Opportunity Issue 109

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 MAY/JUNE/JULY 2024 • ISSUE <strong>109</strong><br />


Small business owners<br />

are embracing the cloud<br />






Interrogating IP issues in<br />

mining technology<br />


Hybrid and remote work are fuelling<br />

demand for exceptional venues<br />




Leveraging glocal expertise<br />

to innovate, reduce carbon<br />

footprint and deliver worldclass<br />

public transport systems<br />






Real Time 24/7 online access to:<br />

• Multi language.<br />

• Quote effective Certification Cost Calculator.<br />

• Application submission with REAL TIME status updates on certification progress.<br />

• DATA captured once - is thereafter selected by means of a drop down menu for future applications.<br />

• Globally consolidate, manage, maintain and retain your live record of all your Certified DRC Imports &<br />

Exports with a Validated Certification history from Day 1.<br />


Sociedade Industrial e Comercial, Limitada<br />

Contribuinte: 5401124112<br />

www.transcom-services.com<br />

Sincron, LDA<br />

www.ogefremsincron.com<br />

CCS Kinshasa DRC<br />

certification@ccs.com<br />

Invesco<br />

www.ogefreminvesco.com<br />

ZAMBIA<br />

SLS<br />


Sociedade Industrial e Comercial, Limitada<br />

Contribuinte: 5401124112<br />

Rua: Amilcar Cabral 147-149º-1º Aptº A Luanda - Angola<br />

Tel.: 924 224 039 - 917 068 406 - 923 546 050 - 912 500 318 - 222 003 287<br />

Email: sincron.lda@gmail.com - fernandes318.files@gmail.com - fernandes318@hotmail.com<br />

http://sincron.co.ao/<br />

ConnexAfrica<br />

www.connexafricatranscom.com<br />

Sin Chiao<br />

Singapore<br />

www.ogefremsinchiao.com<br />

Africert Asia<br />

feri@africertasia.com<br />


Contents<br />

ISSUE <strong>109</strong> | MAY/JUNE/JULY 2024<br />

08<br />

05<br />

14<br />

20<br />

24<br />

30<br />

34<br />



SACCI held a series of Post-Budget Speech events in conjunction with Mazars and has<br />

a busy programme of events ahead, including a first Absa-SACCI Women-in-Business<br />

Directors Training Programme and the organisation’s Annual Convention.<br />


The Gautrain Management Agency’s New Chief Executive Officer, Tshepo Kgobe, believes<br />

that hiring good people is the root of success.<br />



Nthabiseng Kubheka, CEO of Bombela Operating Company (a joint venture led by RATP<br />

Dev) is proud that Gautrain can be used as a benchmark of what localised world-class<br />

public transport systems can look like.<br />


A new report captures the socio-economic impact made in a financial year by Alstom,<br />

the group whose Gibela Rail Consortium is making the X’trapolis Mega Train from 30%<br />

lighter steel.<br />



The best way to tackle South Africa’s water woes is through public-private partnerships,<br />

says experienced P3-infrastructure developer, the Gap Infrastructure Corporation.<br />


Jacques Farmer, Managing Director of Prisma Training Solutions, argues that<br />

for the country to really move forward, skills development must be a bridge to<br />

employment opportunities.<br />

05<br />

14<br />

30<br />



Post-Budget Speech<br />

2024/25 event<br />

Mazars, in partnership with SACCI, hosted an exclusive and “new look” 2024/25 Budget breakfast event.<br />

From the discussions, several<br />

key takeaways emerged:<br />

• Insights into the Budget's implications<br />

for different sectors and industries.<br />

• Understanding the current economic<br />

environment and its impact on<br />

economic growth.<br />

• Exploring strategies for enhancing<br />

revenue collection efficiency and<br />

addressing supply-side constraints.<br />

• Assessing government strategies<br />

aimed at minimising expenditure and<br />

promoting fiscal sustainability.<br />

This gathering provided a deep<br />

dive into the National Treasury’s<br />

Budget, exploring the theme<br />

"Election Year: Balancing Rands<br />

and Sense." We delved into how the Budget<br />

proposals would affect both the country<br />

and attendees' businesses.<br />

The upcoming national elections were<br />

highlighted as pivotal moments shaping<br />

fiscal policy and the business landscape<br />

in South Africa. The Budget proposals<br />

outlined by the National Treasury<br />

reflected the government's priorities and<br />

challenges, as well as opportunities and<br />

risks for the private sector. Business leaders<br />

were urged to grasp the implications of<br />

these proposals and adapt accordingly.<br />

Our esteemed panel comprised a diverse<br />

group of prominent experts who shared<br />

invaluable insights on the Budget. They<br />

offered perspectives from various angles,<br />

including political, socio-economic, tax<br />

policy and business realms.<br />

These topics provided a rich foundation<br />

for further discussion and strategic<br />

planning among attendees, ensuring<br />

they were well-equipped to navigate the<br />

evolving economic landscape in the wake<br />

of the Budget speech event.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 5

Contents<br />

ISSUE <strong>109</strong> | MAY/JUNE/JULY 2024<br />

36<br />

46<br />

50<br />

54<br />

56<br />

58<br />

61<br />


The chemical industry’s sector education and training authority is pursuing partnerships<br />

based on innovation, collaboration, digitisation and transformation, says Yershen Pillay,<br />

CEO of CHIETA.<br />


Gender inclusivity needs to be fostered in South Africa's energy transition, writes<br />

Maagatha Kalavadakken, Financial and Market Analyst for Wärtsilä Energy in<br />

Southern Africa.<br />



Hogan Lovells partner Deepa Vallabh speaks about the legal issues that arise when new<br />

technologies are used – and adapted – on a mine. Mining companies also have to find the<br />

right balance between efficiency and complying with social and environment guidelines.<br />


Small business owners are embracing the cloud, according to Xero’s State of Small<br />

Business report. James Bergin, Executive GM, Technology Strategy and Integration at Xero,<br />

describes the five top tech trends likely to have a big impact.<br />



Nine things to look for when choosing a conference venue at a time when coming<br />

together is even more of a special occasion than it used to be, pre-Covid. Premier Hotels<br />

& Resorts lay out the most important factors to consider when booking a conference or<br />

exhibition venue that ticks all the new boxes.<br />



The Allianz Risk Barometer 2024 asses the top risks to business in South Africa. Critical<br />

infrastructure blackouts, cyber security and disruptions to business operations such as<br />

supply chains top the list of the concerns.<br />


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

Conditions Survey (TCS).<br />

46<br />

50<br />

56<br />


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A member of the Sturrock and Robson Group


Civics, voting<br />

and taxes<br />

In the old days schoolchildren were subjected to something called “Youth<br />

Preparedness”. Depending on how committed, bored or crazy the teaching<br />

staff might be, children would either be marched up and down a sports field<br />

in cadet uniforms, lectured on the evils of communism or shown movies on<br />

the evils of smoking.<br />

The modern South African school pupil is taught “Life Orientation”, a broad subject<br />

that is intended to address a range of issues that include the self, the environment and<br />

career choices. With South Africa voting in an important election on 29 May, young<br />

South Africans can express through the ballot box what they learnt in Life Orientation<br />

(LO) classes devoted to the part of the curriculum called “responsible citizenship”.<br />

However, voter apathy among young people is growing. In the 2019 national and<br />

provincial election 20% fewer voters exercised their democratic right than in 1994. All<br />

indications are that this trend is set to continue in 2024. Attempts to get young people<br />

to register have largely failed and even then, less than half of those registered to vote<br />

actually turn up to vote.<br />

Perhaps “responsible citizenship” can be deployed to persuade young people to vote<br />

when they get the chance. But then the message from this Civics class needs to be clear:<br />

voting is about deciding who gets to spend the tax money that you give to the state.<br />

Modern politics at home and abroad is often framed as being about identity and social<br />

issues. The reality is that politicians who win majorities get to decide how tax revenue<br />

is spent. That simple fact should be drummed home to young people – and adults.<br />

In this issue<br />

Several of the interviews and articles in this issue deal with infrastructure, which is what<br />

a significant portion of tax money is spent on, or should be. The Gautrain Management<br />

Agency’s new CEO, Tshepo Kgobe, has vast experience in the private and public sectors<br />

and speaks passionately about what one should expect from a rail service. His thoughts<br />

on consequence management for non-performance help to explain why the Gautrain<br />

has become such a successful operation.<br />

Water and education are two subjects that often are discussed purely in terms of the<br />

public sector. Roelof van den Bergh of the Gap Infrastructure Corporation argues that<br />

public-private partnerships are the best way of tackling water infrastructure problems<br />

and Jacques Farmer, Managing Director of Prisma Training Solutions, contends that<br />

for the country to progress, skills development must be a bridge to employment<br />

opportunities.<br />

This topic is expanded on by Yershen Pillay, CEO of the Chemical Industries Education<br />

and Training Authority (CHIETA) in an insightful interview. Aiming to be fully digitised,<br />

CHIETA is also firmly focussed on bridging the digital divide for young people living in<br />

rural areas. Maagatha Kalavadakken, Financial and Market Analyst for Wärtsilä Energy<br />

in Southern Africa, provides insights into progress being made in terms of gender<br />

inclusivity in South Africa's energy sector while Xero’s James Bergin unpacks the<br />

company’s State of Small Business report. The Allianz Risk Barometer 2024 asseses the<br />

top risks to business in South Africa. Hogan Lovells partner Deepa Vallabh speaks about<br />

the legal issues that arise when new technologies are used – and adapted – on a mine.<br />

Premier Hotels & Resorts lay out the most important factors to consider when<br />

booking a conference or exhibition venue that ticks all the new, post-Covid, boxes.<br />

John Young, Editor<br />

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

www.opportunityonline.co.za<br />

Editor: John Young<br />

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Managing director: Clive During<br />

Online editor: Christoff Scholtz<br />

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Gavin van der Merwe<br />

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No portion of this book may be reproduced without written consent of<br />

the copyright owner. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of<br />

<strong>Opportunity</strong>, nor the publisher, none of whom accept liability of any nature<br />

arising out of, or in connection with, the contents of this book. The publishers<br />

would like to express thanks to those who support this publication by their<br />

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


Prying through the<br />

frontiers in financial<br />

psychology<br />

Professor Prince Sarpong, associate professor at the School of Financial Planning Law at the University<br />

of the Free State, outlines some of the key features contained in a new book on financial psychology.<br />

Frontiers in Financial Psychology, published by LexisNexis<br />

SA, brings together insights from leading practitioners<br />

and researchers in South Africa, taking into consideration<br />

unique financial challenges and cultural factors to provide<br />

a unique perspective to the field of financial psychology.<br />

In this book, we cast our gaze beyond conventional boundaries,<br />

drawing from research and practical strategies to help advisors<br />

connect with clients on a deeper level where advice provided is<br />

in harmony with clients’ unique life stories. Avoiding the danger<br />

of a single story [1] and the problem of speaking for others [2],<br />

the book transcends a singular perspective and ropes in the<br />

viewpoints and expertise of diverse contributors. I start off in<br />

Chapter 1 with an overview of the field of financial psychology<br />

and provide alternative viewpoints to financial well-being through<br />

the lens of African psychology. I cover the psychology of retirement<br />

in Chapter 7, and in Chapters 9 and 10, co-authored with Ayanda<br />

Sarpong, we explore the intersection of personal finance and<br />

various identities and tackle the complex topic of Black Tax and<br />

its financial implications.<br />

Across Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6, Paul Nixon, Head of Behavioural<br />

Finance at Momentum Investments, dissects the science of financial<br />

decisions and unpacks the complexities of investor risk behaviour<br />

and the psychology behind risk profiling. Bringing his expertise<br />

in both research and practice to bear, Paul provides invaluable<br />

insights into understanding the cognitive biases and emotional<br />

Professor Prince<br />

Sarpong.<br />

factors that influence investment choices. In Chapter 8, Prof Liezel<br />

Alsemgeest, Director of the School of Financial Planning Law,<br />

explores the link between financial socialisation, money scripts and<br />

financial conflict. Drawing on the impact of financial socialisation<br />

and deeply ingrained money scripts, she unravels the root causes<br />

of financial conflict to help us better understand and address them<br />

with greater understanding and empathy. Fundhouse’s Head of<br />

Strategic Advisory Services, Rob Macdonald, in Chapters 11, 12<br />

and 13, emphasises the crucial role of effective communication in<br />

building trust with clients, explores the principles of sound financial<br />

counselling and coaching, and delves into the art of building<br />

trust – all essential skills for empowering clients and fostering<br />

lasting client-advisor relationships. In Chapter 14, renowned<br />

financial coach Hendrick Crafford focuses on sustainable financial<br />

planning. In this chapter, we learn how to navigate the increasingly<br />

intertwined financial, environmental and social considerations<br />

in financial planning and how to guide clients towards a more<br />

sustainable financial future. Finally, Kim Potgieter, Director and<br />

Head of Life Planning at Chartered Wealth Solutions, masterfully<br />

rounds up the book in Chapter 15 and advocates for a "life planning"<br />

approach that integrates financial planning with broader life goals<br />

and aspirations, the essence of financial psychology. This holistic<br />

perspective acknowledges the interconnectedness of various<br />

aspects of life and entreats financial planning professionals to<br />

guide clients towards a more fulfilling and meaningful financial<br />

future. Kim argues that financial<br />

planning professionals are in a<br />

unique position to guide people to<br />

live their lives to the fullest and in a<br />

way that does not compromise their<br />

balance sheet. Weaving together<br />

insights from practitioners and<br />

academics, the book makes<br />

an important contribution to<br />

literature in financial planning<br />

and equips financial planning<br />

professionals with the knowledge<br />

and tools to serve their clients<br />

effectively and holistically.<br />

[1] Renowned novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her July 2009 TED talk “The Danger of a Single Story” warns that relying on a single, simplistic<br />

narrative about another person or culture leads to harmful stereotypes and hinders understanding.<br />

[2] Latin-American philosopher and professor of philosophy, Linda Alcoff, in her article “Problem of Speaking for Others” stresses the ethical complexities<br />

and challenges inherent in representing and articulating the experiences and perspectives of marginalised groups by people outside those groups.<br />

| 9


News & snippets<br />

Industry insights from the past quarter<br />

Fuelling business with solar<br />

The Astron Ruhamah fuel station in Roodepoort, Gauteng, is now able to open at all<br />

hours after the installation of a hybrid battery system with 64.6kWp solar photovoltaic<br />

(PV), 48kW battery inverters and 60kWh of battery capacity. SolarSaver has connected<br />

over 500 businesses across the country through grid-tied rent-to-own solar solutions that<br />

reduce power costs as well as hybrid-battery installations that also provide a backup for<br />

when the grid is down. The hybrid nature of the installations gives customers like the fuel<br />

station the benefits of solar panels that remain connected to the grid and a backup battery<br />

system to store excess power. Ross MacGregor, representing the fuel station, says that the<br />

hybrid solar system from SolarSaver has had a massive impact on his business. "For a petrol<br />

station that runs a lot of HVAC equipment, refrigeration, ATMs and retail, consistent power<br />

is essential. From a business continuity perspective, it’s been wonderful," says MacGregor.<br />

Stellantis boost for Eastern Cape automotive sector<br />

Automotive manufacturer Stellantis has confirmed its intention to develop a greenfield<br />

manufacturing facility at the Coega Special Economic Zone in Gqeberha, with the<br />

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Department of Trade, Industry and<br />

Competition (the dtic). The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel,<br />

and Samir Cherfan, Stellantis Middle East and Africa Chief Operating Officer, signed a<br />

Memorandum of Understanding at a meeting in Cape Town in September 2023. The<br />

manufacturing plant will boost the automotive component of the Coega SEZ and<br />

construction of the project is planned to be complete by the end of 2025. The first<br />

vehicle expected to roll off the assembly line in 2026 will be a one-ton pick-up truck<br />

with volumes expected to reach up to 50 000 completely knocked down (CKD) units<br />

annually, including vehicles which are intended for export.<br />

Reliable delivery<br />

Sasol and Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) have signed a public-private partnership to improve rail<br />

transport reliability in South Africa. TFR is an operating division of Transnet, the owner of South<br />

Africa’s railway, ports and pipeline infrastructure. Under the five-year agreement, Transnet will<br />

deliver ammonia from Sasol’s Secunda and Sasolburg facilities to the company’s customers<br />

through a dedicated fleet of 128 ammonia rail tankers. In turn, Sasol will fund Transnet’s<br />

maintenance and repair programme for the fleet. TFR and Transnet Engineering (TE), who will<br />

execute the Sasol ammonia fleet’s maintenance and repair work, expect additional revenue<br />

generation from anticipated increased haul volume and the Sasol-funded maintenance and<br />

repair work. The Transnet Freight Rail network and rail services provide strategic links between<br />

ports, freight terminals and production hubs. Sasol Chemicals produces and sells more than<br />

540 000 tons of ammonia annually. It is used to make a variety of fertilisers and industrial<br />

chemicals for the agriculture, mining, textile and metalworking industries.<br />

