities served across the<br />

value chain.<br />

Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone<br />

The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone<br />

(TASEZ) is Africa’s first automotive city, an industrial<br />

hub that provides investors with a wide range of<br />

offerings to help their business flourish. SEZs were set<br />

up to accelerate South Africa’s industrial development<br />

by helping promote industrial agglomeration, build<br />

the required industrial infrastructure, promote<br />

coordinated planning among key government<br />

agencies and the private sector and guide the<br />

deployment of other necessary development tools.<br />

The hub has easy access to a strong consumer base,<br />

as well as connectivity to both suppliers and potential<br />

markets, including beyond South Africa’s borders.<br />

Mazars South Africa<br />

Mazars is a leading international audit, tax and advisory<br />

firm. Audit has been at the core of Mazars expertise for<br />

more than 70 years. This is complemented by a balanced<br />

portfolio of consulting and financial advisory, as well as tax,<br />

compliance and legal services, to support clients’ evolving<br />

needs. The company’s operating model is democratic and<br />

transparent, both internally and externally. The direction<br />

of Mazars is devolved to the Group Executive Board, with<br />

members elected every four years. This is supported by a<br />

Group Governance Council which, among other things,<br />

ensures that ethical rules are always adhered to, in all the<br />

company does.<br />

Uber Technologies Inc<br />

Uber Technologies, Inc provides ride-hailing services,<br />

food delivery and freight transport. Uber for Business<br />

gives your organisation more control, deeper insights<br />

and features built for enterprise users. Manage and<br />

track business travel, meal<br />

programmes and more on one<br />

dashboard.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 11


Wesvaal Chamber of Business<br />

A forum for understanding and a channel for business leadership.<br />

Kgotso Mmadi, President of Wesvaal Chamber of Business<br />

The Wesvaal Chamber of Business is a registered non-profit<br />

organisation, situated in Klerksdorp, North West. WCOB is<br />

a unique regional business organisation and a steadfast<br />

rallying point for those who believe, like our founders,<br />

that strengthening commercial ties among businesses is not only<br />

good for business but good for global living standards and good<br />

for peace. To that end, WCOB provides a forum for businesses<br />

and other organisations to examine and better comprehend the<br />

nature and significance of the major shifts taking place in the world<br />

economy. We also offer an influential and respected channel for<br />

supplying business leadership to help governments manage<br />

those shifts in a collaborative manner for the benefit of the city’s<br />

economy. While policy advocacy is a major part of WCOB work,<br />

everything else we do is also devoted to promoting regional trade<br />

and investment. Indeed, much of our work is of a very practical<br />

nature, focussed on making it easier for business to operate within<br />

the City of Matlosana. We remain convinced that the core values<br />

that led to the creation of WCOB over 123 years ago are as relevant<br />

today as they were then. Those values will continue to provide a<br />

compass for our efforts on behalf of business.<br />

Six core priority focus areas<br />

• Lobby<br />

• Advocate<br />

• Championing<br />

• Civil society coalition<br />

• Persuasion<br />

• Pressure<br />

Board composition<br />

The members of the Wesvaal Business Chamber Board are led by<br />

Kgotso Mmadi as President. Ben Mosala serves as Deputy President.<br />

Mrs Dorette Bosman, as Secretary, and Mr Daddy Khuselo both<br />

serve as independent non-executive board members.The board<br />

gives strategic direction in achieving the mission of influencing the<br />

factors and key stakeholders that create a competitive enabling<br />

business environment for our members.<br />

Additional services offered<br />

• Advertise member companies through the Wesvaal<br />

Chamber Network<br />

• Affidavits for EMEs<br />

• Business services<br />

• Conference centre<br />

• Employee health, wellness, safety advice and support<br />

• Enterprise development beneficiary status<br />

• Enterprise development department<br />

• Human resource services<br />

• Policy and advocacy<br />

• Exclusive Wesvaal Chamber member benefits, SACCI aligned<br />

• International business department<br />

• Seminar and workshops<br />

• Where big meets small: enabling enterprise development<br />

through collective development<br />

• Networking and core business events<br />

• Business newsletters<br />

Influential speakers<br />

Several influential speakers have addressed WCOB meetings,<br />

including Advocate Gerrie Nel, Dr Somadoda Fikeni, Prof<br />

Bonang Mohale, Mr Sello Hatang and Prof Raymond Parsons<br />

Our commitment to work with government is unequivocal as<br />

we have good relations with City of Matlosana to the extent that<br />

Prof Raymond Parsons is willing to address both the municipal<br />

troika as well as its top management to share how to improve<br />

conditions. A notable event was the opportunity to be addressed<br />

by the MEC of Health in the North West, an event sponsored by<br />

Sanlam, Dephetogo Security, SAIBA (currently known as CIBA) and<br />

AVBOB. The event was covered by SABC. WCOB participated in a<br />

gala dinner organised by Elite Bikers to raise funds for CSI projects<br />

and the event was graced by the presence of Adv Mthu Xulu,<br />

the President of SACCI. Our<br />

affiliation to SACCI opens<br />

opportunities for our members<br />

to interact with businesses<br />

across the globe. We have<br />

also partnered with the Pan<br />

African Chamber and our<br />

relationship will see a number<br />

of our members benefiting<br />

from such a partnership. In<br />

2024 the Pan African Chamber<br />

will offer training to women in<br />

construction, leadership and<br />

agriculture.<br />

Contact details<br />

Wesvaal Chamber of Business | 46 Kieriehout Street, Ext 6 Jouberton, Klerksdorp 2574<br />

Website: www.wesvaalchamber.org<br />

Telephone: 079 505 9545<br />

12 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Africa Moving Services<br />

Africa Moving Services offers experience and<br />

efficiency in safely delivering cargo for the mining sector.<br />


ESTABLISHED 2021<br />

Africa Moving Services is a black female-owned<br />

logistics company B-BBEE level 1 contributor based<br />

in Johannesburg, South Africa, with 30 years of<br />

experience in providing specialised logistics services<br />

to the mining industry.<br />

Global supply-chain solutions<br />

The company has expert knowledge of the unique challenges<br />

and requirements involved in transporting mining equipment,<br />

machinery and materials. We pride ourselves on our ability<br />

to efficiently coordinate and execute complex, large-scale<br />

logistics operations, ensuring that all cargo is safely and securely<br />

transported to its destination. With a strong commitment to quality<br />

and customer satisfaction, Africa Moving Services has established<br />

itself as a trusted partner for companies in the mining sector,<br />

delivering reliable and tailored logistics solutions. Africa Moving<br />

Services is committed to black economic empowerment by<br />

sourcing and supporting black SMME companies, thus speeding<br />

up the process of empowering black business. We believe in<br />

creating opportunities for black entrepreneurs and providing<br />

them with the necessary resources and support to thrive in the<br />

business world. By partnering with these companies, we not only<br />

contribute to the growth of our economy but also foster a more<br />

inclusive and diverse business landscape. Our commitment to<br />

black economic empowerment is not just a box to check, but a<br />

core value that drives our decision-making and actions.<br />

Mission<br />

Our mission is to provide superior-quality customer experience<br />

to our clients. We strive to exceed their expectations by<br />

delivering exceptional products and services. Additionally,<br />

we are committed to creating growth and development<br />

opportunities for our employees, empowering them to reach<br />

their full potential.<br />

We are dedicated to practicing sustainable business methods,<br />

both environmentally and socially, while upholding strong<br />

governance principles.<br />

Services<br />

• Project solutions: Professional assessment and advice<br />

• Air and sea logistics: Import and exports; multimodal<br />

shipments<br />

• International crosstrade: International partner network ensures<br />

efficiency and cost-effectiveness<br />

• Roadfreight: Efficient transportation analysis for the best route;<br />

local and cross-border services SADC region<br />

• Procurement: Professional analysis; vetting of potential<br />

suppliers; placing orders on behalf of client<br />

• Warehousing: Facilities available: inbound and outbound<br />

management<br />

• Consulting: Route surveys; permit applications (import, export,<br />

police, Certificates of Origin, vanning and lashing); surveyor<br />

reports; in country compliance and regulations<br />

Contact details<br />

Barbara-Anne Webster: Director<br />

Cellphone: 082 949 2169<br />

Email: Barbara.webster@africamoving.com<br />

Faizel Ludick: CFO<br />

Cellphone: 082 450 3287<br />

Email: Faizel.ludick@africamoving.com<br />

Website: www.africamoving.com<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 13

News & snippets<br />

Industry insights from the past quarter<br />

Ithuba Valves develops innovative Butterfly valve<br />

Ithuba Valves and Industrial Supplies has developed an innovative Butterfly valve equipped<br />

with ranges from 1 000mm to 2 800mm (PHOENIX Butterfly Valve). Its features include<br />

a dish disk that reduces the weight of the valve by 20%. The valve is able to handle<br />

seven to 10 litres of fluid a second. Ithuba Valves and Industrial Supplies has gained a<br />

strong reputation as a manufacturer of waterworks valves, being able to create valves<br />

to customers’ specifications from its dedicated workshop and factory in Alberton. Ithuba<br />

Valves and Industrial Supplies is the only Level 2 BBBEE company that specialises in design,<br />

manufacturing, refurbishment, installation, removal and supply of waterworks valves.<br />

Clients include Rand Water, Eskom, the Department of Water and Sanitation and Umgeni<br />

Water. For the Mohale Tunnel component of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, Ithuba<br />

Valves designed and installed a wedge-gate valve that would last a lifetime.<br />

Efficient stoves to combat climate change<br />

Standard Bank has finalised an agreement to support The African Stove Company (TASC) with funding<br />

for its South African operations. This carbon-credit project is designed to combat climate change and<br />

simultaneously drive positive social outcomes in rural areas. The facility provides TASC with funding to<br />

support its socially orientated projects. The company’s revenue stream is derived from selling carbon<br />

credits issued in terms of emission reductions that will result from rural communities using about<br />

680 000 cookstoves donated by the company to South African communities. The efficient stoves<br />

reduce the amount of wood needed to fuel the stoves. This reduces the emission of greenhouse gases,<br />

particularly carbon dioxide, and helps preserve biodiversity. Costs and cooking times are reduced, bringing<br />

tangible benefits to communities. The dangers of cooking on an open fire are also avoided. TASC generates<br />

carbon credits as a result of the reduction in carbon emissions from the use of the cookstoves and the<br />

distribution of cookstoves is funded by the sale of carbon credits to companies that want to contribute to<br />

combatting climate change and offset their emissions.<br />

Swoop Funding lands in South Africa<br />

Swoop Funding launched in South Africa in 2023, a strategic expansion made possible with the<br />

support of Sage and Enterprise Ireland. Ciaran Burke, co-founder of Swoop Funding, expresses his<br />

enthusiasm, "We are thrilled to introduce Swoop to South Africa, a country teeming with potential<br />

and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. Our platform is designed to be a catalyst for positive change,<br />

offering a lifeline to businesses facing financial challenges." Swoop connects businesses to a spectrum<br />

of funding options, including loans, equity investment and grants. This holistic approach ensures that<br />

businesses can access the right type of finance tailored to their unique needs, fostering growth and<br />

sustainability. Among Swoop’s earliest funding successes is Growing Paper, a South African company<br />

that produces handmade, biodegradable paper embedded with seeds.<br />

Back row: Eimear Costigan, Wesgro; Austin Gormley, Irish Ambassador; Nicola Kelly, Enterprise Ireland SA.<br />

Front row: Ciaran Burke, Swoop; Elricco Govindasamy, Sage; Alastair Woods, Swoop SA.<br />

14 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

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| Hilton Baartman +27 72 715 3044 hilton@hallcorewater.com


A catalyst for South Africa’s<br />

economic development<br />

Minerals Council South Africa CEO Mzila Mthenjane outlines his vision for how mining<br />

can transform South Africa. From playing a role in supplying the materials needed<br />

for infrastructure development to helping the country transition to a greener future,<br />

mining can play a primary role in putting South Africa on a path to prosperity.<br />

How have your first months in office been?<br />

I completed my “First100 days” at the end of November 2023 with,<br />

among other things, board approval of our strategic goals and a<br />

budget for the following year. I was pleased with the outcome.<br />

The transition was seamless given the extensive support that I<br />

received from my predecessor (he really helped me a lot in the<br />

process before I formally took over on 21 August 2023), the board,<br />

management team and family. Overall, it has been a “no-regret”<br />

and I remain extremely excited about the role and the prospects<br />

for the industry and the country. From a governance perspective,<br />

we have a board of directors selected from the members and five<br />

Office Bearers consisting of the President and four Deputies who<br />

are selected from the board.<br />

What are your goals as CEO?<br />

Firstly, my vision considers where we are as a country and the role<br />

that I believe the mining industry can play. As a primary industry,<br />

I maintain that it can be a catalyst for South Africa’s economic<br />

development, treated with intentionality to instil change and<br />

progress. We have a country that needs significant infrastructure<br />

development, not only in current terms relating to Eskom and<br />

Transnet, but beyond that in terms of road infrastructure,<br />

human settlements, communication and the need to connect<br />

our cities through all modes of mobility. That is going to need<br />

materials which mining is best positioned to provide. I have a<br />

vision of growth in mining output across several commodities,<br />

which can really transform South Africa in terms of the economy<br />

and social progress to a modern, culturally diverse and naturally<br />

beautiful country. At the same time, given the imperative for an<br />

energy transition, mining has an important role to enable the<br />

country to transition to a low-carbon future. Firstly, in terms of<br />

the production of the minerals required for light and resilient<br />

materials and green technologies. More importantly, in terms of<br />

the “Just Energy Transition”, the economic stimulus from mining<br />

will provide economic opportunities that create the foundation<br />

for a transition to a better life. It’s an industry that I am very<br />

passionate about in terms of the positive<br />

social, economic and environmental<br />

impact that it can have on the lives of<br />

South Africans.<br />

16 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Going beyond extraction?<br />

Absolutely, it is more than just about digging holes in the ground. It<br />

really is carrying the soul of people and transporting to a new future.<br />

What will tell us that a Just Energy Transition is in fact occurring?<br />

That expression, “Just Energy Transition”, requires elaboration. From<br />

an energy perspective, a Just Energy Transition first and foremost<br />

considers the fact that our current energy systems are largely based on<br />

coal. More than 75% of our electricity is coal-based and that remains a<br />

valuable energy and economic resource for South Africa. The whole value<br />

chain of electricity generation from coal mining to coal burning cannot<br />

be immediately abandoned. The potential negative impact of rapidly<br />

reducing coal inputs without consideration of the social and economic<br />

impact, would be unjust.<br />

How we adopt and adapt to new energy systems is important and a<br />

Just Transition would be occurring where we plan for continued (albeit<br />

declining rate of) use of coal but at the same time, we also plan to install<br />

renewables much more aggressively than we’re doing currently. In terms<br />

of generation capacity, we must be clear on what is viable and what is not.<br />

What are the possibilities of renewables? We should be ambitious and bold<br />

in terms of our renewable energy goals across a range of technologies,<br />

considering the constraints in terms of grid-scale storage, transmission<br />

limitations, sentiments towards nuclear energy and the pace of regulatory<br />

changes towards further democratisation of electricity management.<br />

The second part on the Just Transition is to look at the social aspect, ie<br />

how the shift in energy technologies is going to cause a shift to new skills<br />

and capabilities as well as livelihoods. We should not abandon people in<br />

current employment and in locations where coal-based mining and energy<br />

activities are based. We need to apply our minds to the social setting where<br />

coal is and how that is going to change (and needs to change). What are<br />

the alternative livelihoods? What are the new economic opportunities<br />

that we can create and invest in that will sustain livelihoods?<br />

Are you still engaged in the work of the Impact Catalyst?<br />

I have been Chairman of the Impact Catalyst for the past three years.<br />

The entity was created from the vision and anticipation of livelihoods<br />

beyond mining. Mines are transitionary by nature. What alternative<br />

economic opportunities can be developed when the mineral resource<br />

has been exhausted? This consideration must start while the current<br />

mines are functioning and generating a source of revenue to invest in<br />

future economies. In addition, future mine sites must be developed in a<br />

manner that will have minimum impact on livelihoods compared to today.<br />

The Northern Cape is attracting mining investment.<br />

Credit: Vedanta Zinc International<br />

Anglo Platinum’s hydrogen truck is the result of<br />

collaborations which are likely to increase within the<br />

sector in the years ahead. Credit: Anglo American<br />

Is there within the Minerals Council a desk<br />

dealing with the Just Energy Transition?<br />

The Just Energy Transition is multi-faceted and it can never be located in one<br />

place, so each one of us, in different ways contributes to the conversation and<br />

activities related to the JET. One of our senior executives is a commissioner<br />

on the Presidential Climate Commission.<br />

What is the potential for South Africa to help the<br />

world transition to a lower-carbon future?<br />

The significance of South Africa’s mining industry to the domestic and global<br />

socio-economic setting remains unquestionable. It starts with the role it can<br />