10 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Joint energy conference<br />

set to attract investors<br />

The Middelburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Steve<br />

Tshwete Local Municipality (STLM) are jointly hosting an Energy Conference<br />

designed to attract investors interested in green energy opportunities.<br />


What are the reasons for investing in Middelburg,<br />

Mpumalanga? Are there sustainable investment<br />

opportunities in the region? What can companies<br />

invest in? Discover green energy investment<br />

opportunities at MCCI and STLM's Energy Conference.<br />

Governments, NGOs and researchers sometimes disregard the<br />

Highveld economy. Insufficient information prevents accurate<br />

scrutiny of national and international activities whereas with the<br />

correct information, it soon becomes clear that there are rich<br />

potential investment opportunities. The Steve Tshwete Local<br />

Municipality in Middelburg is home to three Eskom power stations<br />

and over 150 mines within a 100km radius. One of many local<br />

manufacturers is a top South African exporter and also supplies<br />

local manufacturers, such the motor industry. Between 1996<br />

and 2020, companies in STLM contributed R48-billion to GDP, an<br />

increase of 2%. In 2022, the coal industry employed 90 977 people<br />

and generated a turnover of R252.3-billion with a production of<br />

231.2-million tons.<br />

The Just Energy Transition<br />

If you talk about electricity or coal mining in this region, people<br />

immediately dismiss it as a national responsibility, and it is<br />

assumed that people in the region should not have an opinion.<br />

The impact of the Just Energy Transition (JET) on the Highveld<br />

region in Mpumalanga is being ignored and is ineffective. JET<br />

projects continue. An example is the repurposing of the Komati<br />

power station. Government and big business have recognised that<br />

the repurposing of Komati has been a failure but JET organisations<br />

are failing to learn lessons from the Komati project. JET supports<br />

consultants and non-profit organisations in Mbombela, Gauteng<br />

and Cape Town through grants for research projects. These<br />

organisations have no interest in the Mpumalanga Highveld<br />

and their projects have limited effect. MCCI President Moeketsi<br />

Mpotu said at the AGM of the organisation in March 2024 that local<br />

businesses need to be the voice of reason. The current JET strategy<br />

will have a negative impact on STLM and Emalahleni businesses,<br />

including all businesses that supply, transport, export and provide<br />

services from the Gauteng region.<br />

What does STLM offer investors?<br />

Agriculture, manufacturing, mining and power generation are<br />

our strongest sectors. Creditors are better paid by Middelburg's<br />

businesses, with a rate of over 60%. Our per-capita reserve of<br />

technical skills is one of the highest in Africa. Skilled artisans and<br />

engineers are in abundance in our community.<br />

In addition, STLM has:<br />

• A designated economic zone in Mpumalanga<br />

• Available land for manufacturers (working on opportunities to<br />

serve new investors)<br />

• One of the top four performing municipalities in the country<br />

• Consistent economic growth for decades<br />

Infrastructure<br />

One hour's drive from the industrial areas of Gauteng. Airfield is<br />

able to (and does) host jet aircraft. Middelburg is at the junction of<br />

the N4, N12, N11, R104 and R555, bypassing any blockage on the<br />

N3 to Durban harbour or to the Zimbabwe border. The MCCI has<br />

a rich history since 1903 of engaging businesses worldwide and<br />

has insights into local business intelligence.<br />

Article by Anna-Marth Ott (CEO) and Moeketsi Mpotu<br />

(President) MCCI.<br />

We invite you to our conference on 25 July 2024 in the STLM<br />

Banquet Hall. Book your place:<br />

Tel: 013 243 2253 | Website: www.middelburginfo.com<br />

Moeketsi Mpotu, MCCI President.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 11



Absa-SACCI Inaugural Women-in-Business<br />

Directors Training Programme<br />

The objective of the Absa-SACCI Inaugural Women-In-Business<br />

Directors Training Programme is to identify qualifying women who will<br />

undergo a Board Training Programme aimed at equipping them with<br />

the knowledge and skills they need to thrive as business leaders. The<br />

four-day programme will include topics such as governance, strategic<br />

planning, financial management and leadership development. Two<br />

sessions will be in-person and another two sessions will be virtual.<br />

PHOTO: christina@wocintechat on Unsplash<br />

Absa Ambassadors<br />

Roundtable Breakfast<br />

We are organising a distinguished breakfast<br />

engagement aimed at strengthening<br />

and enhancing our relations with key<br />

ambassadors from the African continent, who<br />

serve as invaluable strategic representatives<br />

of their respective governments.<br />

SACCI regularly meets with international<br />

delegations.<br />

SACCI Annual Convention<br />

The SACCI Annual Convention is the highlight of the South African business<br />

calendar where a range of issues of importance to the South African<br />

economy and our 20 000 business members is debated. We anticipate an<br />

attendance of 150 delegates representing business, government, labour<br />

and the diplomatic corps and wide media coverage of the event. We are<br />

currently actively engaged in organising the logistical aspects of our<br />

eagerly anticipated event. Stay tuned for additional information, which will<br />

be promptly shared on the SACCI website, www.sacci.org.za, and through<br />

our various social media platforms.<br />

CEO Alan Mukoki addresses the SACCI Convention.<br />

Absa-SACCI National SMME Summit<br />

The Absa-SACCI National SMME Summit,<br />

themed “Empowering Entrepreneurs in the<br />

SMME Landscape”, is scheduled for 21 May<br />

2024, in Johannesburg. This significant event<br />

is designed to bring together entrepreneurs,<br />

industry experts and key stakeholders<br />

to discuss challenges, opportunities and<br />

growth strategies within the SMME sector.<br />

Absa is the main sponsor of the summit,<br />

which is designed to facilitate essential<br />

dialogues, presentations and networking<br />

opportunities, fostering a collaborative<br />

environment for knowledge sharing and<br />

innovation. This initiative reflects Absa’s<br />

dedication to empowering small businesses,<br />

contributing to national economic solutions<br />

and promoting a conducive environment for<br />

entrepreneurial success. Speakers will provide<br />

valuable insights into business development,<br />

market access, funding, the digital economy<br />

and sustainability. The summit will feature<br />

comprehensive presentations, Q&A sessions<br />

and networking opportunities, aiming to<br />

create collaboration, knowledge exchange<br />

and support for SMMEs.<br />

Small business needs a helping hand.<br />

PHOTO: Dan Burton on Unsplash<br />

12 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Boosting continental<br />

trade via rail<br />


The 2024 Southern African Railways Association (SARA) Conference and Exhibition<br />

will focus on how rail can boost continental trade through investments in the African<br />

rail network, thus ensuring the sustainable development of the continent.<br />


The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) is pleased to<br />

announce the forthcoming annual Conference and Exhibition,<br />

scheduled for 20-23 August 2024 at the Sandton Convention<br />

Centre, Johannesburg. This year's event, themed "Boosting<br />

Continental Trade via Rail: Investments in African Railways for the<br />

Sustainable Development of the Continent”, aims to spotlight the<br />

critical role of railways in driving economic growth, enhancing<br />

trade and promoting sustainable development across Africa.<br />

VENUE: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg<br />

DATES: 20-23 August 2024<br />

EVENTS:<br />

19 August – Build up<br />

20-22 August – Conference and exhibition<br />

20 August – Gala dinner<br />

23 August – Golf day at Royal Johannesburg Golf Club<br />


For more information and to get involved, please contact the SARA team.<br />

Southern African Railways Association (SARA)<br />

Phone: +27 11 452 4991 | +27 84 516 6834<br />

Email: info@sararailconference.com<br />

Website: https://www.sararailconference.com/<br />

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sara-rail/ @ SARA Rail Facebook:<br />

https://www.facebook.com/Sararailconfere @ SARA Rail C<br />

X (Twitter): @SaraRail_Org<br />

About the Southern African Railways Association (SARA)<br />

Established in 1996 with its headquarters in Harare, SARA<br />

operates as a specialised subsidiary of the Southern African<br />

Development Community (SADC). The organisation is dedicated<br />

to promoting and enhancing rail transport services across the<br />

SADC region. SARA comprises a variety of railway operators,<br />

both public and private, along with rail-industry stakeholders<br />

from the Southern African region. It serves as a central hub for<br />

railway trade and regional integration. By providing a platform<br />

for collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing among its<br />

members, SARA coordinates rail stakeholder dialogues to advance<br />

the sector's interests. As the holder of the mandate for rail policy<br />

advocacy, SARA takes an active role in regional policy-making. Its<br />

efforts are centred on harmonising regulations across different rail<br />

systems, facilitating coordination of rail corridors and promoting<br />

infrastructure development.<br />

SARA is unwavering in its commitment to enhancing rail<br />

competitiveness and advocating for equitable intermodal<br />

competition. The core programmes of SARA are aimed at<br />

augmenting various aspects of rail transport. These include<br />

initiatives to improve operational efficiency and safety in<br />

corridors, promote rail investments and adapt to international<br />

best practices. By implementing these programmes, the<br />

association aims to ensure that rail transport is competitive,<br />

reliable and a fundamental part of the region's transport<br />

logistics chain. SARA's ultimate goal is to foster a robust and<br />

efficient rail network throughout Southern Africa. This objective<br />

is integral to stimulating economic growth, facilitating regional<br />

integration and promoting the socioeconomic well-being of the<br />

region's inhabitants. By enabling infrastructure development<br />

and enhancing rail competitiveness, SARA plays a vital role in<br />

bolstering regional economic development and trade.


Gautrain: pioneering<br />

towards innovation and<br />

future sustainability<br />

The new CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency believes that failures to deliver must<br />

have consequences. As he sets out to create “railtroplises” around Gautrain stations, Tshepo<br />

Kgobe is convinced that the public-partnership model where a “knowledgeable public party”<br />

ensures that high standards are maintained is the best model for mass public transit.<br />

What is your mandate?<br />

The mandate of the Gautrain as it stands now in the GMA Act is<br />

for us to implement the project, then manage the project and its<br />

assets and to ensure that we secure the finances of the entity itself.<br />

We need to ensure that we create financial sustainability over the<br />

long term and create jobs. Socio-economic development is a big<br />

part of what we do. To integrate with other transport modes the<br />

process allows the MEC to require us to assist on any projects that<br />

are public transport and rail related. Somebody might ask, ”Why<br />

are you building a taxi rank?” and I will tell them it is a mandate<br />

from the MEC, it’s public-transport related. We are assisting PRASA<br />

in some of their operations and in resuscitating their operations<br />

here in Gauteng and in other parts of South Africa, and that comes<br />

from that mandate. When we get asked to assist other entities, we<br />

do exactly that.<br />

To whom do you report?<br />

The MEC is the shareholder. We need to demystify this thing: the<br />

Gautrain as an entity and its assets are actually owned by the<br />

Gauteng Provincial Government. They are owned by GPG and<br />

they own those assets through the Department of Roads and<br />

Transport. The Gautrain Management Agency is the custodian of<br />

the assets on behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government and<br />

the Department of Roads and Transport.<br />

So there are no private shareholders?<br />

No, none of the assets are privately owned. It is operated by a<br />

private entity, an operation where we contracted somebody<br />

privately to operate it but the assets are fully owned and paid<br />

off. Gautrain is a R45-billion asset that is owned by the Gauteng<br />

Provincial Government.<br />

Please tell us more about what you are doing<br />

related to integrated transport.<br />

The most interesting one is a partnership we have with the<br />

taxi industry. The taxi industry is contracted to provide lastmile<br />

services. Our distribution and feeder services in stations<br />

like Marlboro station in Alexandra and the surrounding areas<br />

are provided by them. In Centurion and other stations, they are<br />

provided by the Tshwane taxi industry. We contract the one part<br />

of the transport industry that nobody wants to touch, and it’s<br />

one of our most successful partnerships. We have integrated<br />

with the minibus taxi associations to provide scheduled services<br />

for the Gautrain. People always ask us whether taxi drivers<br />

do not fight with us over our taking their routes. They don’t,<br />

because we contract the taxi association that owns the route<br />

to operate on that route. We’ve been running this for 13 years<br />

and it runs like clockwork because we do our due diligence.<br />

We check through the registration system in the Department,<br />

we check with the cities, we get concurrence from both the<br />

provincial departments and authorities in various cities that<br />

that particular route is owned by this particular taxi industry.<br />

The lines are very clear.<br />

How are passenger numbers post Covid, are you recovering?<br />

We’re recovering but it took a while. With the work-from-home<br />

culture, it took a while for the numbers to recover. In the last<br />

week of February, we breached 60% and went onto 64% of our<br />

previous numbers. But the freeway is full. A lot of companies have<br />

instructed their employees to return to work on a full-time basis.<br />

We are seeing the effects of it but we want it to translate fully<br />

back to about 50 000 passenger trips per day and then we will be<br />

satisfied. Not happy, but satisfied.<br />

What does that represent in percentage terms?<br />

That will be about 94% of pre-Covid numbers and then at 55 000<br />

to 57 000 we will be back to 100% of pre-Covid numbers.<br />

Do you know the total numbers?<br />

A total of 175-million passengers have been carried on the Gautrain<br />

since its inception.<br />

What is the percentage of the airport<br />

traffic of your general traffic?<br />

Pre-Covid, the airport service carried about 10% of our ridership<br />

and the General Passenger Service carried 90% of our services all<br />

14 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


throughout the day. We have three services running over the<br />

line: the Airport Passenger Service runs from the airport<br />

directly into Sandton. Then the service that runs on the<br />

same line from Rhodesfield into Sandton and finally the<br />

North/South GPS service from Hatfield in Pretoria all<br />

the way to Park in the Johannesburg CBD. Passengers<br />

can transfer from one service to the other in whatever<br />

direction they’re travelling.<br />

How far advanced are the plans<br />

to expand the network?<br />

The Premier in his recent State of the Province<br />

address announced that all three planned new routes<br />

will be expanded to all corners of the province. We have a<br />

short-term plan, which is the Soweto line that takes off from<br />

Sandton and then goes out to Randburg and on to Cosmo<br />

Junction, through Little Falls, through the Roodepoort ridge<br />

into Roodepoort and all the way to Jabulani. That becomes the<br />

Phase 1 line.<br />

Are the finances in place?<br />

Part of the process is for us to be able to look at the structuring<br />

of the finances and the important part is that we will have to<br />

relook at the finances. We want to ensure that the government’s<br />

contribution to the building of the extension is reduced as<br />

compared to last time. We’re looking at the division of revenue<br />

at allocation coming down to being at most 30% to 33% and<br />

then we would have private investors being 33% and then land<br />

value and station optioning and property development making<br />

up the other 33%. We are intentionally developing properties<br />

or transit-related developments in and around our stations. You<br />

have the aerotropolis which is a city around an airport; we are<br />

setting out to develop a “railtropolis”.<br />

Property prices have gone up around<br />

Gautrain stations, not so?<br />

Yes definitely. In the last economic impact study, we showed that<br />

for properties within a 5km radius, property prices grew at market<br />

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The concession has a fixed term?<br />

It has a 15-year term. The old concession had the construction and<br />

the development period included, so it was a 19-and-a-half-year<br />

term with four-and-a-half years for the development part. We are<br />

going into another 15-year concession at the end of March 2024.<br />

We have put the bid out into the market.<br />


Typical construction year<br />

added to GDP<br />

Typical post-construction<br />

year added to GDP<br />

Median sales values within<br />

2km radius of stations<br />

R3.3-billion<br />

R6.6-billion<br />

Office: +45%<br />

Retail: +32%<br />

Residential: +52%<br />

You were involved in the engineering details of the<br />

foundation of the Gautrain. What were the biggest<br />

challenges that you and your teams faced back then?<br />

There were multiple challenges that we faced. In today’s context of<br />

looking at the extensions we are planning, it seems that sentiment<br />

towards public transport hasn’t changed in 20 years. When you say<br />

you are going to build a railway line, everybody says, “No, not in<br />

my backyard.” And then there are those who have experienced the<br />

Gautrain and you are getting a sentiment that says, “Why is it not<br />

coming into my backyard?” We are caught between the NIMBYS<br />

and the WIMBYS, as they now call the people who are asking, “Why<br />

not in my backyard?” As CEO, how do I work with this to satisfy<br />

everybody? The biggest challenge originally was the line location.<br />

Where my office is right now is not where the Midrand line was<br />

supposed to run. It was supposed to be on the western side of the<br />

freeway because that’s where the residential areas are but because<br />

there was such great fear of what kind of a system we were going<br />

to bring, that was the biggest challenge. It is the mental shift of<br />

being able to get people to understand that we are bringing a<br />

world-class system. A lot of businesses would now rather have<br />

their back wall being the Gautrain because they know that secures<br />

their businesses.<br />

plus 5% greater than any other sector. Even in the 10km radius,<br />

property prices still grew decently above the market growth.<br />

Are you buying new rolling stock?<br />

We are acquiring more rolling stock but we are acquiring it<br />

not as a standalone project but we are doing it as part of the<br />

re-concessioning of the system itself.<br />

Please unpack the concessioning system.<br />

A concession agreement allows the private operator to<br />

operate the assets on our behalf and for that we pay them<br />

some part and then they get part of that money from their<br />

revenue earnings. The question we have had to ask now that<br />

the Gautrain has been built is, are we going to operate the<br />

systems ourselves?<br />

We have the assets and we have had success in having the<br />

separation of duties. You have an asset owner who gives an asset<br />

out for operations and levies penalties on the person if they do<br />

not operate the system properly. Then you have an operator who<br />

earns a fee for operating the system itself. We thought this is the<br />

best method possible of being able to get the best practice out<br />

of operating railway lines. On most days we operate at 100%<br />

availability and 100% punctuality, which is unheard of in South<br />

African terms.<br />

Anyone who has travelled on the Gautrain can’t but be<br />

impressed. What are the key pillars to the Gautrain’s success?<br />

The fundamentals of a good transport system is that it must be<br />

functional. The availability of the system, the punctuality of the<br />

system, the punctuality of supporting systems such as the buses<br />

and the minibuses, the escalators and all of that, that basic product<br />

has to be functional before you add fancy technologies. The basic<br />

product – which is a train ride – must be safe and it must be reliable.<br />

A lot of things fall into what we call hygienic factors. When they<br />

are in the background rather than them being the issues we argue<br />

about, then you then can superimpose technology on it. A good<br />

ticketing system will enhance the customer experience because<br />

the customer has the ability to be able to manage their own access.<br />

They can reload their card on an app or on a website or even travel<br />

with their bank card. We recently upgraded the technology so that<br />

you don’t need to buy a ticket, you can just show up with your<br />

debit card or with your credit card and ride on the system. That<br />

ease of access is the next level.<br />

Gautrain is known for the professionalism of<br />

operations and staff who seem to care about what<br />

they are doing. How do you get that right?<br />

Under concessioning I raised the issue of the separation of duties.<br />

First and foremost, it is a fallacy that the private sector would<br />

16 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


do this on their own. You have the kind of system that we have<br />

now because there is a knowledgeable public party (an agency<br />

such as ours) that ensures that these things happen. You need an<br />

agency that without fear or favour will lay penalties on anybody<br />

who does not live up to the contract. Then you need a contract<br />

that is enforceable. Our contract is enforceable and the penalties<br />

are big if the services do not operate. We don’t want a contract<br />

that is penalty prone but it must be service prone, it is pro-service<br />

more than anything else. As I tell the team here, I am not in the<br />

business of penalties, I am in the business of providing services.<br />

The penalties have to incentivise service.<br />

So there are consequences?<br />

There are big consequences and expensive consequences.<br />

How do you maintain that kind of excellence<br />

within your organisation?<br />

I was told by an old mentor of mine, “Hire good people.” The<br />

rest of it takes care of itself. We hire the best. For our general<br />

interviews the minimum is a two-hour interview. We only bring<br />

the best to come and work with us. We source from both public<br />

and private but we only take the best in the market and that has<br />

always been my mantra. I will always hire for skill and capability<br />

and the rest of the things like employment equity come after the<br />

skill; the skill has to be there first and then we can talk about the<br />

other transformational issues.<br />

What are your short- and medium-term goals as CEO?<br />

The short-term goal is for us to be able to move the business<br />

with great speed to becoming self-sustaining. The operations<br />

of the entity have to completely come off the fiscus. We have to<br />

make our own money, so commercialisation is a big part of what<br />

we have to move with. We’ve already started with drivers’ licence<br />

and testing centres where you can get your new licence, you can<br />

register your car and you can get all sorts of other government<br />

services. That is turning out to be big business. I am meeting<br />

with Treasury to confirm additional funding for us to roll out<br />

these centres all around the province. We are an agency that is<br />

gearing itself to be of great use not only to transport people,<br />

but to the greater public. We are also looking at developing a<br />

lot of properties around our stations and bringing on additional<br />

services. We will be self-sustaining and from then onwards we<br />

will start clawing back the amount of subsidy that is paid by<br />

government to subsidise the commuter. I want to ensure that<br />

any money we get from the state goes directly into subsidising<br />

the commuter and maintaining the asset, not working to<br />

sustain the agency.<br />

And the expansion projects of the new<br />

lines form part of your plans?<br />

We have already started the process. I have had a meeting with the<br />

project steering committee and it is all at full speed. We also are<br />

looking at putting the new contract in place, another key issue.<br />

We also have to close out the current concession. The amazing<br />

thing is that in and around South Africa there isn’t anybody who<br />

has closed out a concession similar to ours. We are the first, so<br />

we are creating new knowledge and as we continue with that,<br />

we have to make sure that we manage the knowledge and we<br />

have it recorded so that it can be shared with other people when<br />

they do this later on.<br />

You have worked overseas and you’ve worked in<br />

the private sector. How have those experiences<br />

informed your approach to being CEO?<br />

When I left the private sector, I explained to people who questioned<br />

my decision that my idea is to build public companies that are<br />

similar to private companies out there. If I can do that, then I would<br />

have served my country well. That becomes important: how do you<br />

meld in the capability that comes from the private sector with the<br />

rigour of spending public money? We have done that well enough<br />

at GMA so that we had 11 clean audits and I have been involved<br />

in nine of those.<br />


Tshepo Kgobe is an engineer with more than two decades of experience in managing<br />

complex projects and operations with diverse technical requirements in infrastructure,<br />

energy and mining. A graduate of UKZN and Henley Business School (BSc, Civil Engineering,<br />

and diplomas and certificates in business management), Kgobe has also worked on strategy<br />

related to BBBEE, transformation and corporate social investment and marketing. His<br />

experience in the private sector includes serving as an Executive Director on the board of<br />

Hatch Africa and a period in the UK with Corus Rail Consultancy. He also worked at<br />

Metrorail. Tshepo was responsible for the engineering and project management<br />

of the trackwork subsystem in the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project. He then<br />

held the position of Senior Executive responsible for all technical and project<br />

services in GMA and was until recently the Chief Operating Officer of the<br />

Gautrain Management Agency, responsible for the everyday running of the<br />

agency. He assumed the role of CEO in February 2024.<br />

CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency, Tshepo Kgobe.


Gautrain: More than just a train!<br />

Gautrain has been delivering passengers – and economic growth – since 2010.<br />

The 8th of June 2010 marked a historic moment for South<br />

Africa as the first Gautrain ride for commuters left Sandton<br />

Station for OR Tambo International Airport Station, just<br />

in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Members of the<br />

Gautrain project and the public braved the cold to be present for<br />

this momentous journey.<br />

Fourteen years later, the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA),<br />

an agency established by the Gauteng Provincial Government to<br />

manage the implementation of the Gautrain Project, is recognised<br />

as a centre of excellence in the rail and public transport industry. The<br />

Gautrain has also proven to be more than just a transport project;<br />

it is an economic development project focusing on reaching the<br />

objectives of stimulating economic growth and job creation,<br />

promoting investment and new development. The system was<br />

a major employer of Gauteng residents in its construction stage<br />

and this has continued through to the operational phase. A total<br />

of 10 900 direct jobs and 61 000 indirect jobs have been supported<br />

during operations.<br />

Cleaner, greener public transport<br />

South Africa’s first and only rapid rail network is a forerunner in<br />

promoting smart mobility, helping to reduce road congestion,<br />

harmful carbon-dioxide emissions as well as noise pollution by<br />

providing a cleaner, greener public transport option. A 2018<br />

independent economic impact study commissioned by the GMA<br />

found that a commuter who uses the Gautrain every working day,<br />

to and from work between Johannesburg and Tshwane, saves<br />

around seven hours and R1 300 in petrol and car-maintenance<br />

costs a month. Furthermore, an average single trip on the Gautrain<br />

saves 2.8 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger trip<br />

when compared to a private car.<br />

In the 14 years since the Gautrain first opened its doors<br />

for passengers, 125-million train passenger trips have been<br />

undertaken and every day there are fewer cars on Gauteng roads.<br />

The arrival of Gautrain stations in communities has influenced<br />

local development and commercialisation decisions; R46-billion<br />

has been added to the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the<br />

provincial economy due to property development induced by the<br />

Gautrain, further contributing to another 245 000 jobs.<br />

There has been a significant mushrooming of commercial<br />

and residential properties around Gautrain stations. The<br />

Gautrain route also breaks city boundaries and connects<br />

the metropolises of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni,<br />

as well as linking to Africa’s largest airport, OR Tambo<br />

International Airport. This has not only led to the integration<br />

of communities but has also opened up opportunities for job<br />

18 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


seekers, entrepreneurs and investors. Well-connected cities<br />

mean access to businesses, workers, residents and supply<br />

chains, reducing transaction costs, improving productivity<br />

and facilitating economic growth.<br />

Integrated transport system<br />

Alongside the railway operation, Gautrain has a Dedicated Feeder<br />

and Distribution Service, consisting of both dedicated buses and<br />

midibuses in partnership with taxi associations, provided to<br />

improve accessibility to the train stations and to limit road traffic to<br />

the stations. The Gautrain Midibus Service has been a critical game<br />

changer in unlocking the potential of the minibus taxi industry<br />

to operate scheduled, safe and reliable public transport services.<br />

In 2011, GMA formed an innovative contracting model with taxi<br />

associations operating in the Linbro Park area.<br />

Since 2022, more midibus routes have been introduced and are<br />

operating at Gautrain Marlboro, Centurion and Hatfield stations.<br />

Part of GMA’s mandate is to enhance the integration of the<br />

Gautrain system with other public transport services within the<br />

Gauteng province through initiatives such as the Midibus Service<br />

which commuters can use for just R12. The GMA continues to<br />

ensure that the Gautrain is an inclusive service and accessible<br />

for people living with disability. All Gautrain buses are equipped<br />

with electronic ramps to enable accessibility to persons living with<br />

disabilities and Gautrain bus drivers have been trained to assist<br />

passengers, including helping with boarding, disembarking and<br />

providing information about the journey. The Gautrain also offers<br />

discounts to students through the Gautrain Student Card and has<br />

a multi-tiered fare structure that offers favourable fares to frequent<br />

and off-peak travellers.<br />

It is evident that the Gautrain, a national strategic asset valued<br />

at R45-billion at replacement value, has not only changed the<br />

perception of public transport in Gauteng, but most importantly<br />

has enhanced economic growth in the province. As the first publicprivate<br />

partnership of its scale in South Africa, the Gautrain has<br />

also been commended internationally and much interest has<br />

been shown in the lessons learnt from this contractual form and<br />

its application to other projects throughout the world.<br />

For more information on Gautrain follow:<br />

X: @TheGautrain<br />

Instagram: @TheGautrain<br />

LinkedIn: Gautrain Management Agency<br />

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gautrain<br />

Website: www.gautrain.co.za<br />

Call Centre: 0800 42887246<br />

SMS alert line: 32693<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 19


Leveraging global expertise<br />

to create local excellence<br />

Nthabiseng Kubheka, CEO of Bombela Operating Company (a joint venture led by RATP Dev),<br />

is proud that the Gautrain can be used as a benchmark of what localised world-class public<br />

transport systems can look like in the Southern Africa region. She discusses the importance<br />

of partnerships, building strategic leadership, economic inclusion and the commitment<br />

of employees to a vision of delivering on a dream of an efficient fast-train service.<br />

How did you come to be involved in the world of transport?<br />

My career spans over 27 years working mainly in energy, a key<br />

sector of South Africa’s economy, where I was overseeing the<br />

efficient and successful implementation of mega-infrastructure<br />

projects, initially for our power utility Eskom, and later for the<br />

Power business of General Electric (GE: NYSE).<br />

Both opportunities have afforded me the privilege of being<br />

mentored by industry leaders while actively contributing to<br />

building a better-resourced South Africa, which for me is a countryduty<br />

that I hold with the highest regard. The transportation sector<br />

is an equally important and strategic sector of our economy,<br />

one that is key to unlocking socio-economic development and<br />

contributing to a carbon-free world by 2050 through moving<br />

people and goods from road to rail in mass.<br />

When the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and lead BOC<br />

presented itself, I took it with both hands knowing that delivering<br />

on the efficient and successful day-to-day running of the Gautrain<br />

project would be a game changer for my career.<br />

I am a patriotic South African who wants to see us progress into<br />

a super economy in Africa and beyond. My decision to leverage<br />

the lessons and skills acquired in the energy sector to contribute<br />

to building much-needed capacity in the rail transportation<br />

20 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


sector was a no brainer. It made perfect sense. As a country we<br />

should take pride in building our economy from the bottom up<br />

by prioritising leading from the front while training and upskilling<br />

as many of our people to occupy strategic positions as possible.<br />

This is our country, we need to build it ourselves, no-one will do<br />

that for us.<br />

What previous experience have you found most useful to<br />

your role as CEO of BOC, a joint venture led by RATP Dev?<br />

At Eskom I learnt the project management of complex build<br />

projects; it taught me the importance of starting with the end in<br />

mind. Clarity of strategy and implementation ensures that you<br />

deliver on time and within costs as you have an immediate and<br />

long-term view of the impact of your day-to-day tasks.<br />

At General Electric I learnt the importance of partnering with<br />

the best in the world and localising global expertise to benefit<br />

your local context. Countries and companies that are globally<br />

recognised for making gigantic strides in their growth have done<br />

so by collaborating, partnering and in some instances developing<br />

“glocal” (global and local) best practices.<br />

Today we look back with pride at how we have leveraged our<br />

parent company RATP, the third-largest integrated transport<br />

leader globally and world leader in high-capacity rail networks.<br />

Today the Gautrain is globally recognised as a mode of transport<br />

that visitors and locals alike trust because of its predictability<br />

and consistency.<br />

Nthabiseng Kubheka, BOC CEO.<br />

All of which has been influenced by the lessons learnt from other<br />

RATP Dev operations across Africa and beyond. For example, some<br />

of the Gautrain’s achievements to date include:<br />

• 98% service availability and on-time performance.<br />

• Over 131.6-million passenger trips since inception, 1.3-million<br />

of which were connecting travellers to OR Tambo International<br />

Airport.<br />

• 24 200 fewer cars, contributing to reduced emissions and access<br />

to efficient public transport.<br />

• An estimated R1.7-billion contribution to economy year-on-year.<br />

• A R46-billion total contribution to GDP; 245 000 jobs added<br />

through property development.<br />

We are privileged to have been a part of the collective team<br />

that has delivered on the above. None of this would have been<br />

achieved without collaborating with all our other partners and<br />

without the unwavering commitment of our employees.<br />

Together this collective is flying South Africa’s flag high. To them<br />

we say Thank you, Enkosi, Siyabulela.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 21


If you were able to tell your 15-year-old self what position<br />

you have now achieved, would she have been surprised<br />

or would she have thought, “That’s about right”?<br />

Probably she would have thought “That’s about right” with a<br />

disclaimer that “There is still a whole lot more to do”. The country<br />

is not where we envisaged it would be by now, despite making<br />

significant gains in our 30 years of democracy. A fully fledged<br />

and integrated transport system, a lower carbon footprint and<br />

a reduction in unemployment, especially among the youth and<br />

women, not to mention a fully diversified energy mix, are now<br />

needed to take our economy to significant growth levels.<br />

Who have been inspirations to you along<br />

the path towards where you are now?<br />

First and foremost, I am inspired by the resilience of the human<br />

spirit. Secondly, my parents, who have imparted in me the values<br />

of hard work, respect and paying it forward. Lastly, throughout my<br />

career I have had colleagues and bosses who have encouraged me<br />

to stay focused and lift others while I rise.<br />

How would you describe your leadership style?<br />

I am a fair and a firm leader who is empathetic and believes in<br />

accountability and integrity.<br />

As an award-winning company in gender empowerment,<br />

please tell us what are the things you do or what is in your<br />

company environment that contributes to that achievement?<br />

Diversity, equity and inclusion are important for any country and<br />

for businesses operating in a market. For us in South Africa, this<br />

is further compounded by the need to fast-track the inclusion<br />

of more of our people into the economic value chain. Therefore,<br />

prioritising the segments of our population that are underrepresented<br />

in the economic value chain is an imperative that is<br />

at the heart of how we deliver value to South Africa.<br />

The concept of “Ubuntu” (I am because you are), is a reminder that<br />

we owe our existence to all South Africans and those that came<br />

before us.<br />

As part of our business strategy, we prioritise our communities<br />

and within them our youth, women, people with disabilities and<br />

the elderly. This we do through our corporate social investment<br />

projects, intentionally supporting their small and medium<br />

enterprises, the creation of quality and sustainable jobs and skills<br />

development programmes.<br />

• We employ over 500 locals, 35% of whom are the youth and<br />

50% are women.<br />

• We provide mentorship, 250 hours of tutoring per year and<br />

three-year scholarships to the youth of Alexandra township<br />

through our Sizanani mentoring programme.<br />

Who are the shareholders of BOC?<br />

The Bombela Operating Company’s shareholders are RATP Dev<br />

(63%) and our local partner SPG (37%).<br />

What is the main mandate of BOC?<br />

Bombela Operating Company (BOC) currently operates and<br />

maintains the Gautrain, which is a 160km-per-hour high-speed<br />

train that safely and efficiently connects Johannesburg and<br />

Pretoria in just 42 minutes. As part of the operations, we manage<br />

10 stations, associated parking spaces, security control centres,<br />

125 Gautrain buses, 23 midibuses and an adaptative Operations<br />

Control Centre, which is our centre of operational excellence.<br />

The Gautrain is a best-practice case study that may be used as a<br />

benchmark of what localised world-class public transport systems<br />

can look like in the Southern Africa region and beyond.<br />

To whom or what does BOC report? Or who is the client?<br />

BOC reports to the Bombela Concession Company who in turn<br />

report to the Gautrain Management Agency.<br />

22 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


What are you most proud of in terms of BOC’s operations?<br />

Serving our customers and seeing their satisfaction with every trip<br />

that we make. Also having an experienced local team that is willing<br />

and capable of meeting the demands of our operations.<br />

How many staff are employed at BOC?<br />

Over 500 directly and many more indirectly.<br />

Do BOC leaders engage in national, continental and<br />

international forums on issues relating to public<br />

transport (eg Africa Rail, the SARA Rail Conference)?<br />

We participate in industry events as part of adding our voice to<br />

building the sector and ensuring that we promote local expertise<br />

and capabilities.<br />

What role can RATP Dev play in supporting South Africa’s<br />

vision of building world-class cities in South Africa?<br />

The parent company RATP is 70 years old and RATP Dev has<br />

been in existence for 20 years. It is the third-largest provider of<br />

integrated transport systems and a global leader in high-capacity<br />

rail networks. It has 24 000 employees across 15 countries and<br />

makes over 3.8-billion travels every year. South Africa can leverage<br />

the experience that RATP Dev already has in the South African and<br />

African markets and globally to deliver on its vision of building<br />

world-class cities. For example, RATP manages the metro lines in<br />

Paris and the surrounding areas, which is one of the densest multimodel<br />

networks in the world, doing 10-million trips a day post-<br />

COVID. That massive scale means that there are lots of lessons and<br />

expertise that can be borrowed from this wealth of experience.<br />

In addition, as our leaders plan for the imminent extension<br />

of the current Gautrain line and for essential issues such as<br />

democratisation, RATP Dev can provide valuable insights on their<br />

experiences in this regard. For example:<br />

• Across various types of transit systems such as the automated<br />

metros which are currently being generalised in Paris in the<br />

context of the Olympic Games to a wide range of buses operated<br />

across Europe, the US and the MENA and Africa region.<br />

• Important topical issues such as the future of transport and<br />

the role it can play in climate-change mitigation; increased<br />

efficiency and operations through digitalisation and apps<br />

(helping to track fraud, improve security, etc); as well as predictive<br />

maintenance and improvement of working conditions for<br />

workers (exoskeletons, VR, etc).<br />

• Public Private Partnerships are essential in fast-tracking<br />

infrastructure development and growing the economy. This<br />

has been very evident with the success of the Gautrain project.<br />

What are some of the lessons you have learnt<br />

through delivering on the Gautrain project?<br />

Through the Gautrain project we have appreciated the learnings<br />

on the importance of partnering with a long-term commitment<br />

in mind, being agile and adaptive when the situation calls for<br />

it. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic we had to adapt<br />

to the new reality of reconfiguring how we deliver our best<br />

service in a very challenging, fast-changing and very restrictive<br />

environment. The Gautrain serves as an example of how PPPs<br />

can effectively tackle transportation challenges and respond<br />

to the community’s expectations. While governments might<br />

not always have the expertise or funds to enhance transport<br />

infrastructure and service offering, setting clear objectives to<br />

private operators with a strong track record can be a powerful<br />

tool. Under the vigilance of strict performance metrics, operators<br />

can deliver an excellent service.<br />

What advice would you give to South<br />

Africa’s next generation of leaders?<br />

Prioritise education, humble yourself and be willing to learn from<br />

those who have been there before you and always do good at<br />

home, in the community and ultimately for your country. Good<br />

deeds attract good opportunities from people you may not have<br />

thought would notice you.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 23