Richards Bay Coal Terminal is a key<br />

component of the logistics chain that<br />

ensures South Africa’s minerals can be<br />

exported. Credit: RBCT


play in terms of economic development and transition. Some<br />

of the basic materials that we are already mining, such as iron<br />

ore and manganese for input into steel production, as well as<br />

limestone for cement and various other materials remain critical<br />

to ensuring that we are able to build that foundation for ongoing<br />

development and economic success. On top of that, there is a huge<br />

technology drive to explore and develop green minerals. South<br />

Africa also is endowed with minerals that are critical to a lowcarbon<br />

future. Manganese is one of those. With the development<br />

of battery technology, it will grow in its importance. (Light)<br />

Steel is fundamental to infrastructure, and infrastructure that is<br />

adaptable to a low-carbon future and a future where we must<br />

adapt to higher temperatures. South Africa is well-endowed with<br />

large vanadium resources and reserves, which are also important<br />

in battery technology. And of course, we have the platinum group<br />

metals (PGMs). In addition to applications for auto catalysts and<br />

jewellery, PGMs will play an important role in the development of<br />

hydrogen as an energy source. These are just some of the mineral<br />

commodities that South Africa is going to be contributing to this<br />

pool of green metals.<br />

I assume you welcome Bushveld Energy working on<br />

vanadium redox flow batteries in East London?<br />

That’s the kind of innovation we need.<br />

Where else should we be looking for innovation?<br />

There’s lots of work being done looking at hydrogen as a source of<br />

energy. Partnerships include PGM suppliers, Sasol, development<br />

capital providers such as the IDC and domestic and offshore<br />

hydrogen technology developers. I am looking forward to what<br />

will come out of that.<br />

Do you see partnerships as key?<br />

The future and future success is really going to be about<br />

collaborations; we will not reach it alone. I would like to use, as an<br />

example, Anglo Platinum and the hydrogen truck that they built.<br />

They produce PGMs and require more efficient ways of mining. They<br />

brought together partners to collaborate on a solution where it has<br />

access to technology that will create a cost, energy and carbonefficient<br />

truck for its mining applications. It hasn’t abandoned its<br />

mining to focus on hydrogen. We are going to see a lot more of that<br />

in terms of mining becoming a platform for developing innovative<br />

mining solutions without miners necessarily abandoning their core<br />

business activities.<br />

Is South Africa going to be in a position to take<br />

advantage of the potential green minerals boom?<br />

That’s a fantastic question. It is really the current challenge now. We<br />

need to resolve some key issues in the value chain to ensure that<br />

we don’t lose out on the emerging critical minerals commodity<br />

boom, again. One of the biggest challenges is around the<br />

legislative environment in enabling investment into exploration.<br />

You know about the constraints related to the cadastral system<br />

and the slow pace at which exploration and mining permits are<br />

being processed. That’s a huge trap of capital that is waiting to<br />

be invested for the development of new mines and realisation of<br />

enormous value. From a mine-development capability and skills<br />

perspective, the industry is ready and able. Mining is a global<br />

business and South Africa has exported many mining skills to<br />

international mining destinations. We can attract and return these<br />

capabilities to stimulate and grow our industry.<br />

What is the problem with the cadastral system<br />

and are you hopeful that it will be fixed?<br />

Not only hopeful, but it is an imperative that we fix the situation and<br />

have an effective system installed. That is the only option. In terms<br />

of the outstanding applications for prospecting and mining, the<br />

cadastral system should enable the whole process of application<br />

and approval to happen with ease on the part of the potential<br />

investor before they invest any money towards exploration drilling<br />

and developing a mine. It is an off-the-shelf system which has<br />

been installed by many other African countries that are developing<br />

their mineral potential. It is quick to install and is user-friendly as<br />

we have seen in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi, to<br />

name just some of our neighbours.<br />

The Council for Geoscience is remapping South Africa<br />

and Petroleum Agency South Africa is searching<br />

for new sources of gas; would it help them too?<br />

Exactly. Where there is a desire to find commodities for exploration,<br />

whether it is oil or gas or minerals, it is a system that can be applied<br />

to all of those commodities.<br />

Are more mining companies going to start<br />

generating their own energy?<br />

I take a step back, and see this is an immediate risk management<br />

strategy, but for the long term I don’t think it is something that will<br />

necessarily become a core part of their business unless the miner<br />

abandons mining and then reinvents themselves as a renewable or<br />

an energy company. While mining companies must contend with<br />

uncertainty of electricity supply from Eskom, they will invest in<br />

generating their own electricity for security of supply. Further, the<br />

cost of electricity has been increasing and so self-generation plays<br />

an additional role of reducing the cost of business. That investment<br />

is going to play an important role in maintaining the global cost<br />

competitiveness of our mines.<br />

But they won’t be selling into the grid, will they?<br />

They will invest for what they need and there’s a third component<br />

in terms of reducing their own carbon emissions because they will<br />

be taking less of Eskom’s electricity.<br />

Carbon efficiency will add to their global competitiveness. With<br />

time, as electricity generation supply becomes stable, I foresee<br />

value-unlocking opportunities emerging where mines have<br />

invested in self-generation installations. A lot of these installations<br />

could be the basis of new energy companies, where the mining<br />

company pays a tariff to get access to that electricity and they get<br />

the investment off their balance sheet.<br />

18 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


There seems to be quite a bit of foreign<br />

interest in the Northern Cape?<br />

The foreign interest is widespread. Vedanta, from a base metals and<br />

zinc perspective, has been present in the country for a while and<br />

they’re really just consolidating around that asset in the Northern<br />

Cape. Given the long-term positive sentiment towards mineral<br />

commodities, including zinc, they continue to invest. In terms of<br />

other commodities, junior miners are very active, looking for new<br />

opportunities and the Northern Cape is one of those areas that still<br />

has huge opportunities for further exploration beyond what it is<br />

already known in iron ore and manganese.<br />

The Minerals Council website references women in<br />

mining and several events related to that subject.<br />

Women in Mining is not an event; it is who and the way we are<br />

and the way we work. Beyond the context of transformation in<br />

South Africa, in mining, our members have invested significant<br />

amounts of change effort to increase the participation of women in<br />

the workplace across all levels of mining, currently standing at 15%<br />

of the mining workforce. We are led from the top by Ms Nolitha<br />

Fakude as the President of the Minerals Council South Africa,<br />

which represents members for 90% of the mineral production of<br />

South Africa and close to 5% of the formal sector workforce. Large<br />

corporate agents of transformation in the mining sector, such as<br />

Exxaro Resources and Kumba Iron Ore, are led by women CEOs, Dr<br />

Nombasa Tsengwa and Ms Mpumi Zikalala, respectively. So, at the<br />

leadership level we are making good progress. The representation<br />

and participation goes deeper into various levels of our member<br />

organisations. What’s also been pleasing is that as technology<br />

improves, the emphasis has been less on (literally) manpower,<br />

which has allowed more women to participate at the “mine face”<br />

where production takes place. As an industry we are focused on<br />

diversifying the workplace, harnessing the full potential of human<br />

capability to maximise value creation and ensuring that everyone<br />

who participates in mining thrives economically and socially.<br />

Please tell us about the Mandela Mining Precinct.<br />

The Mandela Mining Precinct is one of our pride and joys. It is a<br />

private-public partnership between ourselves and the Department<br />

of Science and Innovation through the CSIR. It focusses on how we<br />

continue to modernise mining in all respects. It is innovation, not<br />

only from a technical perspective but also in terms of how people<br />

interact with technology and how technology is used to enhance<br />

the capability of people. It is also looking into the future in terms<br />

of what are the future needs of society which mining can fulfil. The<br />

research done today in order to prepare for the future. And it is led<br />

by a woman, Ms Julie Courtnage, I should add.<br />

Any final thoughts on the mining sector today?<br />

In order to get to the position where the mining industry can<br />

play the role that we want to play, it is important that we fix the<br />

challenges that the mining industry is faced with. We often say<br />

that the challenges of Transnet and Eskom present an existential<br />

crisis, not only to the mining industry but to the economy of South<br />

Africa. The mining industry is playing a role in ensuring that we<br />

address these critical areas to remain globally competitive. We<br />

are working very closely with government and the rest of South<br />

Africa’s business in ensuring that Eskom performs effectively and<br />

efficiently in terms of delivery of electricity. We’re very pleased<br />

with the reforms that have been announced to date and we look<br />

forward to implementation sooner rather than later.<br />

Equally with Transnet, stabilising performance is going<br />

to contribute significantly to arresting the decline in mining<br />

output that we’ve seen recently and that will provide for<br />

confidence and certainty in terms of reinvesting in mining and<br />

planning for growth. The reforms do need to be executed with<br />

speed and at scale because of the impact that they are going to<br />

have on confidence in mining and other sector investment and<br />

consequent employment creation. It will generate revenue for<br />

the fiscus and the combination of these is a stimulus into the<br />

economy which will then begin to see the economy perform<br />

well above the current levels of 0.5% of GDP growth, to the<br />

national ambition above 6%. Lastly, to inspire confidence and a<br />

sense of well-being and safety in the rest of society, we are also<br />

playing a big role in eliminating crime and corruption, because<br />

that is affecting the whole economy and many aspects of our<br />

lives. The expected outcome is greater security for people,<br />

households and business assets and freedom of movement<br />

which will provide for thriving livelihoods and economy.<br />

Therefore, these three areas remain a critical priority for us to<br />

continue to focus on and deliver during this year, which I call<br />

“2024 Forward and Upward”.<br />


Mzila I Mthenjane is the CEO of the Minerals Council South<br />

Africa, the advocacy and impact group whose members<br />

represent 90% of South Africa’s mineral output and employ<br />

close to 480 000 people. He was previously the Executive<br />

Head for Stakeholder Affairs at Exxaro Resources Limited.<br />

He has more than 30 years’ combined experience in<br />

the resources business (gold, platinum and coal) and<br />

investment banking (Corporate and Project Finance). He<br />

has held various board positions as non-executive director<br />

in various entities including Pamodzi Gold Limited, Fraser<br />

Alexander, Impact Catalyst, Merafe Resources and the<br />

Student Support Programme. He is the current Chairman of<br />

the Board of the Impact Catalyst and is the former Chairman<br />

of the Wits University Mining Engineers Association<br />

(WUMEA) and the former President of the South African<br />

Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). He holds a<br />

BSc degree in Mining Engineering from the University of<br />

Witwatersrand (Wits) and has completed various leadership<br />

development training programmes.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 19


Protection<br />

through coordination<br />

The newly formed Border Management Authority has quickly set to work.<br />

The value of South Africa’s newest law enforcement<br />

authority was underlined in the first week of December<br />

2023 and continued during the Festive Season operations<br />

when various interventions were made at the ports of<br />

entry managed by the Border Management Authority (BMA). The<br />

Border Management Festive Season period comprised 43 days<br />

from 6 December 2023 to 18 January 2024. More than five-million<br />

people who travelled through the ports were facilitated by the<br />

BMA this festive season, an increase from the number of fourmillion<br />

seen in the 2022 Festive Season. The BMA will continue with<br />

increased movement of travellers during the Easter holiday period.<br />

The BMA operated in a coordinated approach to manage and<br />

control movement at our borders. Last year to deal with the<br />

expected rush on South Africa’s borders during the Christmas<br />

holidays, an additional 380 personnel were deployed to the<br />

country’s busiest ports of entry. Additionally, the BMA also<br />

strategically deployed Border Guards at the 10 vulnerable<br />

segments along the country’s border line of Beit Bridge,<br />

Lebombo, Oshoek, Maseru, Ficksburg, Sani Pass and Telle Bridge<br />

ports of entry. The Border Guards work closely with members<br />

of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at the<br />

identified vulnerable segments. This resulted in the detection<br />

and deportation of 27 005 individuals who were attempting to<br />

enter South Africa illegally. A number of entities work together<br />

to keep the country’s borders secure, and joint sting operations<br />

and roadblocks are a good example of some of the interventions.<br />

<strong>Issue</strong>s such as health, agricultural security and the environment<br />

are all part of the equation. In these areas, through detection and<br />

interception, BMA agriculture, health and environmental specialists<br />

work to prevent any threats as they seize illegal products from<br />

entering South Africa.<br />

Among the entities involved in border management are the<br />

South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National<br />

Defence Force (SANDF), South African Revenue Service (customs<br />

and revenue collection) and various government entities looking<br />

at immigration. The BMA is the coordinating authority on border<br />

security and major successes have been recorded. From drugs,<br />

cars, illegal products, undocumented persons, etc have all been<br />

prevented from entering the country through our ports.<br />

Coordination vital<br />

As Dr Masiapato says, “Our aim was<br />

to move away from a multiagency<br />

approach and become an integrated<br />

border management platform for the<br />

implementation of border laws of<br />

South Africa.” Where before a person<br />

entering South Africa or wanting to<br />

trade across international boundaries<br />

into the country would be subject<br />

to various procedures and protocols<br />

from a variety of agencies, the BMA is<br />

the main point of contact and is in a<br />

position to standardise operations. “The<br />

key vision is to have all those various<br />

procedures integrated into a single<br />

standard operating procedure to bring<br />

seamless movement of trade across the<br />

20 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Republic,” notes the Commissioner. Dr Masiapato continues, “Also,<br />

to ensure that as we streamline the movement of trade between<br />

us and our neighbouring jurisdictions and among the broader<br />

global community, we look after the country’s national security<br />

and interest and protect the Republic from any infiltration of<br />

undesirable individuals or even commodities that are a threat to<br />

the country’s sustenance.”<br />

A more centralised and efficient system will help to iron out the<br />

bureaucracy that might have delayed operations at the various<br />

ports of entry, something which was not beneficial to the country’s<br />

trading environment and reputation. The BMA aims to streamline<br />

procedures with the aim of promoting and facilitating better<br />

trading conditions. Comments Dr Masiapato, “One of the biggest<br />

upsides of an efficiently functioning BMA will be to improve trade<br />

between South Africa and its neighbours.” Agents at ports of entry<br />

(land, air and sea) will be trained in a risk-based approach, intended<br />

to improve the chances of being able to identify individuals who<br />

should be intercepted and prevented from committing criminal<br />

activities. South Africa has 52 land ports of entry, together with<br />

10 international airports and nine seaports. The land border<br />

alone is more than 4 800km long and so the task of policing and<br />

administering the border is a big one.<br />

The BMA is South Africa’s third armed law enforcement<br />

authority, together with the South African Police Service<br />

and the South African National Defence Force, and as such<br />

reports to President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Commander<br />

in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic.<br />

Qualified personnel<br />

The first person to carry the title of Commissioner and CEO of<br />

the BMA is Dr Mike Masiapato, who brings to the task more than<br />

two decades of experience within national intelligence. He is a<br />

twice-qualified doctor with PhD degrees in Public Management<br />

and Governance. Having been appointed to senior positions in<br />

the military, the police services, civilian intelligence and financial<br />

intelligence, Dr Masiapato has deep experience of the kinds of<br />

threats and challenges to national security that South Africa faces.<br />

Jane Thupana is Deputy Commissioner: Corporate Services. The<br />

latest post that she held prior to her secondment to the BMA<br />

was Executive Chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board<br />

of South Africa. Having worked in executive positions within the<br />

public sector for more than 20 years, Thupana has Master’s degrees<br />

in Public Administration and Business Leadership, a diploma in<br />

Developmental Studies and a degree in Geography. She is known<br />

as an independent researcher and an expert in governance.<br />

The other Deputy Commissioner is responsible for Operations.<br />

In that field, General David Chilembe (Retired), is eminently<br />

qualified, having been in charge of border policing for a decade<br />

and a half. He has a BTech in policing, a postgraduate degree in<br />

management and rose to the rank of Major-General within the<br />

South African Police Service (SAPS).<br />

General David Chilembe, Deputy Commissioner: Operations<br />

(left), with fellow Deputy Commissioner: Corporate Services, MJJ<br />

Thupana, and Commissioner Dr Masiapato.<br />

For more information on the Border Management Authority,<br />

contact www.bma.gov.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 21


The inaugural South African<br />

Future Trust Summit<br />

was a great success<br />

CEO Nico Jacobs reflects on the event and outlines how the South African Future Trust is redirecting<br />

its operations to encourage and support entrepreneurs, having started life as a Covid-support fund.<br />

Biography<br />

Nico Jacobs, CEO of the South African Future Trust, has<br />

vast corporate experience across retail, finance, FMCG and<br />

telecommunications. During his tenure as Head of the Small<br />

Business Banking Division of a large commercial bank, he<br />

produced a documentary on the five key qualities of successful<br />

business owners. He has a passion for entrepreneurship with<br />

business interests across the manufacturing, engineering,<br />

technology, property, agriculture and craft sectors.<br />

Pictured at the South African Future Trust Summit, left to right,<br />

Nico Jacobs, SAFT CEO, two beneficiaries of the Trust, and<br />

Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Oppenheimer Generations<br />