Rail is the sustainable solution<br />

A new report captures the socio-economic impact made in a financial year by Alstom,<br />

the group whose Gibela Rail Consortium is making the X’trapolis Mega Train from<br />

30% lighter steel. Alstom is the majority shareholder in a further three joint ventures<br />

in South Africa: Alstom Ubunye, Bombela Maintenance and Alstom BTSA.<br />

Rail transportation is one of the most energy-efficient<br />

transport modes and will remain the backbone of mobility<br />

in a sustainable world. The average passenger cars in South<br />

Africa emit 148gCO2e/km, which is 18.9 times more than<br />

riding a train.<br />

The X’trapolis Mega Train being produced at Gibela for<br />

Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (PRASA) is made from 30%<br />

lighter steel than trains made of carbon steel. The stainless<br />

steel translates to less energy consumption which results in<br />

lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, 99% of the train<br />

components are recoverable and 96% of them are recyclable, thus<br />

decreasing the likelihood of end-of-life impact.<br />

Alstom, a global leader in sustainable and green mobility<br />

solutions, has released a report in collaboration with Ernst & Young<br />

(EY) capturing the company’s socio-economic contributions from<br />

April 2021 to March 2022. It highlights the support of over 9 000<br />

jobs and R3.9-billion injected into South Africa as Alstom continues<br />

to grow its local presence.<br />

“We have been in South Africa for at least 10 years now and our<br />

commitment to South Africa goes beyond the manufacturing of<br />

trains or railway components. We are a reliable local growth partner<br />

and are actively participating in the development of an inclusive<br />

and sustainable rail industry through localisation, job creation and<br />

skills development. This report creates a baseline understanding<br />

of the impact of our work to date and acts as a tool to measure our<br />

progress moving forward,” said Bernard Peille, Managing Director,<br />

Alstom Southern Africa.<br />

Alstom’s strategy in South Africa is illustrated by significant<br />

investments in the country, which include Alstom Ubunye, Gibela<br />

Rail Consortium and most recently with Bombela Maintenance and<br />

Alstom Rolling Stock South Africa.<br />

“Alstom’s commitment to eco-design is centred on minimising<br />

the environmental footprint of its solutions throughout the<br />

lifecycle. This approach is already applied to more than 50% of<br />

Alstom products globally with a target of having 100% of all new<br />

products by 2025,” says Peille.<br />

24 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Supporting local industry<br />

“When we started our journey 10 years ago, the<br />

rail industry in South Africa was dormant and a<br />

significant effort was put into building Gibela’s<br />

supply chain which now consists of over 90 South<br />

African suppliers and 65% of the train’s content<br />

is supplied locally. Gibela also has over 1 000<br />

talented employees and has delivered more than<br />

100 locally made trains to PRASA," said Andrew<br />

DeLeone, President of Alstom in Africa, Middle<br />

East and Central Asia. Alstom’s actions also extend<br />

to freight; it is contracted to supply electric Traxx<br />

locomotives to Transnet, locomotives which will<br />

contribute to reducing heavy vehicle traffic on<br />

South Africa’s roads.<br />

ON TRACK<br />

Alstom has supported over 9 000 jobs in South Africa, according to EY<br />

• R3.9-billion GDP contribution to South Africa’s economy<br />

• 99% local hires, 35% women<br />

• 65% X’trapolis train content supplied locally<br />

• 91% less gCO2/passenger.km by train compared to cars<br />

for its customers but more importantly, to build<br />

local capability.<br />

World-class skills training<br />

In terms of skills and rail expertise development,<br />

Alstom invested in multiple skills transfer<br />

programmes and sent South African employees<br />

to various Alstom sites around the world including<br />

France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia<br />

and India, among others. Alstom’s South African<br />

employees regularly undergo technical and<br />

behavioural skills training to ensure they operate<br />

at the same level as any Alstom employee at any<br />

site globally. In addition, Alstom also supports<br />

educational initiatives in South Africa focusing<br />

on science, technology, engineering and<br />

mathematics (STEM) subjects in high school and<br />

up to university level. Through its joint ventures,<br />

partnerships with universities are in place to<br />

advance railway-specific skills development,<br />

expand scientific and research capacity and<br />

attract and retain excellent researchers, students<br />

and scientists.<br />

Employees at Alstom Ubunye.<br />

“In 2022, we expanded our manufacturing<br />

capabilities and can now produce locomotive car<br />

body shells in South Africa. Growing these unique<br />

locomotive skills locally is in line with our longterm<br />

growth strategy to introduce much-needed<br />

state-of-the-art freight solutions to the rest of the<br />

Southern Africa market. Reduced heavy vehicle/<br />

truck traffic on our roads also leads to less carbon<br />

emissions and improved safety,” added Peille.<br />

Enhancing the local economy<br />

According to the report, Alstom South Africa<br />

purchased R3.6-billion of goods and services<br />

over the reporting period, 79% of which are from<br />

South African suppliers. The company’s dedication<br />

to local economic development has resulted<br />

in increased partnerships and support for local<br />

business enterprises. Alstom collaborates with<br />

over 500 suppliers in South Africa, who provide<br />

components for Alstom trains and services to<br />

projects across the country. Fully 99% of Alstom’s<br />

new employees have been local hires in South<br />

Africa, of which 90% are black Africans and 45%<br />

fall into the youth category. The company is<br />

committed to gender diversity and inclusion.<br />

Women compete equally for all roles and as<br />

a result 35% of the workforce is now female<br />

and this number will grow in the coming years<br />

through deliberate efforts. Alstom is committed<br />

to developing greener, smarter and safer mobility<br />

Alstom’s outlook for South Africa<br />

By 2025, Alstom will grow its employee base by<br />

10%, increase female representation up to 40%<br />

in the management, engineers and professionals<br />

category; optimise manufacturing to produce 62<br />

X’trapolis Mega Trains per annum and intensify<br />

operational capacity to produce up to 50<br />

locomotives per annum.<br />


Leading societies to a low-carbon future, Alstom<br />

develops and markets mobility solutions that<br />

provide sustainable foundations for the future<br />

of transportation. From high-speed trains,<br />

metros, monorails and trams to turnkey systems,<br />

services, infrastructure, signalling and digital<br />

mobility, Alstom offers its diverse customers the<br />

broadest portfolio in the industry. Over 150 000<br />

vehicles in commercial service worldwide attest<br />

to the company’s proven expertise in project<br />

management, innovation, design and technology.<br />

In 2021, the company was included in the Dow<br />

Jones Sustainability Indices, World and Europe,<br />

for the 11th consecutive time. Headquartered<br />

in France and present in 70 countries, Alstom<br />

employs more than 74 000 people. The Group<br />

posted revenues of €15.5-billion for the fiscal year<br />

ending on 31 March 2022.<br />

Website: www.alstom.com<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 25


Armscor, your strategic<br />

partner of choice for defence<br />

and security solutions<br />

Delivering innovative defence solutions.<br />

The Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited<br />

(Armscor) is an acquisition agency for the South African<br />

Department of Defence (DOD) and other organs of state<br />

and entities. Armscor's mandate is to provide the armed<br />

forces with state-of-the-art defence matériel, delivering innovative<br />

defence solutions efficiently and effectively. The organisation<br />

manages the strategic capabilities of the DOD, producing research<br />

and vanguard technological solutions required to provide safety<br />

and security for South Africa, its citizens and the continent.<br />

Armscor’s core businesses<br />

Acquisition<br />

One of Armscor’s core businesses is acquisition. Its key functions<br />

include requirements analysis, technology development, design<br />

and development of products and product systems and the<br />

industrialisation and manufacturing of mature products and<br />

product systems that fully meet user requirements. It also entails<br />

procurement of existing and qualified products, as well as the<br />

acquisition of product-system support for user systems during<br />

the operational lifetime of the systems.<br />

Research and development<br />

Armscor, through its Research and Development, is able to<br />

conduct defence research and scientific research, test and<br />

evaluation services, technology management, analysis and<br />

industrialisation and intellectual property management services.<br />

The organisation has the capability to perform independent,<br />

centralised coordination and fulfil a management role for<br />

technology acquisition and technology commercialisation.<br />

Naval dockyard<br />

The dockyard provides repair and maintenance services to the<br />

SA Navy on various product systems from tugs to small craft,<br />

frigates and submarines. Maintenance and repair services<br />

cover both planned and ad-hoc projects. It is one of South<br />

Africa’s strategic national capabilities, where the country’s<br />

naval defence maintenance, repair and overall capabilities<br />

are housed.<br />

For more information contact<br />

Corporate Communication Division<br />

370 Nossob Street, Erasmuskloof X4, Pretoria<br />

Tel: +27 12 428 1911<br />

Email: info@armscor.co.za<br />

Website: www.armscor.co.za


Preventing threats while<br />

stimulating trade and<br />

legitimate movement<br />

The Border Management Authority (BMA) is celebrating its one-year mark since inception with<br />

a mandate to tackle security threats, streamline migration processes, enhance safety measures,<br />

alleviate congestion and mitigate long transit times at South Africa’s ports of entry.<br />

With its inaugural year marked by significant strides,<br />

the BMA is intensifying its efforts to stimulate<br />

trade activities and facilitate legitimate movement<br />

of persons and goods across the region while<br />

preventing serious threats against the Republic of South Africa.<br />

Since the deployment of the Border Guards in 2022, more than<br />

300 000 people have been intercepted across the various ports<br />

of entry.<br />

The notion of consolidating border management under a single<br />

authority faced initial resistance. Not everyone was convinced<br />

that it was the right approach. However, since the BMA became<br />

operational in April 2023, there appears to have been a notable<br />

turnaround. Initially, there was some uncertainty and even some<br />

anxiety about the entity, its purpose and the government's<br />

intentions behind it. The BMA had to invest significant time<br />

engaging with the private sector to ensure clear communication<br />

about the BMA's mandate and role. The establishment of the<br />

organisation has facilitated greater coordination and collaboration<br />

among various government departments and agencies involved<br />

in border management.<br />

Collaborative effort<br />

The BMA Act mandates a collaborative effort with various<br />

government departments and agencies involved in border<br />

management, including the South African National Defence<br />

Force, South African Police Service and South African Revenue<br />

Service (SARS), responsible for customs. During operations,<br />

as we collaborate and coordinate efforts with a multiplicity<br />

of agencies, local traffic authorities across the country play a<br />

significant role for managing corridor movement towards the<br />

port of entry. For the effective management of the movement<br />

of children across the ports, the BMA cooperates with the<br />

Department of Social Development. All BMA activities are<br />

overseen by members of the Border Technical Committee (BTC),<br />

who are heads of entities and Directors General, as well as the<br />

Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee (IMCC) on border<br />

management. The approach of contextual collaboration is<br />

making a major difference at our ports. The BMA has undeniably<br />

brought stability and certainty to border posts and we remain<br />

committed to making further strides moving forward.<br />

Where we come from<br />

The BMA has been focusing on its capacitation and undertaking<br />

final processes for the integration of staff members from the four<br />

government departments operating at the ports of entry (DHA,<br />

Agriculture, Health and the Environment).<br />

The BMA has applied all critical departmental policies and<br />

procedures.<br />

The formative year of the BMA’s existence was sealed by its<br />

official launching by his Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa,<br />

in October 2023.<br />

In this period, the BMA actively reached out to various<br />

stakeholders to ensure that there is a grasp of the functions and<br />

objectives of the BMA. Considerable progress was made and<br />

there is now a much greater sense of certainty. Our operations<br />

in this first year adopted an approach of not solely managing<br />

this from the top down and this has been pivotal. The BMA has<br />

dedicated significant time on the ground, first-hand witnessing<br />

border operations, understanding challenges and brainstorming<br />

solutions. Additionally, our continuous collaboration and dialogue<br />

28 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


with the private sector has played a crucial role. By actively seeking<br />

their input, the entity was able to address their needs effectively<br />

and ensure the delivery of viable solutions.<br />

Congestion solution<br />

One example is at the Lebombo border post between South Africa<br />

and Mozambique where persistent congestion had been causing<br />

delays and increasing costs. In response, the BMA partnered with<br />

SARS to implement a joint-processing system under canopies on<br />

a bypass at the border post. This innovation streamlined truck<br />

movement by allowing officials to process trucks without drivers<br />

needing to disembark. By bringing the processing directly to the<br />

trucks, rather than having drivers navigate various buildings for<br />

cargo clearance and immigration, the BMA significantly reduced<br />

truck turnaround times.<br />

The 2024/25 financial year signifies the first year of BMA’s<br />

full operation as an autonomous schedule 3(A) public entity. It<br />

is crucial to recognise that coming to border management and<br />

addressing issues at the various ports of entry, there is no one-sizefits-all<br />

solution for the challenges at ports. Each port of entry differs<br />

in layout, infrastructure and volume of traffic, making it essential<br />

to tailor solutions accordingly. Central to finding these solutions<br />

is the understanding that addressing issues cannot be done<br />

solely from an office in Pretoria. Over the past year, the BMA has<br />

prioritised on-site visits to border posts, gaining insights into their<br />

unique layouts and identifying infrastructure gaps. This approach<br />

emphasises addressing problems directly from the ground level.<br />

The Lebombo border post solution underscored the need for<br />

innovation, collaboration and location-specific solutions.<br />

Ports of entry cannot be treated as isolated entities; a corridor<br />

approach is essential for effective trade facilitation. This means<br />

considering the entire route, not just the individual border points.<br />

Specifically focusing on ports of entry, the first step is to address<br />

infrastructure to create environments conducive for lawful trade<br />

while curbing illicit activities. South Africa's ports of entry, originally<br />

designed for security during apartheid, now need revamping<br />

to facilitate regional and international trade more effectively.<br />

To achieve this, the BMA initiated requests for proposals for the<br />

redesign and development of six ports: Beitbridge, Lebombo,<br />

Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Kopfontein and Oshoek. Through this<br />

initiative, the aim is to enhance cross-border movement efficiency,<br />

promote regional economic integration and provide better<br />

support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).<br />

The establishment of a single entity for industry to engage<br />

with, rather than multiple government agencies, has yielded<br />

positive results thus far and has significantly streamlined border<br />

operations. The BMA has sought to strike a balance between<br />

security imperatives and the facilitation of lawful movement of<br />

people and goods.<br />

Modernising infrastructure<br />

In the near future, the BMA will be modernising border<br />

infrastructure and deploying advanced technology to improve<br />

border management capabilities. Investments have been made in<br />

biometric systems that will provide us with detailed travellers data.<br />

Automated clearance processes, body cameras, drones and hi-tech<br />

surveillance equipment will also enhance border surveillance,<br />

identification and processing procedures.<br />

The celebration of the BMA’s first anniversary coincides with a<br />

momentous time of the 30-year anniversary of our freedom and<br />

democracy. The BMA continues to demonstrate a commitment<br />

to upholding the rights and dignity of individuals crossing South<br />

Africa’s port of entry, including refugees, asylum seekers and<br />

vulnerable groups. By ensuring that border control activities are<br />

conducted in accordance with national and international laws, the<br />

BMA has worked hard to adhere to constitutional principles.<br />

A happy one-year anniversary to the BMA!<br />

Dr NM Masiapato,<br />

Commissioner<br />

and CEO, BMA<br />

Ms MJJ Thupana,<br />

Deputy<br />

Commissioner:<br />

Corporate<br />

Services, BMA<br />

Major General<br />

David Chilembe,<br />

Deputy<br />

Commissioner:<br />

Operations, BMA<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 29


Harnessing private<br />

expertise for world-class<br />

public infrastructure<br />

The best way to tackle South Africa’s water woes is through public-private partnerships,<br />

says experienced P3 infrastructure developer, the Gap Infrastructure Corporation.<br />