Foundation, a founder of the Trust.<br />

How did the South African Future Trust come into being?<br />

The Oppenheimers generously donated R1-billion with<br />

some partners to Covid relief: it went to small business staff<br />

members’ accounts. The business owner stood surety on that<br />

facility and it was payable in December 2025, probably the<br />

softest loan ever. Many business owners said that the loan<br />

not only helped them pay their salaries, but they were able<br />

to retain their good staff. We started in 2020 and as money<br />

started coming in from repayments, we gave some discounts<br />

away, because there was no good reason to pay earlier. Then<br />

we had conversations about “What now?” Covid was not there,<br />

but how do you still keep looking after this vital sector of the<br />

economy? That’s what we’re really excited about.<br />

Was the funding sector-neutral?<br />

It was first come, first served, and there were certain criteria<br />

such as they’ve had to be two years or older, they had to be<br />

in good standing and compliant. In visiting clients, I have<br />

been to franchise owners of FMCGs. I have been to printers,<br />

manufacturing floors, logistics companies, legal companies,<br />

cleaning services and to security companies, so it’s across the<br />

whole board and not industry specific at all and 2.0 won’t be<br />

industry specific either.<br />

How was the money disbursed?<br />

We asked six retail banks to look into their customer base and<br />

make facilities available so that R1-billion in total was dispersed<br />

to the banks. There were 40 000 applications of which 10 000<br />

were successful.<br />

And that became a post-Covid funding vehicle for SMMEs?<br />

We had to pivot. The money we have got back is substantial<br />

enough to start looking at the 2.0 model. We will not be giving<br />

interest-free Covid loans away but a lot of work now is being<br />

placed into spaces where we look at how we can support<br />

SMMEs and the SMME environment. A business owner might<br />

think they need financial support but if they get good access<br />

to market and if they look after their cash flows properly<br />

then perhaps they only need guidance. Sometimes it’s really<br />

about unlocking that latent potential or energy in the SMME<br />

themselves to understand cash flow or pricing. How do we get<br />

them help to price properly?<br />

Please tell us about the summit.<br />

The aim of this first summit was really based on a lot of the<br />

conversations we had with our banking partners, grantees,<br />

customers and various stakeholders. Similar themes came up with<br />

22 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


all of them. The first of them was that they felt like they had been a<br />

few rounds with Mike Tyson: all battered and bruised after Covid,<br />

straight into loadshedding and then into other issues. Just one<br />

blow after the other. The second one was based on saying there<br />

are so many things that are required to get my business up and<br />

running. Even if I find my ojo again, I am facing all these different<br />

constraints like access to finance, access to information, access to<br />

marketplace, access to supplier chain and all those things. They<br />

technically understand what they are looking to do, but running a<br />

business is very different to just installing an air-conditioning unit,<br />

for example, and we found a lot of knowledge gaps.<br />

How many entrepreneurs attended the summit?<br />

About 500 business owners were at the conference at Gallagher<br />

Estate and some were exhibiting and showcasing their wares. In<br />

addition, we had some of the bigger corporates such as Samsung<br />

and Core Group that are also part of the ecosystem, together with<br />

funding institutions. Stories of resilience and resourcefulness<br />

provided inspiration.<br />

“Unlocking that latent<br />

potential or energy in the SMME”<br />

What were the organising principles of the summit?<br />

The summit was put together in terms of three key factors. One was<br />

to inspire, let’s get it back and create inspiration because if you feel<br />

demotivated and dejected there is nothing better than somebody<br />

telling their story of how they also felt the blows, but look how<br />

successful they are today. The second component was to get a sense<br />

of what is happening out there through a very interesting panel<br />

discussion with the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development,<br />

Tasneem Motara, with Herman Mashaba (representing both the<br />

public and private sector, being an entrepreneur himself) and<br />

Jonathan Oppenheimer looking at the world of business and the<br />

world of philanthropy. The question we asked ourselves is, if we’re<br />

going to get this right and get the country back on track? The panel<br />

discussion looked at the roles of government, the private sector<br />

and philanthropy and how do we get our act together and start<br />

working together as opposed to pointing fingers at each other.<br />

Finally, our goal was to showcase to entrepreneurs what is coming<br />

in the future. What is shaping the environment and how will your<br />

business develop in the future?<br />

How were the aspects of the future environment presented?<br />

Four master classes were presented. The first one dealt the tech<br />

side, called Innovate or Stagnate. We asked the question: Is your<br />

business tech savvy enough? From simple technology such as pretelemetric<br />

in your delivery vehicles to the use of ChatGPT or AI. What<br />

tech can your business use: data, information, systems, processing<br />

and so on? We had the well-known Dr Adam Pantanowitz, Chair<br />

in Innovation and Director of the Wits Innovation Centre, leading<br />

those sessions. The second master class was led by Rich Mulholland<br />

who spoke about the six deadly sins in your business, things you<br />

should never do. For example, what’s the impact of having too<br />

much pride in your business and never learning from people and<br />

thinking you know everything. We then had Polo Leteka, who<br />

is with the IDF Capital and has invested in countless businesses<br />

over the years. She gave enterprise owners an understanding of<br />

what investors are looking for – in your management team, your<br />

product, your RMD space, how established is your management<br />

team, how solid is your product set, who is your competitor and<br />

what’s your unique different compelling offering? This was a deep<br />

master class in terms of saying get your business ready if you want<br />

to sell it. Richard Sutton wrote the book called The Stress Code: From<br />

Surviving to Thriving and his master class was different from all<br />

the others. While the other three were technical about a business<br />

owner and his business, technology and investments, this one was<br />

more about the business owner himself and looking after yourself.<br />

Was there a follow-up programme from the master classes?<br />

The beauty about all four master classes is that they came with a<br />

tool book which was very specific in terms of help and support.<br />

This included the good books to read by authors that represent<br />

having actually lived it and taken the hard knocks. Every single<br />

delegate left for home with a tool book from every speaker with<br />

Acclaimed author Richard<br />

Sutton presented a master<br />

class at the summit.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 23


operating model that says if you align your whole organisation<br />

to where it needs to be you’re going to get much more efficiency.<br />

It also empowers your team to do better, to find new and better<br />

ways of doing things.<br />

Polo Leteka advised on what investors are<br />

looking for in a business.<br />

key points and emphasised that you need to look at details: every<br />

single line on your profit or loss, when last have you looked at your<br />

reinsurance, your mobile communications or are you just paying<br />

the same contract year in and year out? We had also a manifesto<br />

which Jonathan Oppenheimer uses in his business massively<br />

successfully, turning companies around. It’s an optimised<br />

Was the summit a success?<br />

From the feedback we got on our webpage, the social media<br />

reports through the individual thanks and motivations, there was<br />

not one single negative feedback at all. And we ended off with a<br />

bang. Often you walk away from a conference and a week later<br />

you’re back in the paperwork and you just forget everything. So,<br />

we put a competition in place for the best adopter of what was<br />

presented: show us exactly how you’ve taken this and implemented<br />

it and run your business. We put a R500 000 prize up for grabs, half<br />

in cash, half in mentorship, hardware or whatever the business<br />

requires once we assess it.<br />

And that illustrates the SA Future Trust transitioning<br />

from being purely a loan organisation into being an<br />

incubator or support organisation for SMMEs?<br />

A lot of SA Future Trust 2.0 will be non-financial support. People<br />

come to us and pitch their business and as you work through it,<br />

it becomes clear where the gaps are. We had somebody recently<br />

that was looking to take more space, but they didn’t need more<br />

space, they had to just optimise the current space and stop buying<br />

too much stock.<br />

M<br />




Mashobane Advisory Services was founded in 2019 by Anastasia Machobane,<br />

who is an Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa with over two<br />

decades of legal experience. The company is 100% black-female owned as well<br />

as level 1 B-BBEE compliant. We are a company based in Pretoria and Durban.<br />

Mashobane Advisory Services are expert Company Secretaries and Legal<br />

Advisors and are able to provide turnkey solutions, seamlessly moving<br />

between legal services and corporate governance, which allows the client to<br />

use one service provider with knowledge of their business. Our services are<br />

geared toward directors and executives who demand certainty and efficiency.<br />

The company’s specialised service offering consists of:<br />

Governance advisory<br />

Meeting administration<br />

Legislative compliance<br />

Legal services<br />

Mashobane Advisory Services also has a mentorship programme which<br />

has more than 60 mentees and 10 mentors. The mentorship is offered at no<br />

charge because the core of the business is youth development and giving<br />

back to society.<br />

Contact | Tel: 065 660 0060 | Email: info@mashobane.com | Website: www.mashobane.com

Afri Wise<br />

Mining<br />

Supplies<br />

Specialists in lubrication, bulk<br />

oil and fuel filtration, and<br />

fuel management systems<br />

Afri Wise Mining Supplies is formed by<br />

a qualified and experienced team of<br />

professionals with more than 30 years of<br />

combined experience in both tribology<br />

and bulk filtration of hydrocarbons.<br />

Our experience is both home-based and abroad, across all industries with<br />

most of it obtained from the mining industry. We have a highly skilled<br />

and experienced team of draughtsman and boilermakers in designing and<br />

fabrication of bulk filtration units and fuel tanks. We have an experienced team<br />

with expertise to install and maintain fuel management systems.<br />

Three main areas of services<br />

• Tank farms<br />

• Bulk fuels and lubes filtration<br />

• Tribological services<br />

Our key industry drivers<br />

• Increasing demand for supply of clean and quality hydrocarbons to meet<br />

stringent OEM requirements<br />

• A need for onsite expert management of bulk hydrocarbons consignment<br />

stock at all times<br />

• A need for a comprehensive solution combining lubrication systems expertise<br />

with tribology to maximise customer benefit<br />

• A need for an onsite tribologist to facilitate best practice of lubrication and<br />

to carry out continuous improvement projects<br />

• A need for inspections, lube surveys and a condition-monitoring expert<br />

Our solutions<br />

• We offer an onsite team of well-trained staff to manage bulk oils and fuels<br />

consignment stock and do maintenance on the tank farm.<br />

• We offer an onsite team of well-trained personnel managed by a site<br />

tribologist to manage lube stores, take samples, lube surveys, open gear<br />

inspection and condition monitoring.<br />

• We offer consulting expertise for use of both specialised and commercial<br />

lubricants.<br />

• We offer a systematic programme that surveys the condition of all<br />

equipment, develops lubrication procedures based on best practices and<br />

implements and reviews the benefits.<br />

• We carry out the installation and repairs of all types of lubrication systems.<br />

“Integrated fuels, lubes, filtration<br />

and tribology services from a<br />

single source”<br />

Contact details<br />

Head office: 3 Sam Green Road, Tunney Ext 7, Elandsfontein 1779 | Tel: +27 11 074 6990 | Fax: 086 767 4452 | E-mail: info@afri-wise.co.za| Website: www.afri-wise.co.za<br />

Namibia | Unit 1, Ground Floor, City View, Schweitzer Street, Windhoek-West, Namibia 9000 | Tel: +264 814 232 120<br />

Polokwane | 28 Platinum Street, Ladine, Polokwane, Limpopo 0699 | Tel: Morris Luvhan: 082 587 1678


Changing ESG trends<br />

present opportunities<br />

for mining companies<br />

By Garyn Rapson, Partner, Nomsa Mbere, Partner, Jaqui Pinto, Senior Associate, Paula-Ann<br />

Novotny, Senior Associate and Dalit Anstey, Knowledge Lawyer from Webber Wentzel.<br />

Automation, as illustrated by this<br />

drone operator, is a trend that mining<br />

companies must pay attention to.<br />

Credit: Anglo American<br />

Mining is critical to development, but development<br />

must be sustainable. The mining industry is<br />

susceptible to global changes in capital allocation<br />

and regulatory reform. Mining companies that can<br />

demonstrate responsible and sustainable mining practices can<br />

set themselves up to take advantage of environmental, social and<br />

governance (ESG) and sustainable finance trends.<br />

The prominence of ESG presents an opportunity for mining<br />

companies to be proactive rather than reactive and to engage<br />

with ESG themes and issues. Below we identify some of the key<br />

ESG themes for today that present mining companies with new<br />

business opportunities.<br />

Phase out of coal and other fossil fuel-linked minerals<br />

The “Just Energy Transition” is a framework that seeks to ensure<br />

equitable shifts to a low-carbon economy through social inclusion<br />

and poverty eradication. It aims to protect the environment as well<br />

as livelihoods to ensure that no-one is left behind. South Africa's<br />

Just Transition Framework document provides that between 2040<br />

and 2050, coal will largely be phased out and communities will<br />

engage in other livelihoods. This is bolstered by and must be<br />

understood against the backdrop of the obligations in terms of<br />

the Paris Agreement which has seen governments, including the<br />

South African government, enacting legislation and regulations<br />

restricting fossil fuel consumption and exposure (both direct<br />

and indirect). South Africa historically relied on its abundance<br />

of coal reserves to fuel baseload power and the economy. There<br />

are several pressure points for mining companies with respect to<br />

the global-energy transition, including funding pressures from<br />

some financial institutions and lenders and shareholder activism<br />

regarding fossil fuel finance. Stock exchanges across the world are<br />

increasing their disclosure obligations to include ESG factors.<br />

26 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


The race is on to diversify portfolios to include the minerals<br />

of the future. With the transition to a lower-carbon economy,<br />

particularly in respect of key “at risk” value chains such as the<br />

coal sector, comes significant opportunities in the form of new<br />

mineral prospects (green metals and minerals of the future) and<br />

new industries (green hydrogen, electric vehicles). Exploration<br />

activities and acquisitions are likely to see growth. Partnerships<br />

with companies both inside and outside the mining sector will<br />

be important.<br />

Race to net-zero / decarbonisation of operations<br />

Many of the largest metals and mining companies have set some<br />

level of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target or are already<br />

claiming carbon neutrality. Drivers of this move to net zero<br />

include the Paris Agreement, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate<br />

Change, shareholder and stakeholder expectations and financial<br />

institutions and stock exchanges. Investors’ capital allocation<br />

decisions are being increasingly driven by the view that climate<br />

change is a material financial risk.<br />

With the focus on decarbonisation, many mining companies<br />

are repurposing. There is a risk that “carbon-washing” re-branding<br />

is underpinned only by their current limited action on climate<br />

impacts and narrow net-zero focus. We are seeing an increase in<br />

the number of claims being brought for alleged “greenwashing”,<br />

which essentially means making misleading statements regarding<br />

one's green credentials or claiming one is greener than one is.<br />

Recent amendments to electricity legislation are paving the way<br />

for greater private sector involvement in South Africa’s electricity<br />

industry. So far, there has been uptake by mines to establish<br />

renewable energy facilities at their sites to power the mines<br />

and ancillary operations, reducing the mine's carbon footprint.<br />

There are also opportunities for mines to potentially feed excess<br />

power generated back to the grid. Mines are also undertaking<br />

resilience-type projects, including energy efficiency projects in<br />

waste recycling and water treatment.<br />

Fourth Industrial Revolution<br />

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is resulting in the ongoing<br />

transformation of traditional industries such as mining with smart<br />

technologies. Automation, digitalisation, analytics and artificial<br />

intelligence are changing the way that mines operate. Automation<br />

and mechanisation in the mining sector could have positive net<br />

effects for the adverse environmental impacts of mining operations<br />

(eg, technologies that eliminate the need for physical prospecting<br />

or exploration activities). Technology could also assist in areas such<br />

as mine, health and safety and reducing accidents and fatalities.<br />

For example, in South Africa, the mining industry recorded a stepchange<br />

in reducing fatalities in 2022 partly as a result of using more<br />

technology and systems to reduce deaths from falls of ground. In<br />

2023, it will be using advanced technology to reduce fatalities from<br />

trackless mobile machinery.<br />

However, there is also a risk that increased reliance on<br />

automation and mechanisation could undermine the Just Energy<br />

Transition if workers’ jobs in the mining industry are replaced<br />

by technology and deemed redundant. Workers will need to be<br />

re-skilled, redeployed and redirected to higher-value, technologydriven<br />

jobs which requires proper planning and funding. This<br />

requires careful strategic thinking, and planning and engaging<br />

with all necessary stakeholders to ensure that the transition in<br />

South Africa is “just” for the specific context.<br />

In 2023, ESG will continue to gain regulatory traction across<br />

sectors, including the mining sector. Understanding key ESG<br />

themes and ESG risks is an important step to enable mining<br />

companies to seize ESG opportunities.<br />

South African companies must diversify<br />

their portfolios away from coal. Albert<br />

Hyseni on Unsplash.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 27


Accelerating onshore<br />

geoscience mapping<br />

By Dr Nigel Hicks, Specialist Scientist – Geoscience Mapping Lead at the Council for Geoscience.<br />

South Africa is renowned for its extensive and varied mineral<br />

resources, including gold, platinum, diamonds, chromium<br />

and manganese. In 2022, the country’s mining sector<br />

ranked sixth overall for global mineral production volume.<br />

Despite this, however, the sector faces numerous challenges at the<br />

dawn of the critical minerals era, the Just Transition and aspirations<br />

to achieve a net-zero global economy.<br />

To contribute towards South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction<br />

and Recovery Plan (ERRP) by securing a minimum of 5% of<br />

the global exploration expenditure by applying geoscience<br />

information and knowledge, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) is<br />

in its sixth year of executing its Integrated and Multidisciplinary<br />

Geoscience Mapping Programme (IMMP). The IMMP aims to<br />

generate high-resolution integrated geoscience maps across the<br />

country at different scales and to maintain an impactful delivery<br />

of the core mandate of the CGS.<br />

The programme was conceived to provide innovative and<br />

responsive geoscience solutions to support the National<br />

Development Plan 2030 and to contribute to, inter alia, economic<br />

growth, employment and job creation. The geoscience information<br />

collected is utilised to delineate geological formations and features<br />

that may enhance our understanding of a few earth processes,<br />

mineral and energy resources distribution, groundwater, land<br />

use, infrastructure, geohazards and geo-environmental pollutionrelated<br />

matters.<br />

The IMMP addresses four core themes in response<br />

to the national development imperatives<br />

for the geosciences. These are:<br />

• Economic growth (geosciences for mineral and energy resources,<br />

infrastructure and land use)<br />

• Environmental health (geosciences for infrastructure and land use,<br />

health, groundwater and the environment)<br />

• Innovation (geosciences collaboration with other institutions)<br />

• International relations (geoscience diplomacy).<br />

Under the “Geoscience for mineral and energy resources” theme,<br />

the CGS collects, analyses and processes high-quality geological,<br />

geochemical, geophysical and mineral data, which will lower<br />

risks, while increasing confidence in exploration and mining,<br />

particularly in areas that remain underexplored. A priority of this<br />

programme, and a cornerstone of the CGS, is multidisciplinary<br />

onshore geoscience mapping at a greater level of detail (e.g. 1:50<br />

000 scale) focussed on providing data to serve as a base to advise<br />

the state and various other stakeholders, including the public, in<br />

support of economic recovery projects in the country.<br />

1:50 000 published map coverage in 2017 (top) prior to the<br />

implementation of the IMMP, compared to coverage as of 2023.<br />

With a primary focus both on emerging critical minerals and<br />

base and precious metals, coal and industrial minerals (eg<br />

aggregate), the onshore geoscience mapping programme<br />

has achieved a significant increase in countrywide coverage,<br />

from below 5% prior to the commencement of the IMMP in<br />

2017, to 12% at the end of the 2022–2023 financial year. This<br />

increase relates to 230 out of a total of 1 916 1:50 000-scale<br />

maps having been published. For 2023–2024 the CGS has<br />

an ambitious plan to increase annual map publication to 80<br />

maps, which will increase the total national coverage to 16%.<br />

Once published, the geoscience data is made available on the<br />

CGS portal which ensures that geological information is easily<br />

28 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


accessible to showcase the country’s exploration potential.<br />

This fast-tracked production approach has already yielded<br />

results as new geoscience data has identified potential<br />

hydrothermal and magmatic mineral targets in the<br />

Northern Cape, Western Cape, North West and Limpopo<br />

provinces. These targets include critical minerals such as<br />

lithium, manganese, vanadium, fluorspar, phosphates and<br />

base metals. The geoscience-mapping programme has<br />

further been utilised to aid investigations into national<br />

energy security and the Just Energy Transition. These<br />

projects include research into geothermal potential as well<br />

as Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) which will<br />

augment the sustainable renewable energy programme<br />

in the medium to long term, reaffirming South Africa’s<br />

commitment to clean energy.<br />

The multidisciplinary onshore-mapping programme<br />

also presents opportunities to contribute towards<br />

infrastructure and land-use development at provincial<br />

and municipal levels by producing detailed geological<br />

maps and associated geohazard risk assessments<br />

representing valuable tools for future land-use planning<br />

and the management of current infrastructure and<br />

development projects.<br />

The onshore-mapping programme focusses on projects<br />

in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape provinces and<br />

in Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu‐Natal, North West and<br />

Limpopo provinces. For the year ahead, the CGS will focus<br />

on the continued production of fundamental geological<br />

maps and associated data to be utilised across a range<br />

of sectors. These include applied geoscience solutions,<br />

mineral and energy resources, health, groundwater<br />

and the environment, infrastructure and land use and<br />

geoscience innovation.<br />

The CGS is privileged to be at the leading edge of<br />

rejuvenating and reimagining the exploration landscape<br />

in South Africa. Through the scientific and strategic<br />

goals of the IMMP and its 1:50 000-scale mapping<br />

programme, the CGS has positioned itself at the forefront<br />

of multidisciplinary mapping techniques in Africa<br />

and globally. The aim of these initiatives is to provide<br />

integrated, systematic and thematic research products<br />

to contribute to the assessment and sustainable<br />

management of mineral, geohydrological and geoenvironmental<br />

resources in South Africa. Consistent with<br />

the quality of South Africa’s geological endowment, the<br />

CGS mapping programme has shown that the country<br />

remains an exploration frontier in new emerging<br />

minerals markets.<br />

CGS scientist identifying critical mineral-bearing pegmatite in<br />

Namaqualand, Northern Cape. Large pink spodumene crystals (a<br />

lithium aluminium silicate mineral) can be seen in a lepidolite matrix.<br />

CGS staff examining an outcrop of Palaeoarchaean felsic agglomerate<br />

in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, Mpumalanga.<br />

CGS scientist mapping landslides in Natal Group sandstones in<br />

KwaZulu-Natal.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 29


Ithuba Valves and<br />

Industrial Supplies<br />

Designing, making, fixing and installing high-quality waterworks valves.<br />

Ithuba Valves and Industrial Supplies<br />

is the only Level 2 BBBEE company<br />

that specialises in the design,<br />

manufacturing, refurbishment,<br />

installation, removal and supply<br />

of waterworks valves. Valves are<br />

manufactured to the customer's<br />

specification at our Alberton facility, thus<br />

creating and maintaining employment<br />

opportunities for South Africans. Ithuba<br />

Valves is a proud supplier of local valves<br />

to all state-owned companies and we<br />

comply with all their specifications.<br />

Clients include the Department of Water<br />

and Sanitation, Eskom, Rand Water,<br />

Johannesburg Water and Umgeni Water.<br />

We are proud to have played a role in<br />

designing and installing a complex<br />

wedge-gate valve in the Mohale Tunnel,<br />

part of the Lesotho Highlands Water<br />

Project. Our management and technical<br />

teams surpassed the client’s expectations<br />

on this tough project, as the work<br />

involved descending 96m underground<br />

in a shaft.<br />

Background<br />

Ithuba Valves and Industrial Supplies cc<br />

was established in 2000 and commenced<br />

trading in August 2003, quickly earning<br />

a fine reputation as a refurbishment<br />

company in the valve industry. This<br />

resulted in the successful completion of<br />

various large contracts, including phase<br />

one and two of the demothballing of<br />

Camden Power Station and phase one<br />

of Grootvlei Power Station. With the<br />

acquisition of a manufacturing facility in<br />

2006, Ithuba Valves stepped up its strategy<br />

of becoming South Africa's first fully<br />

black-owned valve manufacturer. Further<br />

acquisitions have seen the company<br />

expand its range of designs, drawings and<br />

patterns which means that Ithuba Valves<br />

now has a wide range of products to sell<br />

to the waterworks industry.<br />

Product range<br />

Ithuba Valves manufactures waterworks<br />

valves ranging from 80mm to 3 000mm,<br />

with working pressure ranging from 10<br />

bars up to 100 bars.<br />

• Butterfly valves, double flanged<br />

• Butterfly valves, wafer type<br />

• Rubber-lined Butterfly valves<br />

• Metal-seated Butterfly valves<br />

• Wedge-gate valves<br />

• Sleeve valves<br />

• Non-return valves, double flanged<br />

(single door and multi door)<br />

• Plunger valves<br />

• Spherical valves<br />

Ithuba Valves has developed a new<br />

Butterfly valve with ranges from 1 000mm<br />

to 2 800mm (PHOENIX Butterfly Valve). Its<br />

features include a dish disk that reduces the<br />

weight of the valve by 20% and the valve<br />

is able to handle seven to 10 litres of fluid<br />

a second.<br />

Mission statement<br />

• Focuses on being a product leader in<br />

waterworks.<br />

• Passionate about manufacturing highquality<br />

products and on-time delivery for<br />

our customers.<br />

• Educating and creating awareness about<br />

quality to all our employees.<br />

• Strive to satisfy our internal and external<br />

stakeholders.<br />

Employment equity policy<br />

Ithuba Valves distances itself from any<br />

form of discrimination and commits itself<br />

to the promotion and achievement of<br />

equal opportunity and fair treatment in<br />

the work environment.<br />

Contact details<br />

8 Basalt Street, Alrode Ext 7, Alberton<br />

Tel: +27 11 864 2582<br />

Email: sales@ithubavalves.co.za<br />

Website: www.ithubavalves.co.za<br />

Tshepo Mabona, CEO<br />

30 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

<strong>Opportunity</strong> is a quarterly journal for business and industry in South Africa.<br />

<strong>Opportunity</strong> is the official publication of the South African Chamber of<br />

Commerce and Industry (SACCI).<br />



January | April | July | October<br />

Contact <strong>Opportunity</strong> on info@gan.co.za to profile your organisation in the publication<br />



Technology can transform<br />

South Africa’s mining sector<br />

Sustainable mining needs sustainable practices, writes Rudie Opperman, Manager for<br />

Engineering and Training, Middle East and Africa at Axis Communications.<br />

The recent conversation around<br />

sustainable mining has been<br />

centred on two things: the impact<br />

of mining activity on surrounding<br />

communities and the environment and the<br />

sourcing of resources essential for cleanenergy<br />

networks and systems.<br />

However, the transition to cleaner<br />

mining also requires the introduction of<br />

sustainable principles and practices to<br />

mines that exist today.<br />

South Africa will continue to mine coal<br />

and gold for the foreseeable future and these<br />

operations need to be both sustainable<br />

and continue to operate. But with pressure<br />

to increase productivity and adopt more<br />

environmentally and socially responsible<br />

practices, the mining industry needs a more<br />

sustainable, technology-enabled approach.<br />

Towards a sustainable future<br />

South Africa’s economy has been built on rich<br />

mineral reserves and has relied on mining to<br />

drive development. But the global mining<br />

industry is at a crucial inflection point: many<br />

mining companies are making strides in the<br />

transition towards renewable energy. At<br />

the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has<br />

renewed focus on the importance of good<br />

social and environmental practices. In South<br />

Africa, the transition to renewable energy has<br />

resulted in a balancing act between reducing<br />

the country’s carbon emissions and mitigating<br />

mass coal job losses. Considering that Africa’s<br />

economy continues to rely primarily on coal<br />

for electricity generation, the shift to cleaner<br />

energy will have to be gradual. During this<br />

transition, mining organisations must find<br />

ways to introduce sustainable practices<br />

while considering their impact on the<br />

communities in which they operate.<br />

Top: Cameras can monitor a variety of hazards and create proactive warnings. Credit: Jürgen Jester on Unsplash<br />

Above: Safety can be enhanced by using technology. Credit: Freepik<br />

Transition to greener energy<br />

Many mining companies in South Africa and<br />

across the globe are joining the collective<br />

effort to build a sustainable future for<br />

communities and the environment. In 2015, all<br />

members of the United Nations adopted the<br />

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to<br />

chart a way forward for social, economic and<br />

environmental change.<br />

Some of South Africa’s biggest mining<br />

companies have set ambitious targets to<br />

achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.<br />

Investors and stakeholders in the mining<br />

sector increasingly demand that mining<br />

companies disclose their climate-related<br />

financial risks and opportunities according<br />

32 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Some of South Africa’s<br />

biggest mining companies<br />

have set ambitious targets<br />

to achieve net-zero carbon<br />

emissions by 2050<br />

Rudie Opperman of<br />

Axis Communications<br />

to global recommendations, such as those laid out by the G20’s<br />

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).<br />

An amendment was made to South Africa’s Electricity Regulation<br />

Act in October 2021 to raise the electricity generation licence<br />

exemption threshold from 1MW to 100MW. This amendment serves<br />

to enable more independent power producers (IPPs) to participate<br />

in the energy market without the need for a licence. In April 2022,<br />

the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy launched a<br />

bidding window for the Renewable Energy Independent Power<br />

Producer Procurement Programme. Onshore wind and solar power<br />

projects are also being developed across South Africa, and many<br />

mining companies are turning to them for electricity because of<br />

Eskom’s high tariffs and unreliability.<br />

The need for technological innovation<br />

Mining companies need to develop sustainable solutions to tackle<br />

the many challenges and opportunities that come with this shift<br />

towards greener energy and greater social and environmental<br />

responsibility. While national frameworks and policies help<br />

regulate mining activities, not all mines implement best practices<br />

to mine sustainably.<br />

In early 2021, Minerals Council South Africa published a report<br />

highlighting how the country’s mining industry was increasing<br />

its use of technological innovation to transform the sector.<br />

Investments in 4IR-enabled digital technologies are helping<br />

mining companies become more globally competitive, as well as<br />

improve the health and safety of their operations.<br />

South Africa has some of the deepest mines in the world<br />

and a historically poor safety record. And while mining<br />

fatalities in South Africa have reached record lows over the<br />

last decade, there was an 18% increase in 2020 in accidents<br />

related to falling rocks and transportation. Mining companies<br />

can use smart surveillance solutions in a variety of ways to<br />

ensure the safety of employees. Cameras equipped with deep<br />

learning-based analytics, for example, can monitor a variety of<br />

hazards and create proactive warnings.<br />

These cameras can detect when personnel are not wearing<br />

protective equipment or ensure areas of a mine don’t become<br />

dangerously overcrowded. They could also be used to monitor<br />

dust clouds, which can pose a significant health risk to the work<br />

environment and surrounding communities.<br />

An opportunity for transformation<br />

Surveillance technologies can improve the operational efficiency<br />

and physical security of mining operations and help mines<br />

monitor and mitigate risks to employees, the community and the<br />

environment. These technologies represent an opportunity for a<br />

real transformation of South Africa’s mining sector: companies that<br />

are pivoting towards more sustainable practices must leverage<br />

new technologies to their advantage. As South Africa’s mining<br />

sector gradually transitions from fossil-fuel dependency and with<br />

a renewed focus on social and environmental concerns, mining<br />

companies cannot afford to continue with outdated practices and<br />

limited technological innovation. The future of our economy – and<br />

our planet as a whole – depends on it.<br />

Top: Several mining companies are exploring renewable energy options. Exxaro has a renewable energy subsidiary, Cennergi. A mini-grid at<br />

Tshikondeni is shown here. Credit: Exxaro<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 33


Improving efficiency,<br />

productivity, safety<br />

and sustainability<br />

Optimising operations through people-centric technology is the smart way to run a mining business, says SmartOps<br />

CEO and founder, Mahene Benzane. A versatile mining and technology professional with considerable experience<br />

in the mining sector, Mahene also has academic qualifications in Financial Management, Senior Management<br />

Development Programme (SMDP), and a Master of Management in Digital Businesses and Digital Technologies.<br />