Water infrastructure is under pressure.<br />

South Africa’s taps are at risk of running dry as its watersupply<br />

infrastructure comes under mounting pressure. As<br />

millions go without reliable in-home water connections<br />

and water supply infrastructure buckles under the<br />

pressure of population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation,<br />

the 2023 World Water Day theme of “accelerating change” was<br />

especially relevant for South Africans and the Gap Infrastructure<br />

Corporation (GIC).<br />

The lack of access to clean water in many rural areas is<br />

becoming increasingly critical as water scarcity grows, leading to<br />

overcrowding at communal water taps and increased reliance on<br />

dirty or contaminated groundwater sources.<br />

According to the last General Household Survey by Statistics<br />

South Africa, an alarming 12.2% of households used a public tap as<br />

a source of water; 1.9% used a neighbour’s tap; 1.8% used flowing,<br />

stream or river water; 1.7% made use of a water-tanker; 1.6% used<br />

a water vendor; and 1.5% used a rain-water tank, among other<br />

alternative sources.<br />

Adding to the country’s water scarcity woes is below-average<br />

rainfall. South Africa’s annual precipitation is almost half that of the<br />

global average at just 497mm per year. “Given the high demands<br />

on South Africa’s water resources, it is crucial that we prioritise<br />

the development of sustainable and easily accessible water<br />

infrastructure such as boreholes or rainwater harvesting systems,<br />

and invest in upgrading existing water supply systems,” says Roelof<br />

van den Berg, CEO of GIC.<br />

Community education on water conservation and efficient<br />

water use is also vital. Through teaching households water-wise<br />

habits, community education can help reduce the burden on<br />

shared water sources and ensure that more people have access<br />

to safe and clean water in their homes.<br />

“World Water Day called for increased efforts to promote<br />

water conservation, efficient water use and sustainable water<br />

management practices. It also emphasises the importance of<br />

innovative solutions and technologies to ensure that water<br />

resources are used more sustainably.<br />

“Finally, the topic of ‘accelerating change’ was particularly<br />

relevant for GIC as a trusted construction partner in the drive<br />

to roll out reliable water infrastructure for the benefit of all<br />

South Africans.”<br />

30 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


technologies and conducting feasibility studies and environmental<br />

impact assessments.<br />

Large numbers of South<br />

Africans use public taps as a<br />

source of water.<br />

Harnessing private expertise for<br />

world-class public infrastructure<br />

In the ongoing quest to improve infrastructure development<br />

nationally, public-private partnerships have emerged as an<br />

invaluable tool. These successfully bring together the expertise<br />

and resources of both private construction companies and<br />

government to deliver enhanced services.<br />



Enhanced infrastructure roll-outs<br />

Public-private partnerships are an effective way of increasing<br />

capacity, ensuring that more projects are undertaken<br />

simultaneously at a high-quality standard. By utilising these<br />

partnerships in the development of water infrastructure, South<br />

Africans can enjoy the benefits of new water-treatment plants<br />

and upgraded water-supply systems, while stimulating job<br />

creation, small business growth and increased investment in<br />

new technology and innovations for world-class water and<br />

sanitation systems.<br />

Professional project management for maximum returns<br />

The private sector can supply government with the required<br />

expertise as well as the qualified and experienced staff needed<br />

to ensure the success of large-scale projects. Infrastructure<br />

development companies can manage construction contractors<br />

and sub-contractors, liaise with numerous suppliers and control<br />

operations to ensure that projects are completed on time and<br />

within budget.<br />

Community education and partnerships<br />

Private companies can assist in launching and managing important<br />

learning and awareness programmes with communities, sharing<br />

responsibility with public entities for education and upliftment. For<br />

example, companies involved in water infrastructure development<br />

may roll out programmes teaching community members about<br />

water conservation and efficient water use and provide technical<br />

training and upskilling to local workers in the construction,<br />

operation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure.<br />

Many of our country’s water issues, current and future, can be<br />

resolved in large part by upgrading the country’s ailing water<br />

system and constructing new infrastructure in previously underserved<br />

areas. Public-private partnerships are the most suitable,<br />

sustainable and beneficial way to ensure that quality infrastructure<br />

is developed sooner rather than later.<br />

Expert planning and design<br />

Through proper planning and design, infrastructure development<br />

companies help to ensure that projects are initiated and managed<br />

in environmentally sustainable and cost-effective ways. Drawing<br />

on deep infrastructure development expertise and experience,<br />

companies such as GIC further work to ensure that projects meet<br />

the needs of specific communities. This includes developing<br />

comprehensive water and sanitation plans, identifying appropriate<br />

Roelof van den Berg, CEO of GIC<br />

PHOTOS: GIC www.opportunityonline.co.za | 31


Collaboration and co-creating<br />

sustainable solutions<br />

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa believes in collaboration to ensure water sustainability.<br />

We are focused on delivering on our purpose, to<br />

accelerate our collective action to address challenges<br />

that impact our business and the communities we<br />

serve. Our approach is centred around people. While<br />

the focus must be on how best to achieve key sustainability goals,<br />

as a collective we need to be mindful in our responses of the varied<br />

needs and changing circumstances of communities around us.<br />

The answer lies in collaboration and co-creation of sustainable<br />

solutions. As the Coca-Cola system, we use our industry leadership<br />

to be part of the solution to achieve positive change and to build<br />

a more sustainable future for our planet. Importantly, we want<br />

to create greater shared opportunity for the business and the<br />

communities we serve, across our value chain.<br />

Water<br />

Water is a priority for the Coca-Cola system because it is essential to<br />

life, our beverages and the communities we serve. The Coca-Cola<br />

Company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy focuses on increasing<br />

water security by investing in water initiatives that benefit nature<br />

and communities. This includes projects that provide benefits<br />

to local watersheds that supply water for drinking, agriculture<br />

and manufacturing, restore and conserve habitats for plants and<br />

animals and offer opportunities for local economic development.<br />

As part of this work, we collaborate with partners to understand<br />

the complex link between water, climate, agriculture and<br />

biodiversity. In addition, many of our water replenishment projects<br />

have additional co-benefits such as helping to improve soil health,<br />

32 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


The Graaff-Reinet Cokeville megaproject will supply<br />

between 27-million and 30-million litres of water every<br />

month.<br />

sequester carbon, conserve water, restore degraded<br />

lands, contribute to biodiversity and mitigate climate<br />

change. We are focused on accelerating the actions<br />

needed to increase water security where we operate,<br />

source ingredients and touch people’s lives. We do<br />

that by contributing towards sustainable, clean water<br />

access that improves livelihoods and wellbeing while<br />

protecting against water-related disasters.<br />

We continue to replenish the water we use in<br />

our finished beverages to nature and communities.<br />

We have set three key goals designed to achieve<br />

our vision:<br />

• Achieve 100% regenerative water use across our facilities in<br />

areas identified as facing high levels of water stress by 2030<br />

• Improve the health of watersheds identified as most critical for<br />

our operations and agricultural supply chain by 2030<br />

• Continue to return water to nature and communities. Ensuring<br />

the health of watersheds is a major part of this.<br />

For example, as CCBSA we successfully implemented Project<br />

Lungisa in Grabouw in the Western Cape, where the municipality<br />

was losing a significant amount of its potable water due to leaks and<br />

failing infrastructure. Through this partnership, we trained young<br />

community members in plumbing to support the rehabilitation<br />

of water infrastructure, including fixing leaks in informal areas.<br />

In response to a looming Day Zero in parts of the Eastern Cape,<br />

CCBSA launched an ambitious project to work with the local<br />

municipality and other key stakeholders to assist vulnerable<br />

and distressed communities. Since 2020, CCBSA deployed an<br />

off-grid, solar-powered groundwater harvesting and treatment<br />

initiative called Cokevilles. In the region, a total of nine systems,<br />

or boreholes, have been deployed in Gqeberha with a potential<br />

of replenishing a minimum of<br />

90-million litres per annum at no cost to the beneficiaries. Last<br />

year the company unveiled a R12-million groundwater harvesting<br />

Cokeville project, to supply the entire town of Graaff Reinet in the<br />

Eastern Cape with potable water. The Cokeville mega project was<br />

installed to feed directly into the municipality’s infrastructure and<br />

is able to supply between 27-million and 30-million litres of water<br />

every month to the town and surrounding communities. Since the<br />

inception of our borehole groundwater harvesting programme, we<br />

have managed to replenish hundreds of millions of litres of water<br />

in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State and the Eastern<br />

Cape provinces, benefitting thousands of households.<br />

Building resilience through partnerships and innovation<br />

We understand that no entity can solve the water challenges<br />

alone. We believe in collective action and partnership to tackle<br />

development issues. It is important that all relevant stakeholders<br />

have a voice, an investment and a shared understanding of the<br />

outcomes to ensure we deal with the lack of access to safe water.<br />

As CCBSA we believe in and are committed to solution-driven<br />

conversations for a better future for all.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 33

“Transformed into a sought-after craftsman.” Limpopo<br />

resident Lucky Ndou qualified as a diesel mechanic<br />

through Murray & Roberts Cementation's training<br />

initiative at the De Beers Venetia Underground Project.<br />

Uniting<br />

education and<br />

employment,<br />

a true catalyst<br />

for progress<br />

As South Africa votes in national elections<br />

for the seventh time since the democratic<br />

dispensation began, Jacques Farmer,<br />

Managing Director of Prisma Training<br />

Solutions, argues that for the country to really<br />

move forward, skills development must be<br />

a bridge to employment opportunities.<br />

As the 2024 national election draws near, South<br />

Africa stands at a crossroad. The air is filled with a<br />

sense of expectation, where hope for a better future<br />

mingles with anxieties about the challenges ahead.<br />

Citizens are hungry for leaders who will confront the man on<br />

the street’s most pressing challenges – unemployment and<br />

the skills crisis.<br />

The nation grapples with a staggering unemployment rate<br />

of 33.9%. These figures aren’t just numbers; they represent<br />

the harsh reality endured by millions, leading to widespread<br />

poverty, social unrest and a deep-seated sense of despair.<br />

To break free from this crippling stagnation a revolution is<br />

needed, not just political, but a revolution of education,<br />

skills and opportunity.<br />

Bridging the gap between<br />

education and employment<br />

Such a revolution demands a concerted<br />

effort from both the government<br />

and the private sector. Investments<br />

in education must be intensified,<br />

ensuring quality learning reaches<br />

every corner of the country and<br />

vocational programmes must be<br />

given a complete overhaul. Gone are<br />

the days of generic qualifications.<br />

PHOTO: De Beers


The modern, digital-first economy demands precision skills. But<br />

education alone is not enough, experience is necessary. Here,<br />

businesses must be geared to provide the right environment<br />

for learned theory to find practical application, to maximise<br />

opportunities for skills growth and development.<br />

However, the government alone cannot orchestrate this<br />

revolution and the private sector, particularly industries like mining,<br />

must be used as a potent catalyst for change. Companies should<br />

look towards expanding employment opportunities through<br />

targeted training and development initiatives. For example, mining<br />

houses collaborating with local communities, nurturing the talent<br />

hidden within through multi-skilling programmes that equip<br />

locals to operate machinery, coupled with dedicated channels to<br />

integrate them into the workforce, would be a transformative step.<br />

To get to this point, it is crucial to move beyond skills<br />

development being a just tick-box exercise to garner points that<br />

only have corporate worth. We must transition to a mindset in<br />

which skills development becomes about igniting passion and<br />

fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. This could be in the form of<br />

mentorship programmes led by industry veterans who share their<br />

wisdom and experience with eager young minds, or business<br />

incubators sprouting up in mining towns, nurturing the seeds of<br />

local innovation and enterprise.<br />

Skills development as the catalyst for unity<br />

The union of education and employment must be seen not<br />

merely as a transactional exchange, but rather a powerful force for<br />

progress. Imagine a young woman from a rural village equipped<br />

with the skills to operate a drone, mapping mineral deposits<br />

with precision. Imagine a young man, once struggling to make<br />

ends meet, transformed into a sought-after craftsman due to<br />

his welding capabilities. These are not just stories, they are the<br />

building blocks of a brighter future when the right skills meet the<br />

right opportunities.<br />

This is the future we must strive for, a future where skills<br />

development acts as a bridge, connecting education to a fulfilling<br />

professional life in which individuals are empowered to provide<br />

for themselves and their families. As a result, poverty will recede,<br />

replaced by the dignity of economic self-sufficiency. Crime rates<br />

will plummet and communities, once fractured by despair, will<br />

find unity in their shared prosperity. As is clear, this isn't just an<br />

economic imperative, it's a moral one. An opportunity is presented<br />

to build a South Africa where dignity and hope are not luxuries but<br />

fundamental rights.<br />

Partnerships between communities and corporates<br />

The 2024 election acts as a watershed opportunity. Let us choose<br />

leaders who understand this fundamental interplay between<br />

education and employment, leaders who will champion the<br />

skills revolution, who will invest in our youth, equipping them<br />

to become the architects of our tomorrow. To this end, training<br />

providers in every sector can make a significant difference by<br />

embracing this philosophy wholeheartedly and manifesting such<br />

a commitment through the provision of tailored training that<br />

Jacques Farmer, Managing Director of<br />

Prisma Training Solutions.<br />

recognises the importance of forging strong partnerships between<br />

corporates and communities. Training providers can turn boxticking<br />

exercises into initiatives that are specifically designed to<br />

empower individuals, transform lives and ignite a brighter future<br />

for all. Training providers can achieve this by dispensing the tools,<br />

providing guidance and delivering a platform for communities to<br />

take charge of their own path towards growth and prosperity.<br />

Investing in the future of our country<br />

As we stand on the cusp of change, ready to cast our ballots,<br />

let us remember – the seeds of progress can only be sown in<br />

education, nurtured by skills development and reaped in the<br />

fertile ground of employment. Let us make the 2024 election<br />

a catalyst for real, lasting change, a moment where South<br />

Africa embraces the transformative power of the integration<br />

of education and employment.<br />

About Prisma Training Solutions<br />

With over a decade’s experience in the mining industry, Prisma<br />

offers customised and sustainable education, training and<br />

organisational development solutions that ensure that clients<br />

can realise their return on investment with increased productivity<br />

and efficiency through qualified and trained staff, while operating<br />

within the most competent and safe environment.<br />

As the leader in professional training and a fully MQA-accredited<br />

specialist training service provider to the mining sector, Prisma<br />

have centres of excellence that provide the very best learning<br />

and development solutions customised to clients' exact needs.<br />

Strategically positioned in the North West, Mpumalanga and<br />

the Northern Cape, Prisma is ideally placed to respond to clients’<br />

training needs anywhere within Africa including South Africa,<br />

Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 35


Facilitating skills development<br />

for sustainable livelihoods<br />

The chemical industry’s sector education and training authority is pursuing partnerships<br />

based on innovation, collaboration, digitisation and transformation, says Yershen Pillay,<br />

CEO of CHIETA. This forward-looking SETA aspires to be a fully digitised entity that goes<br />

beyond skills to promote sustainable livelihoods and improve the quality of life.<br />

What is the mandate of the Chemical Industries<br />

Education and Training Authority (CHIETA)?<br />

CHIETA is a statutory body that was established by the Skills<br />

Development Act in 1998. CHIETA’s role in the sector is to<br />

facilitate skills development as well as to ensure that skills<br />

needs are identified and addressed through various training<br />

initiatives in the chemical and manufacturing industries.<br />

As a trusted partner in skills development and training for<br />

the chemical sector, CHIETA funds the industry for various<br />

occupational programmes as well as certain Technical<br />

Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector and higher<br />

education programmes. Our mission is to facilitate skills<br />

development, education and training through innovative<br />

solutions for sustainable livelihoods.<br />

How do you empower South Africa’s youth?<br />

CHIETA offers learnerships and other youth programmes to<br />

unemployed youth to promote employability in line with<br />

government policy as per National Skills Development Strategy<br />

(NSDS III) objectives.<br />

CHIETA has entered partnerships with various parties to drive<br />

innovation, skills development and training in Africa. Our role<br />

includes sourcing corporate entrepreneurs in the chemical sector<br />

to upskill them and identifying Fourth Industrial Revolution-linked<br />

programmes. The impact of this is that it will help provide youth<br />

with skills to combat unemployment.<br />

We offer a wide range of discretionary and mandatory grant<br />

funding directed towards women, youth and people living with<br />

disabilities. One major programme launched during 2023 was the<br />

36 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Smart Skills Centres, in which rural learners are taught digital skills<br />

to keep abreast of artificial intelligence (AI) developments. The<br />

authority intends to establish these centres in all nine provinces.<br />

Another project that stands out is the AlgoAtWork Robotics<br />

Academy in Richards Bay, in which children are taught essential<br />

skills for an AI-driven workplace in the future. Numerous bursaries<br />

flow into learning support and programmes for retrenched<br />

employees, a fundamental way CHIETA supports the Economic<br />

Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).<br />

Through its various programmes, including the upcoming<br />

Discretionary Grant Funding Windows and working with<br />

corporations, CHIETA provides potential opportunities for 615<br />

internships, 1 085 leadership, 1 395 skills programmes and 1 285<br />

TVET students for Work Integrated Learning.<br />

CHIETA offers unique training programmes providing practical<br />

skills for matric graduates’ employability. Please tell us more.<br />

CHIETA offers graduates or students looking for workplace<br />

experience, work exposure or work-integrated opportunities in<br />

the chemical sector. They also have programmes such as work<br />

readiness and job preparedness programmes, entrepreneurship<br />

development programmes, mentorship and market access<br />

programmes to support employability.<br />

Please provide an overview of the learnerships<br />

and apprentices that you offer.<br />

CHIETA will also continue to support fundamental skills focus<br />

areas including artisan training, learnerships, work-integrated<br />

learning and coherent skills training programmes (also<br />

known as part-qualifications) that allow for immediate job<br />

mobility while leaving the door open for candidates to<br />

further enhance their learning to obtain the remaining<br />

parts of the qualification incrementally using the lifelong<br />

learning principle. The apprentice career fields include<br />

boilermaker, draughtsman, electrician, fitter and turner,<br />

industrial machinery mechanic, instrument mechanic,<br />

millwright occupational instructor, refrigeration<br />

mechanic, rigger, truck driver and welder.<br />

Learnerships are directly related to occupations<br />

in the various fields of science, engineering and<br />

business.<br />

Please tell us about CHIETA’s<br />

industry collaboration.<br />

The organisation has adopted a partnership mode<br />

informed by the four strategic pillars (innovation,<br />

collaboration, digitisation and transformation). The<br />

strategic value of this approach is the contribution<br />

of these partnerships towards consolidating the<br />

organisational capacity to deliver stakeholder value<br />

and achieve the desired social impact.<br />

TVET college sector partnerships and Community<br />

Education & Training Colleges (CET) partnerships play a critical<br />

role in the supply of skills:<br />

Yershen Pillay, CHIETA CEO


Coded Welding (pilot project) with TVET colleges: A<br />

pilot project on blended learning to explore e-learning<br />

using the Coded Welding Skills Programme to curb youth<br />

unemployment, improve livelihoods and support economic<br />

development. The lessons and best practices would be<br />

shared towards the implementation of e-learning in the<br />

chemical sector.<br />

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University: CHIETA<br />

funded Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University to partner<br />