How do you define digital transformation?<br />

Digital transformation in the context of the mining industry involves<br />

leveraging digital technologies to optimise and streamline various<br />

aspects of mining operations, leading to improved efficiency,<br />

productivity, safety and sustainability.<br />

What does SmartOps Solutions do that sets it apart?<br />

SmartOps holds the conviction that technology and systems<br />

should be instrumental in driving behavioural changes to maximise<br />

the benefits derived from their implementation. We prioritise<br />

this objective through robust change-management processes,<br />

ensuring swift adoption and realisation of value and return on<br />

investment (ROI) within less than five months. Our approach is<br />

focused on practical digital solutions intertwined with behavioural<br />

change mechanisms that deliver tangible value, eschewing the<br />

adoption of technology merely for its novelty. We dedicate time<br />

to comprehensively understand your mining operations, allowing<br />

us to craft a tailored, fit-for-purpose digital transformation strategy<br />

and implementation process.<br />

How was the company formed?<br />

Established in 2015 by Mahene Patrice Benzane, the company<br />

aims to tackle the challenges faced by the mining industry in<br />

effective change management and the adoption of technologies.<br />

The company also saw a need for implementation of technologydriven<br />

Management Operating Systems for better coordination<br />

of work at mines to ensure predictability of production every<br />

single day. Many mining companies invest substantial amounts<br />

in implementing various technologies, only to fall short of realising<br />

the intended ROI. SmartOps was founded to also bridge this gap by<br />

offering robust change-management solutions. Our goal was and<br />

still is to facilitate the seamless adoption of various technologies<br />

within mining operations without imposing excessive financial<br />

burdens on the companies involved. We have since diversified<br />

into different offerings.<br />

In which sectors do you focus?<br />

Mining, oil and gas, logistics, e-hailing and energy.<br />

What do you offer mining companies that<br />

makes a difference to their operations?<br />

Practical digital-transformation strategies, worker-enablement<br />

technologies, management consulting (business optimisation)<br />

and energy management.<br />

What is your geographical footprint?<br />

We operate mainly in South Africa with offices in Gauteng, North<br />

West and Mpumalanga. We also have presence in Australia and<br />

New Zealand.<br />

Are you looking at other markets?<br />

I recently attended the Future Minerals Forum in Saudi Arabia<br />

where we were looking for collaborative partnerships. It was<br />

important to be part of the discussion about green minerals, which<br />

is the direction the world is taking. We are working on expanding<br />

to various regions in Africa and abroad, and we are seeking for<br />

like-minded individuals to collaborate with in different regions.<br />

Where is your business growing?<br />

The Management Consulting division for business optimisation<br />

and Digital Transformation in the technology space are growing<br />

quickly, together with Energy Management. We offer collective<br />

reporting, which brings information together from various sources<br />

to one platform. They can see where most energy consumption is<br />

coming from and put initiatives in place to save energy. It is about<br />

finding ways of reducing the carbon footprint of an organisation<br />

through reporting and managing reduction initiatives.<br />

Please give an example of a successful project.<br />

A recent project was a notable achievement. We successfully<br />

implemented a comprehensive Management Operating System<br />

for a mine, improving planning, coordination of work across all<br />

sections and establishing accountability. We seamlessly integrated<br />

this system with our technology to promote sustainability and<br />

increased output by over 25%. In another project, we crafted a<br />

tailored digital-transformation strategy to meet the unique needs<br />

of a mining company.<br />

34 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


SmartOps Solutions<br />

Transforming companies for a better future<br />

SmartOps is a productivity-driven company with divisions focusing<br />

on Digital Transformation, Management Consulting, Energy<br />

Management and Supply, eHealth, Data Analytics, Speciality<br />

Projects and Data-Driven Mining Services.<br />

Our work encompasses:<br />

• Integrated Operations, Decision Making & Coordination<br />

• Value Chain Visualisation & Optimisation<br />

• Data Science/Data Analytics, Autonomous Solutions<br />

• Integrated Resource Planning, Scheduling & Execution<br />

• Digitally Driven Management Operating System (dMOS)<br />

• Energy Management & Reporting<br />

• Data Driven Mining Services<br />

• Fleet Management Systems (Dispatch)<br />

• Inventory Management Systems<br />

• Road Condition Monitoring<br />

• Remote Asset Health Monitoring<br />

• Digital Twin Implementation<br />

• Operational Improvement<br />

• Realtime Asset & Personnel Tracking<br />

SmartOps MEC Mining Services (a subsidiary of SmartOps)<br />

The blend of our technical knowledge and experience with<br />

low-cost, high-quality, outsourced contracting options<br />

enables our clients to trust that their value chain is continually<br />

improving. Our safe, cost-effective and efficiency-driven<br />

approach is embedded in our in-house technology platforms<br />

that allow us to be the emerging smart-contract-mining<br />

services SME.<br />

Simplified value offering<br />

Performance management system: How do we interact with this<br />

data to effectively manage the performance of<br />

our people, processes and systems?<br />

The human factor: As we build new business<br />

models for the mines of the 4th Industrial<br />

Revolution, effectively engaging people<br />

remains a key business imperative.<br />

Work management: Technology integration<br />

into existing business processes is<br />

disrupting our work management<br />

systems. How do we forecast,<br />

plan, schedule and resource our business processes to achieve<br />

continuous improvement and build sustainability?<br />

Systems thinking: How do we develop and implement the systems’<br />

acumen required to enhance strategic and real-time decisionmaking<br />

capabilities for the mine of the future?<br />

Our solutions<br />

Technology should be at the forefront of an organisation.<br />

For organisations to flourish we believe that technology and<br />

systems should drive behaviour, and not the behaviour driving<br />

systems or technology.<br />

Key staff<br />

Chief Executive Officer: Mahene Patrice Benzane<br />

Executive Head, Project Management: Mamonare Moseki<br />

Chief Operating Officer: Ditshegofatso Milanzi<br />

Contact details<br />

Gauteng Office<br />

Eco Origin Offices, Block C8, 349 Witch-Hazel Ave, Centurion,<br />

Highveld, Gauteng 0157<br />

Tel: +27 11 568 2932<br />

Mpumalanga Office<br />

5 Dolorite Crescent, Middleburg, Mpumalanga 1050<br />

Tel: + 27 13 101 3514<br />

North West Office<br />

Ground Floor, 214 Beyers Naude Dr, Rustenburg, North West 0299<br />

Tel: +27 14 523 3684<br />

Email: info@smartops.solutions<br />

Website: https://smartops.solutions/s<br />

Aleksandar Pasaric, Pexels<br />

Mahene Patrice Benzane, Chief Executive Officer, says:<br />

Our team is always ready to walk the journey of operational excellence with you. We solve complex<br />

problems in a practical and sustainable way. We use a combination of digital technologies bundled<br />

with various management routines to ensure continuous improvement across operations.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 35


Retail<br />

distribution<br />

in an energylimited<br />

world<br />

Solly Engelbrecht, National Logistics<br />

Executive at The SPAR Group, has been<br />

thinking about the future of distribution<br />

in the retail sector. Localisation is among<br />

the key approaches that should be adopted<br />

to ensure a reliable power supply.<br />

Solar panels are easily<br />

installed on almost any roof<br />

and are increasingly efficient.<br />

Credit: Versofy Solar<br />

Recent extended stage 4 to 6 power<br />

outages have once again emphasised<br />

the need for broader solutions that<br />

will enable businesses not only to<br />

endure, but also prosper during the current<br />

energy challenges.<br />

The SPAR Group is actively investing in<br />

power initiatives to reduce reliance on Eskom<br />

and promote sustainable strategies. However,<br />

achieving complete independence from the<br />

grid will demand continuous innovation to<br />

fill the gaps where solar energy cannot.<br />

Significant progress has been made in<br />

expanding the solar capabilities at all six of<br />

our Distribution Centres (DCs).<br />

However, considering we service SPAR<br />

stores nationwide and across borders, our<br />

goal of transitioning all six DCs to operate<br />

entirely off the grid will require continuous<br />

innovation to find ways to supplement our<br />

current solar rollout. Solar energy alone<br />

cannot sufficiently sustain the uninterrupted,<br />

24-hour operation that is essential for our<br />

refrigeration units, storage centres and other<br />

critical equipment.<br />

Our South Rand DC, for instance, was the<br />

first to move away from its sole reliance on<br />

Eskom for electricity. Installation of solar<br />

panels at both our perishables and drygoods<br />

warehouses has already resulted in a<br />

very significant ongoing reduction in energy<br />

usage from Eskom. This is a clear example of<br />

why sustainability is good for South Africa<br />

in the long term and just how beneficial the<br />

change can be for the sector and for society.<br />

The high cost of lithium batteries and<br />

the lack of sufficient wind power around<br />

our built-up DC has meant we needed to<br />

think out of the box. For instance, we are<br />

considering investing in a smaller bank of<br />

generators and gas power, rather than the<br />

traditional large, standby, diesel generator.<br />

We are also investigating alternative wind<br />

generation options.<br />

Additionally, we have invested in LED<br />

lighting throughout all DCs for a further<br />

energy consumption reduction and in<br />

our KwaZulu-Natal perishables DC, these<br />

LEDs are linked to an intelligent-lightingmanagement<br />

system. This system, which<br />

can be monitored and activated remotely,<br />

senses movement in each aisle and adjusts<br />

the brightness of the light levels accordingly.<br />

If no movement is detected, the lights dims<br />

significantly. This has resulted in a significant<br />

reduction in energy use for lighting.<br />

36 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Biomass potential<br />

Biomass energy generation will also provide increasingly<br />

powerful solutions. We see potential scope for biomass to<br />

be added to wind and other energy sources as fuel for the<br />

generation of electricity.<br />

At The SPAR Group, we firmly believe that more localised<br />

power generation presents a realistic avenue for achieving<br />

enduring sustainability.<br />

With regard to recycling, we currently collect outer-plastic<br />

packaging, cardboard, paper and other recyclable materials<br />

from SPAR stores and transport them to our DCs, where they<br />

are sorted, weighed and compacted in separate processes. The<br />

plastic is recycled and repurposed into various items like bin<br />

bags, while the cardboard also undergoes recycling for use in<br />

packaging materials.<br />

Through this recycling effort, we reduce the materials sent<br />

to landfills, consequently lessening our carbon footprint.<br />

Ensuring that the expansion of the retail industry<br />

incorporates sustainable practices is vitally important.<br />

Sustainability is not merely beneficial for society and business;<br />

it has become indispensable for the retail sector's future.<br />

Working to discover solutions that alleviate the mounting<br />

pressure on the South African power grid and significantly<br />

reduce our carbon footprint will remain a key focus of<br />

commitment for The SPAR Group. We are championing<br />

sustainable behaviour and practices across all facets of our<br />

operations and the strides we're making at our DCs will set a<br />

trajectory toward a greener, more sustainable future for all.<br />

The South Rand Distribution Centre has an<br />

impressive array of solar panels.<br />

LED lighting is helping to reduce energy<br />

use at SPAR Distribution Centres.<br />

Solly Engelbrecht, National Logistics<br />

Executive at The SPAR Group<br />

About The SPAR Group<br />

The SPAR Group Ltd is a warehousing and distribution business<br />

listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in the Food and<br />

Drug Retailers sector. The group owns the SPAR retail brand and<br />

supports a network of independent retailers who trade under<br />

our brand through our distribution centres. SPAR forms part of<br />

SPAR International, which is present in 44 countries and has 240<br />

distribution centres that serve 13-million customers every day. The<br />

SPAR Group Ltd, headquartered in Durban, South Africa, is present<br />

in nine countries, has 10 distribution centres and serves 3 768 retail<br />

members through 14 store formats every day.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 37


Solving production<br />

challenges and gearing<br />

up for the green economy<br />

Nthabiseng Serite, founder and CEO of SAKE Energy Solutions, is venturing<br />

beyond industrial automation to become a force in renewable energy.<br />

SAKE Energy Solutions<br />

Powering Africa<br />

What problem is your company solving?<br />

Sake Energy Solutions is a solutions-based company specialising in<br />

industrial automation and renewable energy. We tackle everyday<br />

processes and production challenges like energy efficiency, process<br />

safety, reducing downtimes, asset reliability and maintaining net<br />

zero goals, to name a few.<br />

How did the idea of starting the company come about?<br />

The idea was inspired by the realisation that there was a gap in<br />

the market in the area of green energy and process optimization.<br />

It has always been part of the plan, since I started my career, to<br />

be a solution provider. I realised that the best way to provide the<br />

solutions I have in mind was to start my own company.<br />

What is the origin or meaning of the name of the company?<br />

SAKE is a combination of SA (South Africa) and KE (Kenya) because<br />

my biggest inspiration to delve into the energy market was when<br />

I was doing some work in Kenya at an energy facility. I finally<br />

thought, this is it, this is my niche. I was excited about these new<br />

phrases I was hearing, “green energy”, “reduce carbon footprint”<br />

and so forth. So I thought to myself , SAKE can be a link or vehicle<br />

that will carry a full bouquet of green solutions for industries.<br />

What are the main services you offer?<br />

Industrial automation which covers a wide scope of control and<br />

instrumentation, valves, metering, analysers, robots,<br />

remote monitoring and renewable energy where<br />

we come in as an engineering, procurement<br />

and construction (EPC) contactor and project<br />

management until handover.<br />

Is one of your divisions much busier than other divisions?<br />

Yes, absolutely. Industrial automation has always been the busiest<br />

division because of the many applications and the wide scope it<br />

covers while energy is picking up due to current demands.<br />

Was it tough starting out?<br />

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. We love doing the hard<br />

stuff! It was extremely hard, especially because we are talking<br />

about a very male-dominant industry where you still have to<br />

prove yourself over and over. I must say that there’s been great<br />

progress but it is still not easy. Our first project was for a company<br />

in Tanzania to provide engineering consulting services for an oil<br />

and gas facility. After the design was accepted, we supplied the<br />

system and did the installation and commissioning.<br />

What is the company’s exposure to renewable energy?<br />

I have worked on over 15 projects as an EPC and service provider.<br />

These projects have contributed at least 50MW of clean energy<br />

into the grid.<br />

What are you currently working on?<br />

I’m currently working on a project in Zambia, putting together a<br />

scope for a renewable energy plant which will have a good mix<br />

of waste-to-energy, hydro and wind energy. There are extremely<br />

exciting times ahead. And I cannot stop talking about the recently<br />

completed cement plant that we have just commissioned in Kenya,<br />

fully automated.<br />

Nthabiseng Serite,<br />

founder and CEO of SAKE Energy Solutions.<br />

Biography<br />

Nthabiseng Serite is a leading Automation expert in Southern Africa. A serial entrepreneur,<br />

Nthabiseng is a seasoned engineering and automation specialist in industrial automation,<br />

renewable energy and process control optimisation solutions. She has worked in top positions<br />

in various multinational companies varying from mining, chemical, international OEMs and<br />

petrochemical facilities as well as manufacturing. She transitioned into full-time business seven<br />

years ago, after leaving her 14-year career in the predominantly male-dominant industry of<br />

engineering. She is an MD of her two successful companies, SAKE Energy Solutions and SERITE<br />

Engineering, a global speaker, executive business coach, board member and humanitarian.<br />

38 | www.opportunityonline.co.za



ENERGY<br />

An Energy One Stop<br />

Shop has been launched<br />

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition<br />

(the dtic), through InvestSA, has launched the Energy One Stop Shop.<br />

The aim is to fast-track all applications for energy projects<br />

in South Africa. Previously, independent power producers<br />

trying to lodge an application to create a power plant<br />

were subjected to 12 separate authorisation processes<br />

and long delays. The focus will be on renewable energy projects<br />

and the programme will be rolled out in four phases by InvestSA.<br />

The first phase, launched in 2023, allows for online registration of<br />

energy projects and a tracking device to show how that project<br />

is advancing along the line towards approval. The programme<br />

managers are mandated to work with all the relevant government<br />

departments and agencies to streamline the process. The initiative<br />

simplifies the administrative procedures for issuing business<br />

approvals, permits and licences and thereby removes bottlenecks<br />

that delay the addition of megawatts to the grid, a national priority.<br />

This shows that the state is taking steps to support small-scale<br />

embedded generation (SSEG) power projects (under schedule 2<br />

of the Electricity Regulation Act) to realise energy security and to<br />

support efforts to decarbonise South Africa’s economy.<br />

Key functions of the EOSS<br />

First and foremost, the EOSS exists to provide<br />

a single-window-facilitation process for<br />

energy projects and to shorten timeframes<br />

for project approvals by expediting, fasttracking<br />

and removing blockages. Other<br />

functions include: be a conduit between<br />

developers and departments; provide<br />

technical support and advisory services;<br />

provide a link with private sector and<br />

industry associations; act as an escalation<br />

mechanism; and engage in advocacy.<br />

Facts and figures<br />

• 24 priority projects, 2 121MW<br />

• 114 projects in total, 16 859MW<br />

Business support<br />

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and several other<br />

organizations collaborating with the government<br />

to address the country's energy crisis welcome the<br />

Energy One Stop Shop (EOSS) initiative. The EOSS<br />

is a response to President Cyril Ramaphosa's 2022<br />

announcement of an Energy Action Plan, which led<br />

to the establishment of the National Energy Crisis<br />

Committee (NECOM). NECOM, a high-level group<br />

comprising ministers and state officials interfacing<br />

with business CEO champions and organized<br />

business executives, prioritising among other<br />

interventions the initiation of the EOSS. The EOSS<br />

platform is designed to expedite the deployment of<br />

energy projects, aligning with the recently amended<br />

Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act. The EOSS<br />

as a collaborative effort aims to provide business<br />

support and contribute to resolving the energy<br />

challenges in South Africa.<br />

These projects include 83 solar PV projects and 14 wind<br />

farms but also include newer technologies and hybrids such<br />

as solar PV with battery storage, vanadium battery projects and<br />

BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems). Eskom’s Hex BESS was<br />