with pharmaceutical companies to offer work-integrated<br />

learning for undergraduate students who are studying<br />

pharmaceutical-related qualifications.<br />

Trade unions in the chemical sector: Reskilling of the<br />

chemical industry’s retrenched workers.<br />

CHIETA/CHEMIN Innovation Hub: The programme supports<br />

entrepreneurs in developing ideas into profitable businesses<br />

through incubation programmes.<br />

CHIETA/UJ Multi-SETA Project: Grow collaboration among<br />

SETAs (envisioned partnership with EWSETA, ETDPSETA, Services<br />

SETA, AgriSETA and INSETA). The collaboration with the other SETAs<br />

for cross-sectoral SMME development will enable competitiveness<br />

and increased productivity of SMMEs participating in this<br />

programme for them to survive in the ever-changing business<br />

environment. These SMMEs will be the catalyst of job creation<br />

and economic growth.<br />

CXI African Strategic Projects and Youth Media Movement:<br />

The digital skills gained from these projects will provide the youth<br />

with an opportunity to enter occupations in high demand and<br />

contribute significantly to the digital revolution and economy in<br />

South Africa.<br />

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS):<br />

Support for corporate entrepreneurs within the chemical sector<br />

to grow the economy.<br />

Smart Skills Centres: Smart Skills Centres will be established<br />

in all nine provinces.<br />

CHIETA/MICT SETA/INSETA: Partnering on strategic projects<br />

that are aligned with the organisations’ mandates and will<br />

contribute to:<br />

• Economic empowerment<br />

• Youth employability<br />

• Food security<br />

• Entrepreneurship and business support<br />

• Digitisation and 4IR.<br />

The SETAs are partnering to identify the priority research areas<br />

and conduct research to support the CHIETA, INSETA and MICT<br />

sector skills plans.<br />

How does CHIETA use innovation in its training initiatives?<br />

We not only use and encourage the support of e-learning and<br />

blended learning methods as we forge ahead, but it is imperative<br />

to strengthen our existing partnerships with both the private and<br />

public sectors. Concomitantly, we must cement new and lasting<br />

partnerships that will allow us to put the chemical industry on the<br />

38 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


fast track to adopting 4IR and to continue to innovate in our quest<br />

to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and spur the economic<br />

development of the country. We aspire to be a fully digitised,<br />

innovation-driven SETA that is not just about skills development,<br />

but about sustainable livelihoods and improving the quality of<br />

life. We want to support the end-to-end value chain of sustainable<br />

livelihoods. We conduct virtual reality-based training and promote<br />

the use of AI in education and training. We want to impact 100 000<br />

livelihoods by 2025.<br />

What is CHIETA’s perspective on tackling unemployment?<br />

We can improve the agility of educational and training institutions.<br />

When the economy needs new skills, how fast can the country’s<br />

training providers react? An essential pillar of CHIETA’s vision is to<br />

overcome the difficulty that many communities in South Africa,<br />

predominantly in rural areas, have in accessing digital skills and<br />

opportunities. Therefore, bridging the digital divide is crucial if<br />

the country is to address the challenges around skills. The impact<br />

of upskilling people in 4IR-linked programmes is that it will help<br />

provide youth with skills to combat unemployment.<br />

What are some of CHIETA’s success stories that<br />

illustrate the tangible impact of your initiatives?<br />

CHIETA received a clean audit, met 100% of its targets and grew levy<br />

income year-on-year from R592-million to R621-million. CHIETA is<br />

determined to continue making a difference and working on the<br />

hydrogen economy for which it has gained a growing reputation<br />

as a leader in the green economy.<br />

We take comfort from the fact that we are putting resources<br />

behind dozens of young girls interested in science – at least 217<br />

last year – with positive results to boot.<br />

The Eastern Cape Department of Education recognised hardworking<br />

matriculant Liyabona Ncanywa as one of the province’s<br />

top achievers in the 2023 national senior certificate examinations.<br />

CHIETA assisted her with tuition and school fees through its<br />

science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fund<br />

that supports 1 000 learners nationwide.<br />

Through its various programmes, including the upcoming<br />

discretionary grant funding windows and working with<br />

corporations, CHIETA provides potential opportunities for 615<br />

internships, 1 085 learnerships, 1 395 skills programmes and 1 285<br />

TVET students for work-integrated learning.<br />

• These have yielded positive strides and evidence of success<br />

since inception.<br />

• CHIETA’s role in the implementation of an innovation, skills<br />

development and training programme in Africa includes<br />

sourcing corporate entrepreneurs in the chemical sector to<br />

upskill them and identifying 4IR-linked programmes.<br />

How do we start building an innovative and<br />

employable workforce for South Africa?<br />

We can improve the agility of educational and training institutions.<br />

As an innovation leader in education, skills development and<br />

training we don’t want to train for the sake of training. Our broader<br />

goal is to improve the quality of life by focusing on sustainable<br />

livelihoods. We focus on reskilling and upskilling people to ensure<br />

they can have sustainable livelihoods. As industries like ours and<br />

others digitalise, we see a demand for what one could call crossover<br />

skills, skills that are as valuable in mining or retail as they<br />

are to our industry, which means that we must broaden how we<br />

interpret our remit.<br />

Bridging the digital<br />

divide is crucial if the<br />

country is to address the<br />

challenges around skills.<br />

Please discuss CHIETA’s role in addressing high<br />

unemployment rates among the Class of 2023.<br />

In the past year, CHIETA supported the Economic Reconstruction<br />

and Recovery Programme (ERRP) of the government through three<br />

programme initiatives, namely:<br />

• Occupationally directed programmes<br />

• The STEM programme to grow the number of women and<br />

people with disabilities entering the chemical industry<br />

• Support programmes for co-operatives, SMMEs, nongovernmental<br />

organisations and community-based<br />

organisations in both rural and urban areas<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 39


A beacon of excellence<br />

The Mankwe Campus of ORBIT TVET College is committed<br />

to providing accessible education and practical training,<br />

says Welheminah Molapi, Acting Campus Manager.<br />

Please describe the community<br />

or communities served by Mankwe Campus.<br />

The campus is located next to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in<br />

a rural environment. It is 10km from Sun City and based on the<br />

locality, appropriate infrastructure and the objectives of the<br />

Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. Hospitality and<br />

Tourism were identified as niche areas for the Mankwe Campus.<br />

It serves local communities comprising 107 villages and the two<br />

formal townships of Mogwase and Madikwe with an estimated<br />

population of 242 553. Our campus forms part of the Moses Kotane<br />

Local Municipality which is mainly characterised by tourism,<br />

mining and agriculture. Industries and social services also form a<br />

critical part of the local economy.<br />

What are the skills which are most relevant<br />

to the needs of the communities?<br />

ORBIT TVET College Mankwe Campus stands as a beacon of<br />

educational excellence in the Moses Kotane Local Municipality.<br />

Its commitment to providing accessible education and practical<br />

training empowers students to pursue their dreams and contribute<br />

to the growth and development of Mankwe and beyond.<br />

Whether you are interested in Engineering, Business Studies or<br />

Hospitality and Tourism, Mankwe Campus offers a diverse range<br />

of programmes to help students on their path to success. A special<br />

feature of Mankwe Campus is a magnificently designed mock<br />

workplace for students studying Transport and Logistics, and<br />

Tourism and Hospitality. Two distinctive, Afri-chic guesthouses are<br />

available on campus. They are run and maintained by Mankwe<br />

Campus Hospitality and Tourism students. Students are exposed<br />

to real-life job experience while completing their studies.<br />

Please give an example of collaboration with business.<br />

We forged a partnership with Anglo Platinum Mine for placement<br />

of our students to help them fulfil their academic requirements<br />

and build their skills before they graduate. The mine has partnered<br />

with Mankwe Campus to also offer internships and for students to<br />

gain experience. Most Memorandums of Understanding signed<br />

with partners are aimed at the placement of staff and students for<br />

expanded learning and job placement opportunities.<br />

What are the potential benefits of having a virtual<br />

reality (VR) welding workshop at the college?<br />

The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority<br />

(CHIETA) donated a VR welding workshop to Mankwe Campus<br />

for skills development in welding, using digital skills. Students<br />

are using the VR simulators to<br />

optimise designs before actual<br />

welding, allowing them to<br />

identify potential defects<br />

or weaknesses in welds<br />

through simulated<br />

trials. This saves time,<br />

resources and ensures<br />

better-quality welds in<br />

real-world applications.<br />

When students are<br />

practising in a virtual<br />

environment, they<br />

develop muscle memory<br />

and techniques.<br />

Does Mankwe’s accommodation<br />

give the campus an advantage?<br />

Mankwe Campus is the only campus with student accommodation<br />

and can accommodate 560 students. Students living on campus<br />

are just a short walk away from classes, an advantage in terms<br />

of punctuality and class attendance and giving easy access<br />

to resources such as the library, student support services,<br />

co-curricular programmes, academic assistance or counselling.<br />

What are the challenges faced by this campus?<br />

• Infrastructure maintenance and NSFAS funding.<br />

• Insufficient opportunities for student and staff placement.<br />

• Offering programmes that do not respond to the demands of<br />

the market and industry.<br />

• Limited resources.<br />

What do you enjoy most about being<br />

a campus administrator?<br />

As a Campus Manager, I enjoy being a leader. My campus<br />

community are the first priority of progressive leadership. An<br />

atmosphere that fosters employee growth is produced by leaders<br />

who prioritise the growth and well-being of their teams. Better<br />

campus outcomes are the consequence, as this raises motivation<br />

and engagement levels. My experience has provided me with the<br />

opportunity to work as a member of a multi-disciplinary team,<br />

utilising strong communication and interpersonal skills in order to<br />

build respectful professional relationships with members of staff,<br />

students and key stakeholders alike and promote the college’s<br />

strategic objectives.<br />

40 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Virtual reality becomes a<br />

reality for ORBIT TVET College<br />

North West college’s digital strides are enhanced by CHIETA partnership.<br />

A<br />

virtual-reality<br />

welding workshop has been presented to<br />

ORBIT TVET College.<br />

The Mankwe Campus of the ORBIT TVET College in<br />

the North West Province was the grateful recipient of<br />

a fully stocked virtual-reality (VR) welding workshop when the<br />

CEO of the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority<br />

(CHIETA), Yershen Pillay, visited the site in September 2023.<br />

One of CHIETA’s biggest goals is to make digital technology<br />

accessible to rural communities. With the students of Mankwe<br />

Campus being mainly drawn from the communities of Mogwase<br />

and Mabela Pudi, CHIETA is achieving its goal by making available<br />

to the campus such virtual-reality training equipment.<br />

Mogwase and Mabela Pudi are near to Sun City and the area has<br />

a number of platinum mines but many families rely on subsistence<br />

agriculture so this is an excellent site for achieving the goal of<br />

narrowing the digital skills divide in rural areas.<br />

During the ceremony, Pillay explained that VR technology<br />

serves as a practical tool in the educational process as it combines<br />

new technology, the advantages of digitilisation and easy use to<br />

allow student welders an opportunity to achieve the best welding<br />

results. CHIETA strongly believes that no-one should be left behind.<br />

CHIETA is engaged in a national programme of rolling<br />

out SMART Skills centres across the country, with the goal of<br />

establishing nine such centres by 2025. Saldanha, Port Elizabeth,<br />

Sabie (Mpumalanga) and Babanango (KwaZulu-Natal) already<br />

have SMART Skill centres and the programme continues.<br />

ORBIT TVET College has made strides in the ICT field through<br />

a partnership with Intel. The laboratory at the Brits Campus,<br />

supported by Intel, enabled two groups of ORBIT students to<br />


progress to the finals of a 2023 global AI competition run by the<br />

company. One of the teams finished third overall.<br />

Specialisations at ORBIT TVET College<br />

As part of a national programme, two Centres of Specialisation<br />

are offered at ORBIT TVET College. On the Brits Campus, specialist<br />

apprenticeships can be trained in the trade of electrician. At<br />

Mankwe Campus, diesel mechanic is the specialisation on offer.<br />

Altogether the College has three campuses, with the<br />

administrative headquarters based in Rustenburg.<br />

Centres of Specialisation are departments within TVET colleges<br />

dedicated to artisan training in partnership with employers. The<br />

curriculum consists of occupational qualifications designed by<br />

industry for industry and which are registered with the Quality<br />

Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).<br />

By forging valuable partnerships with business and industry<br />

partners, opportunities for work-integrated learning are presented<br />

to students when they complete their studies.<br />

The virtual reality welding workshop on the Mankwe Campus of<br />

ORBIT TVET College is officially opened by College Principal Mr<br />

Dika Mokoena and CHIETA CEO Mr Yershen Pillay.<br />

Contact details<br />

Call centre: 086 100 0305 | Tel: 014 592 4147 | Tel: 082 063 3835 | Website: www.orbitcollege.co.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 41


Working closely with<br />

SETAs to advance<br />

skills training<br />

Resolution Circle has relaunched the Technical Training Centre<br />

in Welkom, an opportunity, says CEO Gideon Potgieter, to<br />

expand the technical training provider’s geographical range.<br />

Biography<br />

Gideon has extensive experience in Operations Management in the corporate world<br />

and in a consulting role, including Supply Chain Management, Quality Management<br />

and Project Management, applying tools, methodologies and philosophies like ISO9001,<br />

Kaizen, Lean, Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints. He has worked in several industries<br />

ranging from higher education, high-tech electronics and information technology to<br />

automotive, medical insurance and renewable energy in South Africa and abroad.<br />

Gideon Potgieter, CEO Resolution Circle<br />

42 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


What is the significance of relaunching<br />

the Technical Training Centre in Welkom?<br />

The Province of the Free state does not have any<br />

other training centres that offer apprenticeships<br />

other than Automotive or Electrical.<br />

Creating an employable workforce is said to be the focus<br />

of SETAs: do you see progress in SA in this regard?<br />

It remains the largest challenge, to get learners into<br />

opportunities to gain work experience in order to allow them<br />

to complete their qualifications.<br />

What is the basis of your relationship<br />

with the University of Johannesburg?<br />

We are a subsidiary of UJ through the Holding<br />

company UJ INVNT.<br />

How does this project fit in with<br />

Resolution Circle’s goals?<br />

We entered Apprenticeship Training in 2019, which<br />

allows us to expand our footprint beyond Gauteng.<br />

Do you have other sites where you offer<br />

training or do you send trainers out?<br />

We have both; we have our own sites in<br />

Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni and we have trained<br />

at remote locations across the country.<br />

Do you offer independent courses or are your courses<br />

always linked to a corporate sending employees to you?<br />

We do offer independent courses.<br />

Can you help a student who can’t afford the fees?<br />

Yes, we can. We apply for grants and when we receive grants,<br />

we generally recruit from the pool of unemployed candidates.<br />

Please explain the difference between Apprenticeship,<br />

Candidacy and Work-Integrated Learning.<br />

Apprenticeship leads to becoming a qualified tradesperson<br />

like a Boilermaker or Electrician. Candidacy assists Engineers,<br />

Technicians and Technologists to register professionally<br />

with the industry body after qualification. Work-Integrated<br />

Learning is for Technicians in training who completed their<br />

relevant theory at the respective Universities of Technology,<br />

but in order to obtain their diplomas, they need to complete<br />

between six and 12 months of practical work exposure. These<br />

programmes cover levels 2 to 8 in the NQF system.<br />

Do you work together with SETAs?<br />

We work closely with CHIETA, ETDP, EWSETA, Manufacturing<br />

and Engineering, MICT, MQA and TETA. We wish to work with<br />

Agri, Construction, FoodBev and Local Government SETAs in<br />

the future.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 43


Shaping the future of financial<br />

planning in South Africa<br />

The School of Financial Planning Law (SFPL) at the University of the Free State has long been a trailblazer<br />

in the field of financial planning. As Professor Liezel Alsemgeest, the School’s Director explains, high<br />

standards for teaching and research continue to keep SFPL at the forefront of the discipline in South Africa.<br />