launched near Worcester in November 2023.<br />

Contact details<br />

Reception: 012 394 5555<br />

info@energyoss.gov.za | www.energyoss.gov.za<br />

Lester Bouah, Chief Director: Investment Mobilisation<br />

Head: Energy One Stop Shop (EOSS)<br />

Invest South Africa: Department of<br />

Trade, Industry and Competition<br />

Mobile: +27 66 302 0715 | Office: +27 12 394 3773<br />

Email: lbouah@thedtic.gov.za<br />

www.investsa.gov.za | www.doingbusiness.org.za |<br />

www.thedtic.gov.za<br />

40 | www.opportunityonline.co.za<br />

Energy One Stop Shop


Adding value<br />

through<br />

engineering<br />

solutions<br />

The experienced staff of Fluids<br />

Media Engineering strive<br />

for excellence in its work with<br />

minimal environmental impact.<br />

Fluids Media Engineering is a black empowerment<br />

mechanical engineering construction company<br />

founded in 2005. With its roots in the Eastern Cape,<br />

the company’s head offices are now in Gauteng.<br />

Mission<br />

Delivering cost-effective value-adding engineering<br />

solutions in collaboration with our clients by leveraging<br />

on our know-how as well as through our commitment<br />

to delivering excellence. This is achieved with minimal<br />

environmental impact and the occupational health and<br />

safety of all participants is continuously enhanced.<br />

Vision<br />

To become an inspiring engineering contracting company,<br />

fostering growth and creativity whilst contributing to the<br />

wealth and wellbeing of all stakeholders.<br />

Company founder Vuyo Nongogo holds a Diploma<br />

in Mechanical Engineering, a BTech MechEng and a<br />

certificate in Advanced Project Management from<br />

Rhodes University. He honed his engineering skills in the<br />

automotive industry, with highlights including being<br />

Project Engineer for the W203 C-Class Mercedes drivetrain<br />

assembly project. After a spell with Volkswagen<br />

South Africa as Project Manager for VW trucks assembly<br />

and being part of the project team for the introduction<br />

of the Golf 5, Vuyo joined a mechanical engineering<br />

construction company and it was then that he developed<br />

the vision for Fluids Media Engineering.<br />

Qualified staff<br />

The Fluids Media Engineering staff comprises highly<br />

skilled and experienced personnel, covering the following<br />

areas of expertise: project managers, technicians,


Vuyo Nongogo, Managing Director,<br />

Fluids Media Engineering<br />

artisans, professional welders, semiskilled<br />

artisans and draftsmen. They are<br />

supported by an administration and finance team.<br />

Our services include:<br />

• Pipe systems<br />

Galvanised screwed piping assembly for compressed air<br />

and fluids reticulation plants; stainless steel welded piping<br />

assembly; FMCG product lines; welded black media piping;<br />

PVC piping; copper piping for medical gas lines and general<br />

engineering; HDPE piping.<br />

• Specialised plants<br />

Water treatment plants and pump stations; cooling water systems;<br />

steam reticulation; HVAC.<br />

• Steel works<br />

Pedestrian bridges; jigs and fixtures; gantries for overhead<br />

conveyors and cranes; mezzanine floor steel structures.<br />

• Air conditioning and refrigeration<br />

Installations and maintenance for chiller plants and airconditioning<br />

units.<br />

Accreditations<br />

CIDB 7ME PE, SAIW Registered, ISO 9001 (Imminent Accreditation)<br />

Our clients<br />

We have clients in the corporate and public sectors. They<br />

include automotive OEMs, civil and building construction<br />

companies, FMCG companies, municipalities, government<br />

departments (such as Public Works and Infrastructure and<br />

Health), state entities such as Industrial Development Zones,<br />

Eskom, Transnet and the South African Petroleum Retailers’<br />

Association (SAPRA).<br />

Contact details<br />

Head office: 6645 Potgieter Street, Rosslyn, Pretoria 0201<br />

FME has head offices in Cape Town and East London.<br />

Tel: 012 054 5653<br />

Mobile + 27 72 701 3932<br />

Email: vuyo@fmeng.co.za<br />

LinkedIn: Vuyo Nongogo<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 43


Lessons in customer centricity<br />

Teachings from the use of mobile apps in the insurance industry have given Yaron<br />

Assabi, the founder of the Digital Solutions Group (DSG), unique insights into how<br />

a frictionless commerce experience can improve customer retention.<br />

In the past, online shopping was primarily about convenience.<br />

According to Wired, the online trend accelerated by 77% just<br />

months into the pandemic, progressing innovation and adoption<br />

of digital commerce by half a decade. Shopping, working and<br />

socialising online became mainstream worldwide because it was<br />

the only way to connect with others while staying safe, advancing<br />

digital commerce from a nice-to-have to a necessity.<br />

Those habits have stuck. Many people now routinely order<br />

groceries on Checkers Sixty60 or hail a cab through Uber or Bolt.<br />

We order movie, travel and sports tickets online or use a selfservice<br />

kiosk that is effectively the e-commerce experience in a<br />

booth. “Teams” is becoming the common term for online meetings,<br />

a modern example of the phenomenon called genericisation.<br />

We are now truly becoming a connected society and in that<br />

context, there is one fundamental requirement for success in the<br />

services sector, according to Yaron Assabi, founder of the Digital<br />

Solutions Group (DSG). Says Assabi: “A frictionless experience for<br />

your customers, employees and suppliers is non-negotiable when<br />

looking to succeed in competitive markets. The reason for this is<br />

simple: when you remove friction from a process or a system, you<br />

give back the one resource no-one is able to generate more of,<br />

time. In the future, the most powerful brands will be customercentric.<br />

Successful companies will know their customer and will<br />

be the customer's advocates.”<br />

Lessons in customer centricity<br />

The digital era should make services and companies more<br />

customer-centric, meaning a move away from focusing on products<br />

as the primary catalyst for innovation and improvement. It should<br />

be easier to reduce friction for customers, looking holistically at<br />

how data, supply chain and commerce technology – coupled<br />

with digital solutions – can create a frictionless experience for<br />

customers. This is easier said than done, especially for solutions that<br />

involve apps, says Assabi: “The biggest challenge for mobile apps<br />

is retention. Getting users to download an app is one thing but<br />

bringing them back to the app is another ballgame and continues<br />

44 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Hone it and they will stay, is the author’s slogan for the<br />

connected age. Credit: Rob Hampson on Unsplash<br />

Traditional auto insurance underwriting heavily weighs credit and<br />

driving history, so young drivers with lean credit are often unfairly<br />

penalised. Consumers, especially those under 30, often pay more<br />

even if they are less risky. We leverage trust and frequency of<br />

communications to create multiple positive touch points during<br />

the time that we observe the consumer driving behaviour and<br />

consumers can save between 10 and 40%.”<br />

Using data as a two-way link with customers, these insurers<br />

use innovative features such as IoT-monitored “digital test<br />

drives” to help customers get personalised quotes. For<br />

insurers, it provides a non-comparative and differentiated<br />

value proposition that is personalised and helps convert<br />

more leads. The insurer also only quotes for their preferred<br />

risk, making it more profitable in the long term. In terms of<br />

apps, successful insurers also use “digital nudges” to provide<br />

contextual relevance and help drive higher conversions at every<br />

touchpoint. Nudges can introduce segment-specific features,<br />

highlight personalised content and<br />

facilitate low-code A/B testing.<br />

Yaron Assabi, founder of the<br />

Digital Solutions Group<br />

to be a major hurdle in almost every app's growth journey; 66%<br />

of users do not return to the app after a week of installing the<br />

application. In addition, one in two apps are uninstalled within<br />

one month of download.”<br />

According to research by Netcore Cloud, several<br />

reasons combine to produce such poor results:<br />

• Poor first-time experiences that lead to higher time-to-value<br />

• Complicated navigation that makes it difficult for users to find<br />

the relevant features (low feature discovery)<br />

• Lack of guidance on how to use features (absence of in-app<br />

guides leading to low feature adoption)<br />

• Intrusive app experience (flashy pop-ups and alerts)<br />

• Too many steps to reach the final conversion point<br />

• The rapid change in the way users interact with apps<br />

Becoming customer-centric<br />

These problems reflect the broader challenges around using<br />

customer-centricity. Many organisations might think they<br />

are focused on customer-related metrics, but their use is still<br />

superficial. Forward-thinking insurers provide a great example<br />

of this principle in reverse. Assabi notes: “We partner with<br />

companies in the short-term insurance industry, making use of<br />

IoT data from the sensors of the mobile device to observe how<br />

people drive and therefore offer them better insurance quotes,<br />

tailored to their specific driving behaviour.<br />

“Your customers want to trust they can find, buy and get the<br />

products they want every time they shop, as well as trust that<br />

businesses will keep their financial and personal data safe and<br />

secure,” says Assabi. “We combine mobility data with other financial<br />

data to segment and target more effectively and we use data and<br />

risk scores to create a frictionless commerce experience. Our<br />

design team focuses on the customer journey to ensure customers<br />

have all the information they need to find the right product for<br />

them.” Customer-centricity fuelled by intelligent use of data leads<br />

to the kind of innovation and frictionless experiences that build<br />

trust between customers and brands. This is not a fad aimed at<br />

driving traffic. Rather, this is a sincere way to align business goals<br />

with customer sentiment and support. It's not “Build it and they<br />

will come.” The slogan of the connected era is, “Hone it and they<br />

will stay.” The road to that result is customer-centricity. What are<br />

you doing to ensure your customers stay?<br />

About Digital Solutions Group<br />

With a track record spanning 24 years, DSG has become one of<br />

Africa’s leading providers of On-Demand Customer Experience and<br />

Digital Solutions, serving some of Africa’s premier consumer-facing<br />

and corporate brands.<br />

For more visit: dsg.co.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 45


Power wheeling: the solution<br />

to grid instability and<br />

achieving South Africa’s<br />

decarbonisation goals<br />

Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer Dejan Kastelic explains how “virtual wheeling”<br />

offers an exciting and innovative way forward for companies looking to move beyond loadshedding.<br />

Climate change is arguably one of the biggest challenges<br />

which the human race has ever faced. The effects of<br />

climate change are visible throughout the world and it<br />

is already disproportionally affecting poorer countries.<br />

However, richer countries are not the only contributors to climate<br />

change and are not solely responsible to solve it. With South<br />

Africa’s grid emissions being some of the highest in the world<br />

due to our dependence on fossil-fuel-based power generation,<br />

it is clear that our current path to support our insatiable need for<br />

energy is not sustainable. Furthermore, research has shown that<br />

a stable and abundant supply of energy is the foundation of a<br />

flourishing economy.<br />

Yet South Africa is experiencing unprecedented levels of<br />

loadshedding in already challenging post-Covid economic<br />

environment conditions. In the past four years alone, Vodacom<br />

South Africa spent R4.5-billion on backup power solutions and<br />

R300-million on diesel for generators. This is a staggering 11%<br />

of Vodacom’s total capital expenditure over the period. This<br />

highlights just how large a burden has been placed on South<br />

Dejan Kastelic: Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer<br />

Africans, especially for businesses in the SME sector, who need to<br />

both maintain operations and remain competitive in their pricing.<br />

This is over and above the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.<br />

Despite accelerated digitisation in the post-Covid era, South<br />

Africa has been regrettably slow in using the transformative power<br />

of technology to address perhaps our largest hurdle – the power<br />

crisis. For some time, electricity wheeling has been available in<br />

South Africa; however, in its traditional form it excluded the<br />

majority of the private sector from participating due to structural<br />

and administrative limitations. Legacy limitations prevented<br />

Eskom from opening wheeling to companies other than the typical<br />

large industrial and mining customers. Access to this solution was<br />

also limited to Eskom’s customers and those in specific areas, since<br />

only a few select municipalities had wheeling frameworks in place.<br />

Traditional electricity wheeling, with a few exceptions, typically<br />

involves a single buyer (a private company), partnering with an<br />

Independent Power Producer (IPP) to indirectly supply a single<br />

site with power, usually generated from renewable sources. This<br />

legacy approach requires the buyer to be indirectly connected<br />

to the IPP’s location through existing electrical infrastructure (the<br />

grid). This has several challenges, especially for businesses with<br />

complex operating environments. In Vodacom’s case, our desire<br />

to participate in wheeling has been hindered by the complexity<br />

of our South African operating environment that includes over<br />

15 000 distributed low-voltage sites located across the country<br />

within 168 municipalities.<br />

However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel with<br />

the introduction of a new technologically-enabled solution to<br />

the market. By reimagining the problem, for just over a year, we<br />

worked together to challenge the status quo, co-create, test and<br />

iron out the finer details and mechanisms to deliver a solution<br />

for which Vodacom finally entered into an official agreement with<br />

Eskom, called “virtual wheeling”. The signing of this agreement<br />

opens significant opportunities within the private sector, giving<br />

all businesses a chance to save on costs and achieve their<br />

decarbonisation goals. This solution enables the private sector<br />

to actively participate in solving the energy crisis by indirectly<br />

funding the development of renewable power, which is added<br />

46 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Vodacom is aiming for 100% renewables electricity sourcing by<br />

2025. CREDIT: Zbynek Burival, Unsplash<br />

to the national grid, all without impacting Eskom’s weak balance<br />

sheet. This is a technological innovation that every business in the<br />

country should be actively exploring which, if scaled properly,<br />

could significantly reduce or even eliminate loadshedding in South<br />

Africa in the next few years.<br />

Virtual wheeling<br />

This Vodacom innovation, which has been co-developed with<br />

Eskom, has been dubbed “virtual wheeling”. Unlike traditional<br />

wheeling, which (apart from a few exceptions) entailed a oneto-one<br />

relationship where a single IPP generates power into the<br />

grid and wheels the power to a single site (buyer), virtual wheeling<br />

enables multiple IPPs to generate power into the grid and wheel to<br />

multiple sites for a single buyer. The platform that was developed<br />

enables a buyer to aggregate all of its consumption into timeof-use<br />

periods as a single account which is then matched, in timeof-use,<br />

with the aggregated generation by one or more IPPs.<br />

In our case, we will partner with renewable IPPs, who will feed<br />

the generated power into the grid. The IPP and our sites will be<br />

metered and the metered data will feed into the virtual wheeling<br />

platform which we have built using our subsidiary Mezzanine.<br />

The Vodacom Energy Management System collects various<br />

consumption data points across a period, feeding this information<br />

to the Virtual Wheeling Platform. As long as the generation is lower<br />

or equal to the aggregated consumption, Vodacom will receive a<br />

refund from Eskom.<br />

Importantly, implementing this solution did not require any<br />

amendments to existing electricity supply agreements and it does<br />

not impact the municipalities in any way.<br />

As a purpose-led company, we believe that it is important to<br />

make a positive impact in the societies and environments that<br />

we operate in. There is, however, one remaining, unaddressed<br />

challenge for virtual wheeling. Eskom only refunds the buyer in<br />

virtual wheeling for consumption in municipalities who are in good<br />

standing. A mechanism is, therefore, required to “ring-fence” the<br />

electricity income in a municipality to provide security for Eskom.<br />

For Vodacom, virtual wheeling is a key step towards achieving<br />

our own decarbonisation goals. For the country, it’s one of many<br />

steps towards resolving the energy crisis and enabling the<br />

migration to sustainable and renewable-energy generation plants.<br />

We have estimated that this approach will initially move 30% of<br />

our consumption to renewable sources, a significant step towards<br />

Virtual wheeling enables multiple power producers to generate<br />

power into the grid and wheel to multiple sites for a single buyer.<br />

CREDIT: Kirchoff, BrandSA<br />

our goal of 100% renewables electricity sourcing by 2025. Beyond<br />

consumer interest, other sectors have come forward with potential<br />

complementary solutions which will help to mitigate the existing<br />

risks associated with this model.<br />

Among these concerns is how Eskom tariff increases over<br />

the term of a power-purchase agreement will affect the margin<br />

between the rate of the refund (which is currently based on<br />

the wholesale electricity pricing system, WEPS, tariff structure)<br />

and the cost of energy from the IPPs. Hopefully further testing<br />

and investment will sufficiently address any concerns over the<br />

commercial sustainability of this approach.<br />

Beyond loadshedding<br />

While opportunities are created with additional renewable<br />

power, interim solutions are still required to address the high<br />

usage of diesel for power generation. A whole economy for green<br />

hydrogen can be created with renewable power and hydrogen<br />

as a replacement for diesel combustion is ideal. This means that<br />

purpose-led companies like Vodacom are on the continuous<br />

lookout for renewable power and alternative fuels, but most of<br />

the solutions have various limitations, which make the application<br />

in our industry limited and less attractive. Innovative thinking and<br />

contextualised solutions to address these challenges could disrupt<br />

the industry, revitalise South Africa’s economy and create a more<br />

inclusive future for us all.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 47


Consumers are confused about<br />

the impact of paper on forests<br />

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) analyses the results of an<br />

international survey into environmental perceptions and finds that many South Africans<br />

don’t know about the sustainability credentials of the country’s forestry sector.<br />

South African consumers’ views on environmental<br />

perceptions, preferences and attitudes towards print,<br />

paper and paper-based packaging have been included for<br />

the first time in an international survey, which showed that<br />

many are still confused about the relationship between farmed<br />

wood for papermaking and deforestation.<br />

The responses of 10 000 people in 16 countries were<br />

documented by Two Sides in the biennial Trend Tracker Survey.<br />

While 71% of South African consumers agree that it is important to<br />

use paper products from sustainably managed forests, and 36% pay<br />

attention to forestry certification labels when purchasing paperbased<br />

products, the perceptions that a paperless environment is<br />

ecologically friendly and that forestry as an industry contributes<br />

to deforestation, persists.<br />

The survey showed that 35% of consumers believed that<br />

electronic devices were the most environmentally friendly, yet<br />

wood ranked second and paper ranked fourth. On the one hand,<br />

77% of people feel that electronic communication is better than<br />

paper-based media. Then again, 76% acknowledge that planted<br />

forests are not bad for the environment, a clear contradiction.<br />

According to the World Wildlife Fund, agriculture is the<br />

leading cause of deforestation, which occurs primarily in tropical<br />

and subtropical regions of the world and is linked to meat, soya<br />

beans and palm oil. Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper<br />

Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA), says the forest<br />

and paper sector is misunderstood and thus beleaguered by myths<br />

that are rooted in ignorance and assumption.<br />

“Timber plantations or planted forests make up 7% of the global<br />

forest area, yet provide about 50% of the wood for industrial use<br />

such as pulp, paper and timber for construction,” she says. For this<br />

reason, balancing sustainability with productive and economic<br />

imperatives is high on the forestry sector’s agenda. “Through<br />

biodiversity enrichment, water stewardship and community<br />

support programmes, the forestry sector invests significantly in<br />

reducing its impact on the land it uses,” says Molony.<br />

In May 2023, PAMSA member Mondi South Africa and<br />

Endangered Wildlife Trust announced a three-year partnership<br />

to map Mondi South Africa’s species and ecosystem biodiversity<br />

footprint and identify best practices for biodiversity management<br />

in its local forestry operations.<br />

Sustainable forestry misunderstood<br />

Paper’s core component, cellulose, is a renewable resource. In<br />

South Africa, where almost all indigenous forests and woodlands<br />

are protected, wood for pulp and paper product comes from<br />

sustainably managed forests where the cycle of planting, growing<br />

and regenerating is carefully controlled. The needs of the timber,<br />

pulp and paper sectors are served by 1.4-billion trees planted on<br />

1.2-million hectares, which is 1% of South Africa’s total land cover.<br />

“Forestry companies have nurseries tending to millions of<br />

seedlings every year which go on to replace mature trees once they<br />

have been harvested,” explains Molony. Less than 10% of the total<br />

plantation area is harvested annually and this is replanted within<br />

the same year, which means that more than 111-million trees are<br />

planted every year. “That is, on average, 306 000 trees a day.”<br />

South Africa is naturally a very tree-poor country, with only 0.4%<br />

of the country being covered with indigenous trees. This is one of<br />

the key reasons why only commercially planted trees are used for<br />

wood products, to prevent encroaching on our indigenous forests.<br />

In addition, at least one quarter of forestry-owned land is left<br />

unplanted, allowing biodiversity-rich corridors to flourish with<br />

indigenous fauna and flora in grasslands, wetlands and wooded<br />

areas. Sappi, also a PAMSA member, has seven declared nature<br />

reserves on its landholdings in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal<br />

provinces with a combined 6 320 hectares including Clairmont<br />

Mountain Nature Reserve which is home to 10 red-data species.<br />

48 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship has been in place for<br />

more than three decades.<br />

Nursing seedlings until they are ready for<br />

the field. CREDIT: Mondi<br />

Sappi’s Clairmont Mountain Nature Reserve is home to 10<br />

red-data species.<br />

Mondi South Africa and Endangered Wildlife Trust are working<br />

together to map the company’s species and ecosystem<br />

biodiversity footprint.<br />

These reserves are part of South Africa’s Biodiversity Stewardship<br />

Programme managed by the South African National Biodiversity<br />

Institute (SANBI).<br />

What about water?<br />

Water use was another area where misconceptions seem to<br />

have taken hold. Just more than half of consumers surveyed<br />

(51%) believe that paper production uses an excessive amount<br />

of water, but the forestry sector uses only 3% of South Africa’s<br />

available water, with agriculture and domestic water consumption<br />

accounting for 60% and 29% respectively.<br />

“Plantations are not irrigated. Some companies plant seedlings<br />

with hydrogel, but the rest is up to nature,” says Molony. “Yet our<br />

sector is the only sector to pay a ‘rain tax’, as forestry is considered<br />

a stream-flow-reduction activity.” Trees, like any living organism,<br />

take in, use and transpire water as part of their growth needs.<br />

“This is why the forestry industry is adopting a more stringent<br />

approach to planting, ensuring buffer zones exist between<br />

compartments and riverine areas,” notes Molony.<br />

The WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship has been in place<br />

for more than three decades, initially centred on wetland<br />

management but later expanded to focus on catchmentbased<br />

water stewardship which prioritises catchments with<br />

possible water-related risks. Mondi has made investments<br />

in rehabilitating wetlands on plantation landholdings in<br />

Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Currently<br />

Mondi manages about 15 000 hectares of wetlands within its<br />

own and leased land properties.<br />

Sappi is also working closely with WWF to improve the<br />

catchment and the ecological integrity of the uMkomaas River<br />

which is strategic for Sappi in terms of water supply to operations.<br />

Work includes clearing of invasive alien plants in the catchment<br />

area by using members of the local community who are employed<br />

in the project, which contributes to employment in the rural areas<br />

of Impendle. “We have to continue to challenge the misconceptions<br />

and contradictory opinions surrounding wood and paper-based<br />

products and their impact on the environment,” concludes Molony.<br />

“When people grasp that trees are farmed, just like we farm mealies<br />

and wheat, their perception shifts. I’ve witnessed this personally<br />

time and time again.”<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 49



Closing the gap<br />

Universities should be equipping students with the skills and abilities they need to thrive in the modern<br />

workplace, argues Cymbeline Harilal, Instructional Designer at The Independent Institute of Education.<br />

Most parents wish to provide their children with the<br />

skills, competencies and therefore education to<br />

become successful and accomplished in their careers.<br />

In pursuit of this objective, they place their trust in<br />

universities and other higher-education institutions to properly<br />

prepare their children for the ever-changing job landscape.<br />

However, given how dramatically the world of work has<br />

changed and continues to change, it is crucial for all highereducation<br />

institutions to consider and in many cases review their<br />

offering, to ensure they deliver relevant and integrated curricula<br />

that adequately meet employer demands and enable students to<br />

excel in their chosen fields, an education expert says.<br />

“Higher-education institutions must therefore now, more<br />

than ever before, include and be intentional in integrating<br />

21st-century and industry-aligned graduate attributes into all<br />

curricula,” says Cymbeline Harilal, Instructional Designer at The<br />

Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), a leading private<br />

higher-education provider.<br />

Harilal notes that between the corporate and educational<br />

sectors there is a concerning mismatch between industry demands<br />

and graduate attributes developed in universities.<br />

“It is necessary for universities to bridge the gap through the<br />

delivery of dynamic curricula that address the disparity between<br />

skills supply and industry demand. The relevant skills outlined in<br />

the World Economic Forum's report on 21st-century requirements<br />

highlight the significance of an adaptable curriculum in response<br />

to changing job demands. These 21st-century skills comprise<br />

foundational, competencies, character qualities and technical<br />

skills.”<br />

The broad skills categories can be described as:<br />

Foundational<br />

Students must be able to apply the core skills of literacy,<br />

numeracy, scientific, IT and financial literacy. These are<br />

predominantly developed in school but some students who<br />

matriculated from schools in disadvantaged communities may<br />

need additional support.<br />

52 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Competencies<br />

Critical thinking, creativity, clear communication skills<br />

(both written and spoken), problem-solving abilities and<br />

collaboration are critical for interacting in a corporate<br />

environment where these skills are required to drive the<br />

business to be effective, efficient and competitive. An<br />

additional competency that has recently become important<br />

is the ability to apply oneself independently in a remotework<br />

environment.<br />

About the IIE<br />

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of<br />

the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa’s largest private education<br />

provider. The IIE is the largest, most accredited registered private<br />

higher education institute in South Africa and is accredited by<br />

the British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality<br />

assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK.<br />

Character qualities<br />

These are more difficult to integrate into a curriculum as they<br />

ultimately boil down to personality traits but it is important<br />

to note that they can be introduced and developed.<br />

Curiosity, confidence, initiative, persistence (grit), emotional<br />

intelligence, adaptability, leadership, resilience and social/<br />

cultural awareness are among the traits that are valued in<br />

the workplace.<br />

Technical skills<br />

Proficiency in complex technologies, data manipulation and<br />

strategic utilisation of technology has become essential for<br />

gaining a competitive edge geared towards bridging the<br />

gap between the skills demanded by industries and those<br />

provided by higher-education institutions.<br />

Evolving expectations<br />

Harilal further explains how, as expectations evolve and<br />

the future job market remains uncertain, many graduates<br />

express apprehension about their employment prospects.<br />

The role of higher-education institutions in bridging this<br />

gap through a dynamic curriculum is pivotal in aligning<br />

employer demands with 21st-century skills. This requires<br />

continuous research into industry needs and the integration<br />

of essential skills within their curricula. “Universities are<br />

duty-bound through their curriculum and learning design<br />

to develop and shape critical and independent thinkers,<br />

equipping students with the necessary attributes to thrive<br />

in the ever-evolving world of work. Recognising the scarcity<br />

of employment opportunities, curricula must go beyond<br />

compliance with policies and regulations, to continuously<br />

evolve and remain flexible, ensuring that students’ education<br />

aligns with employers’ expectations,” says Harilal. She says<br />

students should be provided with opportunities to evaluate<br />

conceptual knowledge, analyse complex ideas and generate<br />

innovative solutions, enabling the development of numeracy,<br />

writing, communication and technological skills to meet<br />

industry demands. Harilal concludes, “By bridging the gap<br />

between employer expectations and the skills possessed<br />

by graduates, a seamless transition into the professional<br />

world of work becomes more likely, to the benefit both of<br />

the graduates and industry in South Africa.”<br />

Cymbeline Harilal, Instructional Designer at The IEE<br />

www.theworldofwork.co.za or www.iie.ac.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 53


Traditional fish kraals are a feature of the iSimangaliso<br />

Wetland Park MPA. Credit: Judy Mann<br />

Marine Protected Areas are a<br />

massive ecotourism drawcard<br />

The MPA Day Committee, comprising representatives from nine organisations,<br />

issued this article about Marine Protected Areas to draw attention to the<br />

huge potential that these areas hold for the tourism sector.<br />

Known as the “game reserves of the sea”, Marine Protected<br />

Areas (MPAs) are earning their place in the spotlight as<br />

the MPA Day celebration on 1 August went global in<br />

2023. In addition to the many ecological benefits of these<br />

protected ocean areas, MPAs bring with them significant tourism<br />

potential which aligns with the 2023 World Tourism Day theme,<br />

Tourism and Green Investment.<br />

“Tourism is a massive contributor towards our local and global<br />

economies and in a country like South Africa, which has 41 MPAs,<br />

the potential for ecotourism is just waiting to be unlocked,”<br />

says Dr Judy Mann, founder of MPA Day and the Executive of<br />

Strategic Projects at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation.<br />

“By promoting MPA tourism initiatives, we’re able to empower<br />

local communities surrounding our MPAs through job creation,<br />

while educating and supporting conservation efforts and the<br />

advancement of our MPAs.”<br />

The potential of ecotourism around MPAs is already evident<br />

with several local establishments welcoming domestic and<br />

international visitors who are drawn to the natural beauty of the<br />

areas. One such example is in the Western Cape near De Hoop<br />

MPA where Morukuru Family De Hoop (Morukuru Beach Lodge<br />

and the exclusive-use Morukuru Ocean House) considers the MPA<br />

a unique selling point.<br />

“Guests at Morukuru Family De Hoop enjoy the unspoilt<br />

coastline, the scenic beauty of the reserve, the fynbos<br />

vegetation, as well as the abundant marine life,” explained<br />

Rinse Wassenaar, the Marketing Manager. “De Hoop MPA offers<br />

some of the best land-based whale watching anywhere in Africa<br />

as the whales are not disturbed by boats. Unlike other places,<br />

the De Hoop Nature Reserve is not overcrowded and guests at<br />

Morukuru Family De Hoop experience the sensation of feeling<br />

almost alone.”<br />

56 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


From July to October, visitors enjoy land-based whale watching,<br />

guided marine walks at low tide, guided fynbos and nature walks,<br />

guided nature drives, mountain biking, dune boarding, snorkelling<br />

and swimming in tidal pools. Visitors also enjoy sightings of<br />

resident turtles, such as the five rehabilitated turtles that were<br />

recently released into the reserve by the Two Oceans Aquarium<br />

Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre.<br />

Morukuru Family De Hoop employs 42 people and welcomes<br />

around 1 700 guests every year. The business also supports the<br />

MPA further through the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation, as<br />

well as sharing educational information via its website and<br />

marketing material.<br />

Leveraging attractions<br />

Another Western Cape-based tourism establishment that has<br />

leveraged the De Hoop Nature Reserve and MPA for ecotourism<br />

is Africansunroad. The company provides nature guides and hikes<br />

and wine walks with a special focus on the 55km Whale Trail which<br />

extends through the nature reserve from Potberg to Koppie Alleen.<br />

Gillian Louw, CEO of Africansunroad, says they welcome around<br />

80 tourists a year for the Whale Trail during which time they<br />

educate visitors about the MPA and clean any litter along the trail.<br />

She says the protection and restoration of this natural environment<br />

has attracted significant interest from tourists, with the recovery<br />

of ocean life a particularly welcome benefit. Another tourism<br />

establishment located near De Hoop MPA is Marine Dynamics<br />

which includes Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics Academy.<br />

Marine Dynamics is the founder of the Dyer Island Conservation<br />

Trust, African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.<br />

While they do not operate in the MPA, they have been<br />

campaigning to have the Great Dyer Island area demarcated as an<br />

MPA, while always positively promoting the nearby De Hoop MPA.<br />

The company hires 130 people and welcomes up to 40 000 visitors<br />

a year on their marine adventures which includes viewing the<br />

Marine Big 5: sharks, whales, African penguins, seals and dolphins.<br />

The Western Cape’s Pearly’s Restaurant in Langebaan, located<br />

near the West Coast National Park, benefits from the MPA’s<br />

ecotourism offerings which attract visitors for water sports,<br />

birdwatching and to witness the incredible flowers in season.<br />

The restaurant employs around 50 people and welcomes around<br />

50 000 patrons annually.<br />

An iconic destination<br />

While Robben Island is internationally renowned for<br />

its apartheid-era prison that housed President Nelson<br />

Mandela, many don’t realise that the island is also an<br />

MPA, a World Heritage Site and home to the third-largest<br />

African penguin colony. This makes the Robben Island<br />

Museum a big tourism drawcard, from both historical and<br />

ecotourism perspectives. Inga Sipuka, Nature Conservator<br />

at Robben Island Museum, notes that tourism, research<br />

and education are major drawcards for some 300 000 annual<br />

visitors: “We focus on the conservation of seabirds including the<br />

endangered African penguin, Bank and Cape cormorants.<br />

Morukuru Family De Hoop tidal walk.<br />

Credit: Morukuru Family De Hoop<br />

Hikers support local tourism operations in the<br />

Pondoland MPA region. Credit: Judy Mann<br />

A Clown fish, iSimangaliso MPA.<br />

Credit: Jacques van Jaarsveld, courtesy Adventure Mania<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 57