Provide a historic overview of financial planning<br />

in South Africa and how the School of Financial<br />

Planning Law at the UFS contributed.<br />

Financial planning in South Africa has come a long way to now<br />

being regarded as a well-established profession. Prior to the<br />

1980s, financial advice was often disjointed, with product sales a<br />

primary focus. The Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa<br />

(FPI), established in 1981, played a pivotal role in changing this<br />

landscape. By advocating for ethical standards and professional<br />

education, the FPI helped build trust and credibility. The University<br />

of the Free State (UFS) played a key part in this transformation<br />

Director Prof Liezel<br />

Alsemgeest<br />

Biography<br />

Professor Liezel Alsemgeest is an associate professor at<br />

the University of the Free State and the Director of the<br />

School of Financial Planning Law (SFPL). As an NRF-rated<br />

researcher, her focus is on communication in personal<br />

finance and financial behaviour – areas crucial for navigating<br />

the complexities of financial planning. She is a Certified<br />

Financial Planner (CFP®) and also the Programme Director<br />

for Specialised Postgraduate Diplomas at the SFPL.<br />

through its School of Financial Planning Law. Founded in 2001,<br />

the School offered South Africa’s first (and for a long time the<br />

only) Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, which is an<br />

accredited qualification needed to obtain the coveted Certified<br />

Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. This programme, aligned<br />

with international standards, equips financial advisors with the<br />

knowledge and skills to provide holistic financial planning services.<br />

The UFS's contribution wasn't limited to academics. By producing<br />

graduates who prioritise client needs, the School helps to shape<br />

a new generation of ethical and competent financial planners,<br />

ultimately benefiting the financial well-being of South Africans.<br />

Explain in more detail the importance of the<br />

CFP® designation and the role of the SFPL.<br />

Earning the CFP® designation signifies a rigorous educational<br />

journey. Programmes delve deep into various financial planning<br />

areas, from risk management and retirement planning to tax<br />

strategies and estate planning. This comprehensive knowledge<br />

base ensures that CFP® professionals have the tools to tackle even<br />

the most intricate financial situations. Financial guidance is only<br />

as valuable as the trust behind it. CFP® professionals adhere to a<br />

strict code of ethics established by the FPI. The financial world is<br />

constantly evolving and CFP® professionals stay ahead of the curve<br />

through continuous professional development. As the biggest<br />

educational provider in South Africa, the SFPL plays a critical part<br />

in upholding high ethical standards.<br />

Are your programmes suitable for employed individuals?<br />

The SFPL’s distance-learning programmes were developed<br />

specifically to cater to working professionals. The flexible format<br />

allows a student to study around job demands and family life.<br />

Having access to course materials online enables students to<br />

study whenever it best suits their schedule. Additionally, the SFPL<br />

programmes offer a personalised learning approach which ensures<br />

the student receives the guidance they need to excel. Assessments<br />

are conducted online, so a student can be anywhere in the world<br />

and complete the qualification.<br />

What are the most popular courses overall?<br />

Has there been any shift in recent years?<br />

The Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning is the flagship<br />

programme and takes centre stage with the highest volume of


students every year. This comprehensive programme equips<br />

aspiring financial advisors with the knowledge and skills<br />

necessary to navigate the complex world of financial planning.<br />

Structured around the CFP® curriculum, it delves into areas like risk<br />

management, retirement planning, tax optimisation and estate<br />

planning and will soon include behavioural finance.<br />

The SFPL also offers specialised postgraduate diplomas in Estate<br />

Planning and Investment Planning. These programmes cater to<br />

individuals seeking in-depth knowledge in specific financial areas.<br />

On the undergraduate level, the Advanced Diploma in Estate<br />

and Trust Administration is experiencing a surge in popularity<br />

as it equips individuals with the expertise to handle complex<br />

fiduciary matters.<br />

At what NQF level are the various courses?<br />

The Postgraduate Diplomas in Financial Planning, Estate Planning<br />

and Investment Planning are all on NQF level 8. The Advanced<br />

Diploma in Estate and Trust Administration is an undergraduate<br />

qualification on NQF level 7.<br />

Do you have some students who are already<br />

financial planners and are looking to add to<br />

their qualifications in specific areas?<br />

The SFPL understands the needs of working professionals in<br />

the financial industry. With approximately 99% of our students<br />

employed, our programmes are specifically designed for distance<br />

learning. This ensures that students can gain valuable financial<br />

planning expertise without compromising their current work<br />

schedule or family commitments.<br />

The SFPL offers not just accredited qualifications but<br />

also assists students in focused professional development.<br />

Alongside our acclaimed postgraduate diplomas, the SFPL<br />

offers industry-relevant short courses designed to enhance a<br />

student’s existing skillset.<br />

Whether someone is looking to delve into the world of financial<br />

coaching or gain expertise in employee benefits, the SFPL’s short<br />

courses provide individuals with the knowledge and practical skills<br />

needed to excel. These focused programmes are perfect for busy<br />

professionals, complementing their current qualifications and<br />

allowing them to specialise.<br />

The flexible nature of these short courses, delivered online,<br />

ensures minimal disruption to work schedules. This makes them<br />

ideal for continuous learning and keeping expertise at the forefront<br />

of the ever-evolving financial landscape.<br />

The Advanced Diploma in Estate and Trust Administration<br />

is accredited by two organisations. Tell us more about it.<br />

The Advanced Diploma in Estate and Trust Administration is<br />

offered by the SFPL, the only institution in South Africa that is<br />

accredited with two well-respected organisations:<br />

The Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA): This is a nonprofit<br />

organisation that focuses on fiduciary practitioners such<br />

as estate planners and trust administrators. FISA sets standards<br />

for the profession, provides education for consumers and offers<br />

continuing professional development for its members. This<br />

accreditation signifies that the programme meets the educational<br />

requirements for achieving the prestigious FPSA® (Fiduciary<br />

Practitioner of South Africa) designation.<br />

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP): STEP is a<br />

global professional association dedicated to upholding high<br />

standards in the trust and estate management profession. It<br />

focuses on educating and maintaining rigorous professional<br />

qualifications for members. The Advanced Diploma in Estate<br />

and Trust Administration is the only qualification in South Africa<br />

that is considered sufficient as the education portion to become<br />

a STEP member. The SFPL is very proud of this achievement to be<br />

the only education provider in South Africa. TEPs are recognised<br />

internationally as experts in estate and trust administration.<br />

This designation grants access to a global network of over 20<br />

000 professionals.<br />

What are notable achievements by the<br />

SFPL in the last couple of years?<br />

The SFPL has a track record of excellence, boasting several notable<br />

achievements in recent years:<br />

• Top performers: SFPL alumni consistently rank among the<br />

top five achievers in the FPI Board exam, year after year. This<br />

impressive record demonstrates the effectiveness of the SFPL's<br />

curriculum in preparing students for success.<br />

• Award-winning professionals: For several years running, SFPL<br />

graduates have claimed the prestigious FPI Financial Planner<br />

of the Year award. This recognition highlights the exceptional<br />

skills and ethical practices instilled in SFPL alumni, solidifying<br />

their reputation as leaders in the field.<br />

• National recognition: The Advanced Diploma in Estate and Trust<br />

Administration is the only qualification that FISA recognises as<br />

the academic requirement for attaining the FPSA® designation.<br />

• International recognition: The SFPL offers the only accredited<br />

qualification in South Africa that allows graduates to become<br />

international STEP members. This unique qualification positions<br />

SFPL graduates for success in international estate planning.<br />

• Pioneering research: SFPL academics are at the forefront of<br />

financial planning research. Their groundbreaking publication,<br />

Perspectives in Financial Therapy, is the first of its kind in<br />

South Africa, exploring the intersection of financial planning<br />

and emotional well-being and demonstrating the School's<br />

commitment to a holistic approach to financial guidance.<br />

These achievements showcase the SFPL's dedication to<br />

excellence in financial planning education. By producing<br />

top-performing graduates, award-winning professionals and<br />

contributing to groundbreaking research, the SFPL continues to<br />

shape the future of financial planning in South Africa.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 45


Empowering progress<br />

through diversity<br />

Gender inclusivity needs to be fostered in South Africa's energy transition, writes<br />

Maagatha Kalavadakken, Financial and Market Analyst for Wärtsilä Energy in Southern Africa.<br />

The energy sector is the cornerstone of any nation's<br />

development. The link between energy and human<br />

progress is undeniable as it powers our homes, industries<br />

and aspirations.<br />

As South Africa strives to achieve its economic and sustainable<br />

growth goals, one crucial element cannot be overlooked: the<br />

active and meaningful participation of women. Globally, women<br />

account for only 16% of the traditional energy sector according<br />

to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and numbers are equally<br />

marginal in South Africa. Nonetheless, women are now emerging<br />

as key drivers of change, innovation and progress within the sector.<br />

Recognising and harnessing their potential is not just a matter of<br />

gender equality, it's a strategic imperative for a brighter energy<br />

future. As a woman working at Wärtsilä, a global leader in energy<br />

solutions, I have witnessed firsthand the complex challenges and<br />

opportunities for gender diversity in the industry.<br />

South Africa's women and the energy<br />

transition: a critical perspective<br />

Despite the just energy transition's focus on addressing job<br />

losses when coal plants retire, gender equality has often been<br />

overlooked. Achieving full gender equality in the energy sector<br />

remains a complex challenge linked to education, societal norms<br />

and corporate policies. But diversity won’t happen by itself.<br />

Maagatha Kalavadakken,<br />

Financial and Market Analyst, Wärtsilä Energy.<br />

Companies and industries play an important role in tackling the<br />

stereotypes and promoting gender equality. In 2023 at Wärtsilä,<br />

we celebrated women during International Women’s Day in<br />

March, with our event “Innovating sustainable societies and<br />

metaverse”, showing how women are making a difference and<br />

continue to do so.<br />

Energy poverty remains a significant challenge in South Africa,<br />

particularly in rural and under-served communities. Women are<br />

often at the forefront of these communities, managing households<br />

and contributing to their families' livelihoods. Their involvement<br />

in the energy sector can provide essential insights into the unique<br />

energy needs of these communities. Women-centred initiatives<br />

can lead to the development of energy solutions that are not<br />

only affordable but also tailored to the specific requirements of<br />

these populations. By engaging women, South Africa can take<br />

meaningful steps towards bridging the energy access gap and<br />

improving overall quality of life. Wärtsilä recognises that addressing<br />

energy poverty requires more than just technical innovation;<br />

it necessitates a diverse and inclusive workforce. When I joined<br />

Wärtsilä, I was drawn to the company's commitment to providing<br />

sustainable energy solutions while nurturing an environment<br />

where women can thrive.<br />

Representation matters, especially in sectors where women<br />

have historically been marginalised. When women see other<br />

women occupying leadership positions in the energy sector, it<br />

sends a powerful message that their aspirations are attainable.<br />

The journey towards gender equality and women's<br />

empowerment in the energy sector requires collaborative efforts<br />

from government, businesses, educational institutions and civil<br />

society organisations. It calls for the creation of mentorship<br />

programmes, scholarships and training opportunities specifically<br />

tailored to women in energy. Furthermore, businesses should<br />

embrace policies that promote diversity and inclusion, creating an<br />

environment where women can thrive and contribute their best.<br />

Nevertheless, I remain hopeful, knowing that Wärtsilä's<br />

commitment to empowering women extends beyond mere words;<br />

it is demonstrated through action, unwavering commitment<br />

and a belief in the power of diversity. Wärtsilä is already leading<br />

the way with a university programme that trains both men and<br />

women, aiming to create a more inclusive future. Through various<br />

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programmes, Wärtsilä actively strives<br />

to increase female representation at all levels. Special attention<br />

is given to hiring, aiming for gender equity and appreciating the<br />

46 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


unique perspectives and creativity that women bring. As living<br />

proof of this commitment, I have personally experienced the<br />

support and opportunities Wärtsilä provides.<br />

My empowering journey with Wärtsilä<br />

Working as a financial analyst in a traditionally male-dominated<br />

industry was not without its challenges. However, joining Wärtsilä<br />

marked a turning point in my career. The company's strong<br />

focus on advancing women resonated with me deeply. From<br />

mentoring to professional development opportunities, Wärtsilä<br />

has nurtured my growth. My work involves understanding energy<br />

markets in Africa and Europe, proposing viable solutions through<br />

financial modelling and finding the best fit for our customers.<br />

This has deepened our understanding of power systems in<br />

different regions, allowing us to contribute meaningfully to<br />

their development. South Africa stands at a pivotal moment in its<br />

energy evolution and women are poised to play a transformative<br />

role. By recognising the importance of women in the energy<br />

sector and actively supporting their participation, South Africa<br />

can tap into a wellspring of creativity, innovation and leadership<br />

that will drive its sustainable energy future. Gender equality is not<br />

just a moral imperative; it's an essential step towards securing a<br />

prosperous, inclusive and vibrant energy sector that benefits all<br />

South Africans.<br />

What role will women play as South Africa<br />

transitions to cleaner energy solutions?<br />

Credit: Wärtsilä<br />

About Wärtsilä Energy<br />

Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100%<br />

renewable-energy future. We help our customers in<br />

decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies.<br />

These cover future-fuel-enabled balancing-power plants,<br />

hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology,<br />

including the GEMS energy-management platform. Wärtsilä<br />

Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency,<br />

promote reliability and guarantee operational performance.<br />

Our track record comprises 76GW of power-plant capacity<br />

and 110 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries<br />

around the world.<br />

https://www.wartsila.com/energy<br />

About Wärtsilä<br />

Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies<br />

and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy<br />

markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable<br />

technology and services to help our customers<br />

continuously improve their environmental and<br />

economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate<br />

team of 17 000 professionals in more than 200<br />

locations in 68 countries shape the decarbonisation<br />

transformation of our industries across the globe.<br />

In 2021, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR4.8-billion.<br />

Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.<br />

www.wartsila.com<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 47

Steinmüller Africa’s induction bending machine at work, bending thick-walled piping.<br />

Steinmüller Africa’s specialised<br />

induction bending solutions benefit<br />

industries across South Africa<br />

Steinmüller Africa, a specialist in the engineering and fabrication<br />

of high-pressure components, offers exclusive induction bending<br />

solutions to the South African market.<br />

Steinmüller Africa’s pride – The Cojafex PB 850 Induction Bending Machine<br />

Steinmüller has manufacturing capacity for two-million productive hours a year at its Pretoria facility and has<br />

highly skilled engineers on hand to develop, manufacture, install or retrofit components. Its manufacturing<br />

facility contains specialised pieces of equipment, including a specialised induction bending machine called the<br />

Cojafex PB 850, capable of bending pipes between 48.3 mm (outside diameter) and 850 mm (outside diameter)<br />

with a wall thickness up to 100 mm.

The Cojafex PB 850 Induction Bending Machine Is a oneof-a-kind<br />

induction bending machine, enabling paper and<br />

pulp, power, petrochemical and mining plants to source<br />

custom bends locally, as well as large radius, multiple or<br />

complex bends – all with quick turnaround times.<br />

Induction bending is the process whereby a straight pipe<br />

is precision-bent by a specially-engineered machine.<br />

The front of the pipe protrudes through an induction<br />

coil and is clamped into position. The induction coil is<br />

heated to a specified temperature and then the arm of<br />

the machine moves in a predetermined radius, pushing<br />

the pipe through the coil. “This is programmed into the<br />

machine upfront and is an automated process,” explains<br />

Lee Chapman, Divisional Manager – Piping, Steinmüller<br />

Africa. The automation and machine control renders a<br />

precise and top-quality pipe bend. “Our Cojafex machine<br />

is capable of bending pipes between 48.3 OD and 850 OD<br />

with a wall thickness up to 100 mm. It can create bends<br />

up to 180 degrees,” adds Chapman.<br />

Induction bending is ideal “when standard size bends<br />

are not available and custom or large radius bends are<br />

required,” states Chapman. Since it can create complex<br />

(multiple) bends without the need for welding, induction<br />

bending guarantees pipe system integrity and a reduced<br />

maintenance requirement, making it especially wellsuited<br />

to high pressure (HP) piping, steam piping and<br />

industrial piping systems. This also means it delivers a<br />

relatively low cost of ownership. In addition, if multiple<br />

bends are done at once then there is a cost saving during<br />

the erection and ongoing maintenance phases of a plant’s<br />

operation.<br />

The benefit of partnering with Steinmüller is that it offers<br />

complementary services in addition to induction bending.<br />

“There is no need to move the component between<br />

different suppliers as we are able to do all the necessary<br />

Our Cojafex machine is capable<br />

of bending pipes between 48.3 OD<br />

and 850 OD with a wall thickness<br />

up to 100 mm. It can create bends<br />

up to 180 degrees.<br />

bending, welding and heat treatment in-house,” says<br />

Chapman. Using its Schlager gas furnace, Steinmüller<br />

conducts post bend heat treatment (PBHT), which ensures<br />

the pipe’s mechanical properties are restored following<br />

the bending process. In addition, Steinmüller specialises<br />

in various welding processes, enabling custom welding<br />

onto pipes.<br />

A commitment to safety and quality, backed by<br />

international expertise, has made Steinmüller Africa the<br />

fabricator of choice for some of South Africa’s largest<br />

Power, Paper and Petrochemical companies.<br />

“Steinmüller has been carrying out induction bending for<br />

over ten years at its facility in Pretoria and has a number<br />

of qualified bending procedures to both EN and ASME<br />

standards for safety and quality. Our in-house quality<br />

management system ensures that our products meet all<br />

the necessary international standards,” adds Chapman.<br />

Steinmüller Africa is a Bilfinger Power Africa company,<br />

and is a BBEE Level 1 company. For over six decades,<br />

Steinmüller has provided comprehensive solutions<br />

for steam generating plants, from design through to<br />

commissioning and after-service maintenance.<br />

For more information, contact Jaco Gerber – Specialist:<br />

Outage Execution at Steinmüller Africa:<br />

Tel: +27 (0)87 759 0849<br />

Email: jaco.gerber@bilfinger.com<br />

Your trusted partner in<br />

Engineering Excellence!<br />




If a mining<br />

company tweaks<br />

a technology to<br />

suit its operations,<br />

who owns the IP?<br />

<strong>Opportunity</strong> spoke with Hogan Lovells partner Deepa<br />

Vallabh at the Investing in African Mining Indaba about<br />

the legal issues that arise when new technologies are<br />

used – and adapted – on a mine. Mining companies also<br />

have to find the right balance between efficiency and<br />

complying with social and environment guidelines.<br />

Biography<br />

Deepa Vallabh has over 22 years’ experience in corporate and commercial practice and<br />

has in-depth knowledge in a number of legal areas, including mergers and acquisitions<br />

(both domestic and cross-border), capital market transactions, BEE transactions,<br />

corporate reorganisations and restructurings with a particular focus on cross-border<br />

M&A transactions into Africa. Deepa has experience in a variety of sectors which<br />

includes mining and resources, technology, telecommunications, media and<br />

communications, FMCG, insurance, agriculture, manufacturing and private equity.<br />