Walkers in the Mkambathi region of the<br />

Pondoland MPA. Credit: Doug Lang<br />

Effective signage is critical in MPA<br />

management. Credit: Judy Mann<br />

One of the challenges for the penguin population is food scarcity<br />

due to fishing activities that take place in the buffer zone. We have<br />

partnered with multiple stakeholders to enforce environmental<br />

law around Robben Island waters, including with SANParks and<br />

the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. We are<br />

also raising awareness about the importance of MPAs to minimise<br />

illegal activities.”<br />

The KZN South Coast is home to three MPAs, one of which is<br />

the world-class dive site, Protea Banks. African Dive Adventures is<br />

one local tourism establishment that gives up to 1 000 divers a year<br />

the chance to experience the incredible marine life at this MPA.<br />

Owner Roland Mauz says that while the term MPA was not<br />

widely known, visitors were happy to know they were diving in<br />

a “national park” that protects local marine life. He says, however,<br />

that more needs to be done to enforce the regulations around<br />

MPAs, as there is still illegal fishing and activities taking place that<br />

threaten these protected species.<br />

Kingfisher Lakeside Retreat is situated near another KZN South<br />

Coast MPA, Trafalgar, which is renowned for its fossil remains found<br />

on the beach. This, and the annual Sardine Run, are some of the<br />

big drawcards for visitors to the area. Malissa Barnard explains<br />

that the resort, which employs five people, is a unique glamping<br />

and dam fishing site, with around 450 annual visitors coming to<br />

spend time in nature. The resort contributes towards the upkeep<br />

of Trafalgar MPA by advertising beach clean-ups while supporting<br />

dune rehabilitation by planting indigenous vegetation.<br />

UNESCO World Heritage Site<br />

Further north in KZN is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and<br />

renowned MPA, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, where tourism<br />

establishments like Adventure Mania offer scuba diving, snorkelling<br />

and boat rides. The company, which hires six to 10 staff depending<br />

Clear water makes for superb snorkelling in the Kosi Mouth<br />

area of the iSimanagliso MPA. Credit: Judy Mann<br />

on the season, welcomes more than 4 000 visitors annually to this<br />

globally renowned tourism destination.<br />

The MPA status of iSimangaliso allows them to generate income<br />

through tourism and sustainable fishing, with the region providing<br />

valuable scientific research. All divers are instructed on the MPA<br />

status while being educated to “take only memories and leave<br />

only bubbles”. The preservation of this MPA is not only valuable<br />

for marine life and angling but has significant spiritual and cultural<br />

value for local residents.<br />

MPA Day 2023 events<br />

A range of MPA Day events were held including talks on kelp<br />

forests, beach walks and talks and a “Rocky Shore Treasure Hunt”.<br />

The partners involved in MPA Day are Two Oceans Aquarium, Flow<br />

Communications, Olivia Jones Communications, WildOceans (a<br />

programme of WildTrust), WWF-SA, I am Water, Cape Nature,<br />

SAEON-NRF and the SAAMBR.<br />

For updated information: www.mpa.org<br />

Join in the discussions around MPAs on Instagram<br />

@marineprotectedareassa, Twitter @MPAsSA1, Facebook Marine<br />

Protected Areas SA @MPASouthAfrica, YouTube MPA Day<br />

@mpaday2219, or LinkedIn MPA Day. Follow the hashtags<br />

#MPADay #letstalkMPAs<br />

Disseminated by: Olivia Jones Communications<br />

58 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Proper planning can ease<br />

the financial burden<br />

Brian Harris, General Manager: Operations at Turnberry, outlines the many<br />

benefits of gap insurance cover, not least at the time of bereavement.<br />

Credit: Rodnae Productions/Pexels<br />

Death is a topic that nobody enjoys discussing, and yet it<br />

is part of life. When you do pass away, your dependants<br />

will be left to deal with the loss and grief, as well as a<br />

hefty administrative burden that comes along with the<br />

process. Gap cover can help to ensure that your loved ones do<br />

not inherit large medical expense shortfalls related to any medical<br />

treatment or ongoing illness.<br />

While it is important to note that it is not a life insurance policy<br />

that will pay out upon your death, some gap cover policies do<br />

offer additional benefits like a gap premium and medical-schemecontribution<br />

waiver that can provide additional assistance.<br />

A burdensome task<br />

After someone passes away, there is a long list of administrative<br />

tasks that need to be taken care of, from obtaining a death<br />

certificate to arranging the funeral service, notifying friends and<br />

family as well as places of work, business associates and financial<br />

institutions and dealing with the will. Another duty of those who<br />

have been left behind is to settle the deceased’s debt, which<br />

includes bank loans, credit cards and any unpaid medical expenses.<br />

Without the right cover in place, this alone can add significantly to<br />

the burden of loved ones at a time that is already traumatic. Gap<br />

cover has become absolutely essential in covering the increasing<br />

medical expense shortfalls that is common with ongoing illnesses<br />

like cancer and heart disease, as well as medical emergencies and<br />

surgeries. However, gap cover may also have additional benefits<br />

that can help to alleviate some of the financial burden that family<br />

members may experience when a loved one passes.<br />

Gap cover benefits<br />

Certain gap cover plans and policies will include extra benefits<br />

that come into effect when the principal member passes away.<br />

This includes the medical-expense-contribution waiver, which<br />

will cover the member’s monthly medical aid payment for the<br />

family for a period of up to six months.<br />

There is also the gap-cover-premium waiver, which will pay for<br />

the gap cover premiums of the family for a period of 12 months<br />

after the principal member’s passing. In other words, the grieving<br />

family will not be saddled with the additional burden of trying<br />

to find the money to continue to pay for medical aid and gap<br />

cover while they wait for life insurance payouts and pension<br />

funds to be transferred and for the deceased estate to wrap up,<br />

which can take a significant amount of time. These will be paid<br />

by the gap cover provider for the specified period. It can be a<br />

comforting thought knowing that your family will not have to<br />

worry about these expenses during such a difficult time.<br />

60 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Planning ahead<br />

In addition to certain<br />

policies offering<br />

additional cover,<br />

it is also important<br />

to understand how<br />

this is transferred to<br />

dependants when the<br />

principal member passes<br />

away. In most cases, the<br />

medical scheme and gap<br />

cover policies can be seamlessly<br />

transferred to the deceased’s next of<br />

kin, such as a spouse, without any gaps in<br />

cover or waiting periods associated with a new<br />

policy. This can help to ensure continuous cover for those who<br />

are left behind. While no-one wants to think about their own<br />

mortality, it is important to plan for the unexpected.<br />

Gap cover ensures that, in addition to everything else they must<br />

deal with, your family will not be left with crippling medical debt.<br />

With the medical-scheme-contribution waiver and the gap-coverpremium-waiver<br />

benefit, you can have additional peace of mind<br />

knowing that your loved ones’ lives will be that much easier as<br />

Brian Harris, Turnberry<br />

General Manager:<br />

Operations<br />

they deal with grief. Speak<br />

to your broker or financial<br />

advisor about the best gap<br />

cover to suit your needs.<br />

About Turnberry Risk<br />

Management Solutions<br />

Founded in 2001, Turnberry is a<br />

registered financial services provider that<br />

specialises in accident and health insurance,<br />

travel insurance and funeral cover.<br />

Turnberry’s gap cover products are available to clients on<br />

all medical aid schemes, as they are independently provided<br />

and are therefore transferable in the event of a change in the<br />

client’s medical aid scheme. Turnberry is well represented<br />

nationally, with its Head Office based in Bedfordview,<br />

Johannesburg, with Business Development Managers in Cape<br />

Town and Durban. Turnberry is underwritten by Lombard<br />

Insurance Company Limited.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 61


Ensuring the safe<br />

return of loved ones<br />

Icebolethu's compassionate Global Repatriation Services<br />

makes sure that the journey of compassion is conducted in a nurturing way.<br />

During times of sorrow and bereavement, the repatriation<br />

process can bring additional difficulties. At Icebolethu,<br />

we comprehend the emotional burden of this<br />

undertaking and our Global Repatriation Services are<br />

purposefully designed to provide comfort and assistance when it<br />

is needed the most.<br />

Combining global reach with local sensibility<br />

Icebolethu takes great pride in extending our compassionate<br />

services across international borders. With a dedicated focus on<br />

countries within the Southern African Development Community<br />

(SADC), we bring a wealth of expertise, understanding and<br />

professionalism to every aspect of the repatriation process.<br />

Streamlined solutions for peace of mind<br />

Expert guidance: Our competent team is well-versed in the<br />

intricacies of international repatriation protocols, ensuring that<br />

your loved one is returned home with meticulous care and<br />

adherence to regulations.<br />

Efficient logistics: Icebolethu's extensive global network enables<br />

us to navigate complex logistical challenges seamlessly. From<br />

all the necessary paperwork to<br />

transportation, you can<br />

trust us to handle<br />

every detail with<br />

precision.<br />

Cultural sensitivity: We acknowledge and respect the diverse<br />

cultures within the SADC region and our team is committed to<br />

upholding the traditions and customs that provide solace and<br />

tranquility to grieving families.<br />

Beyond repatriation: comprehensive support<br />

At Icebolethu, we go beyond repatriation. We provide a range of<br />

supportive services, including grief counseling, assistance with<br />

memorial arrangements and personalised aid to alleviate the<br />

burden on those left behind during this difficult time.<br />

Our plan includes the following:<br />

• Get monthly discounts with iSave rewards loyalty programme.<br />

• Minibus for 14 people.<br />

• Add grocery benefit (cash payout of R15 000) from R75 p/m.<br />

• Include flight and accommodation for two people from<br />

R145 p/m.<br />

• Repatriation by road or flight depending on plan.<br />

• Casket, lowering device and documentation.<br />

Included in some plans: hearse, graveside equipment, printed<br />

programmes and a photograph.<br />

Restoring dignity, preserving memories<br />

By choosing Icebolethu for global repatriation, you choose<br />

a partner who values the dignity of every individual and<br />

honours the memories of those we bring back home. During<br />

your time of need, rest assured that Icebolethu will provide<br />

compassionate, professional and reliable global repatriation<br />

services to SADC countries.<br />

Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you during this<br />

challenging journey.<br />

Icebolethu – bringing loved ones home with compassion.<br />

Contact details<br />

Executive Director: NN Mcoyi<br />

Non-Executive Directors: Rev KT Mkhize, N Ntsunguzi,<br />

N Mngadi<br />

277 Umbilo Road, Congella, Durban 4013<br />

Tel: +27 31 208 9102 | +27 86 000 7580<br />

Email: marketing@icebolethu.co.za<br />

Website: www.icebolethugroup.co.za<br />

Executive Director and CEO, Nomfundo Mcoyi


Demystifying<br />

financial products<br />


Financial services with<br />

a heart and soul<br />

Too many people are confused by financial services offerings, says the Executive Director<br />

of Thapantha Financial Services, Tsotetsi Phoba, whose firm works hard to match people and products.<br />

What inspired the creation of Thapantha Financial Services?<br />

Having worked with organised labour for over 20 years, the need<br />

still exists for an independent financial services company. Most<br />

products which are available in the market have limitations as<br />

they don’t have a space for an independent comparison analysis.<br />

Our role is to analyse the needs of workers and provide the best<br />

relevant solution which is available from across the financial<br />

services sector. All financial services providers are considered and<br />

the best value proposition is offered to the market.<br />

Where is the biggest gap in the public’s<br />

understanding of financial services?<br />

Medical aids, life products and investments which are being offered<br />

in the market are very complicated and need to be simplified. We do<br />

that by offering relevant financial literacy.<br />

How does TFS go about rectifying this gap in understanding?<br />

We have staff members who are highly trained in each area of their<br />

expertise. We also partner with experts in each field who offer an<br />

easy understanding of products.<br />

Does the training help people spot scams?<br />

Our training empowers our potential clients to ask all relevant<br />

questions when confronted with dicey product sellers.<br />

How do you achieve the aim to<br />

“demystify financial services products”?<br />

Simply put, we design products with our partners and experts which<br />

fills the gap in our market. Our Thapantha Financial Services Big 5<br />

funeral package, which is underwritten by Old Mutual, is such a<br />

product. Our policies are administered by House of Administration<br />

(FSP 50841). With this product, from as little as R125 per week, you<br />

can cover any 10 dependents with insurable interest for a<br />

benefit of R10 000. In that product you can cover members<br />

who are up to 85 years at entry. Our unique offering<br />

has an optional savings plan from as little as R25 per<br />

week. Through our partner RISE, our Asset Manager, the<br />

money is invested in the money market. A member can<br />

opt for a termed 12, 36, 60 months or an open-ended<br />

withdrawal. This product encourages a savings culture<br />

while also paying for a funeral plan.<br />

Does the company have expansion plans?<br />

We have grown phenomenally in the past two years<br />

where we have over 20 000 lives on our books and this<br />

growth has attracted more service providers who wants<br />

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SACCI Business Confidence Index – November 2023<br />

Economic data<br />

The SACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI)<br />

2020 = 100<br />

Month 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023<br />

January 107.0 112.9 115.3 109.9 106.6 109.2 <strong>108</strong>.8 112.9<br />

February 107.1 110.4 114.3 <strong>108</strong>.0 107.2 109.0 112.0 111.9<br />

March <strong>108</strong>.6 <strong>108</strong>.4 112.8 106.1 103.9 <strong>108</strong>.7 110.5 111.3<br />

April 110.4 109.7 111.0 <strong>108</strong>.3 89.9 109.5 <strong>108</strong>.3 107.1<br />

May 106.1 107.7 <strong>108</strong>.7 107.5 81.0 112.1 103.2 106.9<br />

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) regularly publishes economic data<br />

relating to business confidence and trade, the SACCI Business Confidence Index and the Trade Conditions<br />

Survey. As of 2023, SACCI has been collaborating with the Bureau<br />

October<br />

of Market Research (BMR) in producing<br />

November<br />

the Small Business Growth Index. For more statistics, see www.sacci.org.za and www.bmr.co.za<br />

June 109.9 109.7 <strong>108</strong>.3 107.9 94.1 111.2 <strong>108</strong>.5 <strong>108</strong>.8<br />

July 111.0 110.2 109.5 106.4 95.7 107.7 110.3 107.3<br />

August 107.4 103.6 104.6 103.0 99.2 106.2 105.6 <strong>108</strong>.6<br />

September 104.4 107.5 107.9 106.8 99.1 105.2 110.9 <strong>108</strong>.2<br />

107.5 107.4 110.8 106.0 106.4 109.7 109.4 <strong>108</strong>.6<br />

<strong>108</strong>.6 109.9 111.1 107.2 <strong>108</strong>.0 107.3 110.9 111.5<br />

December <strong>108</strong>.4 111.4 110.1 107.6 109.0 106.4 117.3<br />

Average <strong>108</strong>.0 109.1 110.4 107.1 100.0 <strong>108</strong>.5 109.6<br />


Business’s positive determination drives confidence<br />

In October 2023, the SACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI) held steady at<br />

<strong>108</strong>.6 but saw a boost to 111.5 in November 2023, using 2020 as the base year<br />

at 100. Compared to November 2022 (when it stood at 110.9), the latest BCI<br />

suggests that the business climate and economic conditions didn't provide<br />

the spark for increased confidence over the medium term. Unfortunately,<br />

it seems there's a lack of positive momentum in business confidence,<br />

with several economic challenges yet to be resolved. Between October<br />

and November 2023, 11 out of 14 BCI sub-indices either showed positive<br />

changes (six) or remained virtually unchanged (five). The BCI improved by<br />

2.9 index points from October to November 2023. Notably, inward tourism<br />

and merchandise import volumes made the most positive contributions to<br />

business confidence in November 2023. This doesn't necessarily mean the<br />

business climate has become favourable or that upward momentum is fully<br />

restored. Much of the positive vibe came from civil society and businesses<br />

showing resilience. Swiftly resolving painful adjustments by the public sector<br />

could potentially restore upward momentum and crucially inspire investor<br />

confidence for a higher economic growth rate. Creating such a positive<br />

environment requires fostering appropriate international relations and<br />

ensuring supportive human and fixed capital stocks especially in a dynamic<br />

economy such as South Africa’s.<br />

SACCI Business Confidence Index – November 2023<br />

The SACCI The Business SACCI Business Confidence Confidence Index (BCI) Index 2020=100 (BCI)<br />

2020 = 100<br />

Month 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023<br />

January 107.0 112.9 115.3 109.9 106.6 109.2 <strong>108</strong>.8 112.9<br />

February 107.1 110.4 114.3 <strong>108</strong>.0 107.2 109.0 112.0 111.9<br />

March <strong>108</strong>.6 <strong>108</strong>.4 112.8 106.1 103.9 <strong>108</strong>.7 110.5 111.3<br />

April 110.4 109.7 111.0 <strong>108</strong>.3 89.9 109.5 <strong>108</strong>.3 107.1<br />

May 106.1 107.7 <strong>108</strong>.7 107.5 81.0 112.1 103.2 106.9<br />

June 109.9 109.7 <strong>108</strong>.3 107.9 94.1 111.2 <strong>108</strong>.5 <strong>108</strong>.8<br />

July 111.0 110.2 109.5 106.4 95.7 107.7 110.3 107.3<br />

August 107.4 103.6 104.6 103.0 99.2 106.2 105.6 <strong>108</strong>.6<br />

September 104.4 107.5 107.9 106.8 99.1 105.2 110.9 <strong>108</strong>.2<br />

October 107.5 107.4 110.8 106.0 106.4 109.7 109.4 <strong>108</strong>.6<br />

November <strong>108</strong>.6 109.9 111.1 107.2 <strong>108</strong>.0 107.3 110.9 111.5<br />

December <strong>108</strong>.4 111.4 110.1 107.6 109.0 106.4 117.3<br />

Average <strong>108</strong>.0 109.1 110.4 107.1 100.0 <strong>108</strong>.5 109.6<br />

2<br />


Trade conditions remain weak<br />

The SACCI December 2023 survey on trade conditions indicated a slight<br />

improvement in the trading climate for November and December<br />

2023, though respondents generally perceive the conditions as fragile.<br />

In December, 38% expressed positivity about the conditions and 43%<br />

anticipate improvements in the next six months. Notably, 64% viewed<br />

trade conditions in December 2023 as worse than in December 2022.<br />

Despite the prevailing weak trade conditions, seasonally adjusted<br />

expectations for the next six months verge on a positive scenario. The<br />

ongoing decline in new vehicle sales serves as a leading indicator,<br />

signalling potential challenges for the economy. Retail trade volumes are<br />

also showing a negative trend, but foreign trade and inward tourism have<br />

positively impacted trade in the short and medium term. November's Black<br />

Friday did not significantly boost trade, with more concern around rand<br />

volatility and exchange rate fluctuations. Although<br />

2<br />

input cost increases<br />

have moderated, some still face price hikes of up to 12%. Electricity supply<br />

remains a hindrance to trade, yet businesses have explored alternatives.<br />

Looking ahead, 43% of respondents are considering hiring additional staff<br />

in the next six months.

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