Deepa Vallabh, partner at Hogan Lovells.<br />

What is your title at Hogan Lovells?<br />

I am a partner in the corporate and commercial Mergers and<br />

Acquisitions (M&A) department.<br />

Why is the convergence of technology and<br />

mining presenting legal challenges?<br />

As technology progresses, a sector like mining can’t ignore the<br />

developments that are happening in technology and the ability<br />

which is being created for them to create efficiencies in their<br />

operations. There is a convergence between the technological<br />

sectors and the traditional mining sector. We ask questions about<br />

the legal intricacies surrounding technological innovations in<br />

mining operations and how they can be navigated. In the legal<br />

landscape, you’ve got two very different sectors which are<br />

regulated by very different pieces of law. When you integrate<br />

that effectively, mining companies have to become au fait with<br />

the rights and challenges around technology.<br />

Would that include things like copyright on technology?<br />

Correct. Depending on the kind of technology you are dealing<br />

with, it is external or internal. If its external, you generally have<br />

a supplier that has come up with a product and has created<br />

some technological or technical efficiencies which the mining<br />

operator can employ. Then the legal regime is one of a licensing<br />

50 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Nearly half a million South Africans are employed in the mining sector.<br />

is shared. This then depends on the rights of the licensor versus<br />

the licensee, the strength of the licensor versus the licensee. For<br />

example a licensor like Microsoft is generally not going to be<br />

very amenable to giving you the IP even if they are developing a<br />

bespoke product for you, whereas a small technology player may<br />

feel they want the business.<br />

New technology is constantly being<br />

introduced to mining operations.<br />

arrangement to use the technology or to explore the technology<br />

and then a fee is payable. In those scenarios the copyright sits<br />

with the licensor, which is the entity which has either developed<br />

it or has the ability to license that. The originator. They hold the<br />

intellectual property (IP) and they will have the registered rights<br />

to the IP. Where it becomes really interesting is when you have a<br />

piece of technology that needs to be adapted for a specific mining<br />

operation. If a certain technology measures something or works<br />

out where the resource is sitting, that technology might have to<br />

be adapted depending on the minerals you’re looking for and<br />

depending on the kinds of operations.<br />

Would the climate be a variable?<br />

Or even the climate, whether it is an underground operation or a<br />

surface operation. Often mining companies will engage with these<br />

technology companies to try to adapt the technology and then<br />

it becomes interesting from a legal perspective: who owns the<br />

amended technology or software?<br />

So what sort of law do you go to there?<br />

IP law has some basic principles. The registered owner owns the IP<br />

and they have a title and they have the ability to defend the title to<br />

that particular IP. However, the intricacies of these developments<br />

is in the commercial rig agreements that you put together so you<br />

can govern contractually how that IP is actually shared and if it<br />

They want the next contract?<br />

They want the next contract, so they would maybe be more<br />

amendable on sharing the ownership structure of the IP. Those<br />

issues become very interesting. The additional challenge also is<br />

that sometimes you enter into these agreements and you put<br />

something in place for the licence but operationally when you are<br />

on the ground and you start adjusting the IP and nobody regulates<br />

this… it wasn’t in the contract, someone will say. Legal challenges<br />

arise from that if there is a dispute scenario. These are some of the<br />

things that mining companies and technology companies working<br />

with mining companies have to start thinking about.<br />

And are you trying to help both parties navigate<br />

that before it becomes a problem?<br />

Absolutely. There are certain things that we will ask upfront<br />

before the commencement of the negotiations or the drafting of<br />

the document. What is this IP about? Will it be developed? Is it<br />

changeable and who owns the developed IP? A lot of technology<br />

relating to what a mining company would be interested in relates<br />

to the IP and the adapting of the IP.<br />

Is our legislation keeping up or is it still evolving<br />

with this merging of the two sectors?<br />

With respect to IP legislation per se there is obviously<br />

legislation that protects the ownership of the IP, the rights of<br />

parties who have developed IP. You can register your IP and<br />

you can create a patent around your IP, you can have natural<br />

copyright in things that you have created. The IP laws are not<br />

new, but they haven’t been adapted to deal with issues like<br />

who owns co-mingled IP for example. By that I mean IP that’s<br />

been developed collectively.<br />

PHOTO MIDDLE: Thungela Resources / PHOTO RIGHT: Exxaro www.opportunityonline.co.za | 51


There is a body of jurisprudence around this and there’s a significant<br />

amount of case law that guides us but a lot depends on how you<br />

contractually create the framework.<br />


Is there not a danger that new technologies<br />

will reduce employment?<br />

There are other considerations that are really relevant in our<br />

South African market and in the context of an African market.<br />

Where you have efficiency technologies being introduced,<br />

mining companies have to balance the need to invest in<br />

these technologies with the need to balance the ability to<br />

keep people employed in a sector in an economy where jobs<br />

are so relevant. It is a big issue. The mining sector contributes a<br />

significant amount to the South African GDP and a significant<br />

portion of that mining sector is labour intensive. There is a<br />

significant population in South Africa that relies on that<br />

employment. I think the mining industry employs something<br />

like a half a million people across South Africa and the same<br />

issue applies in other African countries. Every developing<br />

country has the need to ensure that they are creating as many<br />

jobs as possible.<br />

The mining sector must balance investment in technology with the<br />

social imperative to employ people.<br />

Is Hogan Lovells also in the business of<br />

advising on that kind of thing?<br />

We would be able to advise on the employment issues around<br />

these aspects. From a legal perspective we can navigate these<br />

issues depending on the client, but this is more a commercial<br />

consideration for mining companies who are looking to invest in<br />

technology or put capex into technology. They’ve got to balance<br />

the need to keep people employed versus the need to be more<br />

technologically efficient.<br />

In some markets, that need to keep people<br />

employed is actually legislated, isn’t it?<br />

Correct and our market is one of them. You also have to think about<br />

the fact that a significant proportion of the workforce in the mining<br />

industry is unionised. It is a massive drive for government to ensure<br />

that these jobs are available and that they are decent paying<br />

jobs and that the health and safety of workers is being taken<br />

care of. Mining companies have a slew of legislation and a raft of<br />

requirements to deal with in terms of ensuring that their people<br />

are safe because there are safety measures, health protocols and<br />

standards that are applied to wages and living conditions. These<br />

are all covered in our mining legislation and in our labour relations<br />

act. You have to balance that with the need to be commercially<br />

profitable as a mining company; it may well be profitable to invest<br />

a chunk of capital in a machine that’s going to do the work of what<br />

a thousand employees are doing; it’s more efficient, you don’t have<br />

to pay medical aid, you don’t have to give severance, you don’t<br />

have to give housing. Balancing those needs in our market has to<br />

be taken into account, and that’s the challenge for most African<br />

governments and most African mining companies.<br />

Do you have periodic workshops with senior mining<br />

executives that you might be consulting with?<br />

We do and it depends on what’s topical at the time and what<br />

is relevant to our clients. We have a very sophisticated mining<br />

industry so these issues are not alien to the executive teams of<br />

these mining companies. They are constantly balancing that<br />

need to increase stakeholder value. In terms of our legislation,<br />

we’re supposed to be looking at the benefit for stakeholder<br />

community and that stakeholder community includes employees,<br />

the communities within which you mine, your shareholders,<br />

of course, and it also includes the environment. The mining<br />

companies have a responsibility to look at these issues more<br />

holistically than just economically.<br />

And you’re there to guide them, as it were?<br />

Yes, we are there to guide them.<br />

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

PHOTO TOP: Anglo American / PHOTO BOTTOM: Implats


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 />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 53


Tech trends for ‘24<br />

Small business owners are embracing the cloud, according to Xero’s State of Small Business<br />

report. James Bergin, Executive GM, Technology Strategy and Integration at Xero,<br />

describes the five top tech trends likely to have a big impact on small business.<br />

The pace of technological change is accelerating and it's<br />

reshaping just about every aspect of how we live, work<br />

and play. While Xero’s Future Focus research reveals small<br />

businesses are more optimistic and even intrigued about<br />

the potential of emerging technologies than focussing on doom<br />

and gloom, many wish there was more education and resources<br />

to navigate a rapidly changing world. With small business owners<br />

looking to make technology a digital stepping stone for their<br />

businesses’ success in 2024, Xero’s South African State of Small<br />

Business (SOSB) report suggests that many small-business owners<br />

are embracing the cloud, with 69% using cloud-based technology<br />

in their business because of the flexibility it offers to work from<br />

anywhere and its ability to streamline and improve operations and<br />

collaborate with their advisors and financial processes. The report<br />

further revealed that small-business owners are willing to invest in<br />

technology skills, with 86% investing in online or in-person training<br />

courses to increase knowledge and improve tech skills. To help small<br />

businesses and their advisors plan ahead, it is essential to separate<br />

the hype from reality — to uncover the top five technology trends<br />

that may impact the small business landscape in 2024.<br />

Trend #2: The rise of the<br />

augmented, conversational UI<br />

The promise of conversational user interface<br />

has been around for a while with Siri and<br />

Alexa, but it’s always been functional and<br />

instructional, never truly conversational.<br />

ChatGPT is not a better search engine<br />

but it is becoming one of the first real,<br />

usable and intelligible chatbots. In 2024,<br />

large language model-powered tools like<br />

ChatGPT will continue to revolutionise<br />

human-computer interaction through the<br />

rise of conversational chatbots that are able<br />

to interact with customers. The ability for<br />

chatbots to have real-time conversations<br />

in any language to customers 24/7 and<br />

perform certain tasks at their request<br />

will unlock new opportunities for small<br />

businesses looking to handle customer<br />

inquiries or expand into new markets.<br />

Trend #1: The AI-augmented creativity boom<br />

2023 saw generative AI burst into the mainstream, and while<br />

language models are not necessarily new to those within the<br />

tech industry the interactivity and accessibility of AI through<br />

tools like ChatGPT signalled the biggest leap in the technology’s<br />

capabilities, helping businesses to create content easier and<br />

faster. In 2024, we could well see a “creativity boom” where<br />

AI models go beyond statistical similarity and come up with<br />

new designs or products that are far better than the ones that<br />

exist today. Continuing in its ability to augment (rather than<br />

replace) human intelligence, AI could truly become the co-pilot<br />

for business owners, enabling them to set up the requirements<br />

such as manufacturing processes, helping with the automation<br />

and reporting of certain financial and administrative tasks<br />

and filtering a myriad of new ideas. The drawbacks around<br />

misinformation, copyright and bias will also need to be<br />

worked through in 2024, as the push for the commercially safe,<br />

transparent and ethical use of these AI systems comes to a head<br />

in jurisdictions around the world.<br />

James Bergin<br />

54 | www.opportunityonline.co.za


Trend #3: The metaverse finds<br />

a new source of power<br />

The idea of living and working entirely in a virtual world<br />

as so often shown in the movies still feels fanciful, even<br />

comical. Yet advances in 2023 in the technologies that<br />

underpin the concept of a metaverse, particularly<br />

in augmented and virtual reality, and significant<br />

investment by large technology companies, has<br />

brought some aspects of this ambitious vision closer<br />

to reality. Will it be the breakthrough technology of<br />

2024? It seems unlikely to reach full maturity, but a<br />

version of the metaverse will be the next iteration of the<br />

Internet, providing immersive, blended and connected<br />

experiences for everything from entertainment to<br />

education to virtual community building, and that it will<br />

introduce new concepts of ownership of digital assets.<br />

Many of these concepts will continue to evolve and<br />

emerge in 2024, with more small businesses innovating<br />

and exploring this space as some started to do in 2023.<br />

Trend #4: Carbon accounting the<br />

next frontier for compliance<br />

We are well into the critical decade of climate action<br />

and pressure will begin to mount on governments and<br />

industries to reduce their carbon emissions to meet<br />

the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s<br />

(IPCC) 2030 deadline. At the same time, the release<br />

of the sustainability standards by the International<br />

Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) could see<br />

reporting on carbon emissions no longer be optional<br />

for businesses. The ISSB standards could very well<br />

bring in a new era of compliance and become the basis<br />

of accounting standards in 2024. To avoid being locked<br />

out of corporate supply chains or providing inaccurate<br />

and misleading information on environmental or<br />

sustainability practices, small businesses will need to<br />

ensure they are accurately calculating and tracking<br />

their carbon emissions each year. The integration of<br />

carbon-accounting software into existing accounting<br />

platforms will see carbon accounting become an<br />

extension of financial accounting and reporting<br />

practices for small businesses.<br />

Trend #5: The rise of the super<br />

ecosystem, powered by connectivity<br />

Connectivity between new and traditional players<br />

within the payments ecosystem is bringing in a<br />

new era of digital payment experiences for small<br />

businesses. Today, it allows the real-time validation of<br />

e-invoices to help small businesses send bills over the<br />

Internet and get paid faster. Xero’s research reveals<br />

that late payments cost small businesses time and<br />

resources, with 92% of SMEs revealing that chasing<br />

down late payments takes them on average one to<br />

two months, stressing the fact that more needs to be<br />

done to reduce the burden of late payments.<br />

A super ecosystem, powered by connectivity,<br />

will ensure the seamless transmission of data<br />

between banks and third-party providers to<br />

enable instant access to financial information<br />

and services, thus reducing the burden of late<br />

payments so that the country can effectively<br />

unlock the potential of small businesses.<br />

In 2024, global platforms like Xero, Apple, Amazon,<br />

Google and Microsoft will continue to make their<br />

products work better together. Why? Because<br />

people are tired of using lots of different apps for<br />

different things. They want everything in one place,<br />

working smoothly together. Rather than the rise of<br />

the “super-app”, we’ll see the power of the “super<br />

ecosystem”; the interconnectedness of financial<br />

services that make it easier to pay bills, transfer<br />

money and manage finances together in one spot.<br />

Small steps to an exciting future<br />

While some of these tech trends might take years,<br />

or decades even, to realise the full scope of their<br />

impact on the world, the first steps into that future<br />

are being taken now. In 2024, it would be a good<br />

idea for small businesses and their advisors to<br />

continue to keep an eye on developments in these<br />

five trends, as they will no doubt play a major role<br />

in shaping the future themselves.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 55

MICE<br />

A surge in hybrid and<br />

remote work is fuelling<br />

demand for exceptional venues<br />

Nine things to look for when choosing a conference venue at a time when coming together is even more<br />

of a special occasion than it used to be, pre-Covid. Premier Hotels & Resorts lays out the most important<br />

factors to consider when booking a conference or exhibition venue that ticks all the new boxes.<br />

In the wake of the remarkable shift towards hybrid and remote<br />

work arrangements across the world, the quest for extraordinary<br />

conference venues has reached new heights, with a focus on<br />

fostering connections among colleagues and stimulating<br />

surroundings taking centre stage.<br />

The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE)<br />

sector has changed in the aftermath of Covid and organisers need<br />

to be aware of the new demands that are being made of them.<br />

Amid this evolution, the significance of inspiring surroundings has<br />

taken centre stage, as companies seek innovative alternatives to<br />

the conventional office setting. The need for conference facilities<br />

that offer seamless, stress-free and one-of-a-kind in-person<br />

meetings has become paramount. A stand-out player in the<br />

realm of being able to host exceptional conference and corporate<br />

events is Premier Hotels & Resorts, which has a presence in some<br />

of South Africa’s most sought-after places. Renowned regions such<br />

as Drakensberg, Kruger National Park, OR Tambo and East London<br />

have emerged as alluring choices for conferences owing to their<br />

picturesque landscapes and well-equipped conference facilities.<br />

Here’s what to look for when selecting a conference venue:<br />

Indoor vs outdoor opportunities<br />

The dynamics of conferences have shifted dramatically since the<br />

Covid-19 pandemic. Companies are now in search of venues that<br />

offer a blend of environments, moving away from traditional<br />

classroom-style setups.<br />

Smaller and flexible meeting rooms, like this one at Premier Hotel<br />

The Winkler in Mpumalanga, are becoming more popular with<br />

conference planners.<br />

Flexibility<br />

The trend has shifted from large theatre-style settings to smaller,<br />

more intimate group sessions. Clients increasingly demand<br />

versatile seating arrangements and breakout areas tailored to<br />

the specific needs of each conference or team-building activity.<br />

Adaptable scheduling and time-keeping also plays a crucial role<br />

in accommodating the changing requirements of conferences.<br />

Equipment<br />

The functionality of technology is now paramount. A robust<br />

audio-visual setup and high-speed uninterrupted WiFi are vital.<br />

Smart TVs, projectors, audio setups, connectivity cables and ample<br />

plug points are must-haves. Conference units must host built-in<br />

microphones and video cameras to facilitate seamless connectivity<br />

through platforms like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Tech<br />

professionals must be on standby to address any troubleshooting<br />

issues that may arise.<br />

Culinary experiences<br />

Nutritious fare is vital to maintaining focus and productivity<br />

throughout a conference which is why standard menus are<br />

falling away. This has led chefs to move towards offering a pickand-choose<br />

menu of superior culinary offerings that cater to<br />

diverse dietary requirements. Incorporating restaurants, gourmet<br />

catering services and wine tastings into conference programmes<br />

can enhance attendees’ experience, providing an opportunity to<br />

savour the region’s delightful cuisine and sample world-class wines<br />

during breaks or networking sessions.<br />

Unique and captivating settings<br />

When it comes to a venue’s natural beauty this is an easy tick-box.<br />

Majestic mountain ranges and picturesque landscapes create<br />

a captivating backdrop for conferences. A venue’s layout and<br />

ambience has a significant impact on a conference’s success.<br />

Research indicates a notable correlation between workplace<br />

ambience, employee performance and productivity. Adequate<br />

meeting rooms that can accommodate the conference’s size and<br />

requirements are vital. Venues that provide ample natural light<br />

and fresh air foster collaboration, creating a happier and more<br />

effective team.<br />

56 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

The Premier Resort Sani Pass is located in the unique and captivating<br />

setting of the southern Drakensberg, easily fulfilling one of the most<br />

important criteria for a good modern conference venue.<br />

Premier Hotel The Winkler at night.<br />

Team-building activities<br />

In addition to the allure of exclusive conference venues and their<br />

amenities, many venues offer a range of team-building activities<br />

that can be seamlessly integrated into conference schedules.<br />

These experiences foster camaraderie, encourage collaboration<br />

and provide memorable moments for conference attendees.<br />

The “Bleisure” trend<br />

Most conference venues are typically located in proximity to<br />

other tourist attractions and activities such as wildlife reserves,<br />

golf courses, hiking trails or historical landmarks. These allow<br />

conference attendees to combine business with leisure, providing<br />

opportunities for relaxation and exploration during their stay and<br />

enhancing the overall conference experience.<br />

On-site accommodation<br />

For multi-day conferences, on-site accommodation is a significant<br />

advantage. Premier Hotels & Resorts offers preferential rates<br />

for conference attendees, providing rooms and suites equipped<br />

with modern amenities such as designated workspaces and<br />

complimentary high-speed WiFi.<br />

Location<br />

Choosing a conference venue with safe and easy access to public<br />

transportation, along with nearby quality accommodation, is<br />

essential for convenience. All Premier Hotels locations are wellsuited<br />

for colleagues and teams travelling from near and far,<br />

offering high-end facilities for conducting business in absolute<br />

comfort. The combination of scenic beauty, unique event spaces,<br />

exceptional facilities, attentive service, culinary delights and<br />

immersive experiences have combined to make Premier Hotels &<br />

Resorts a popular choice as a conference destination.<br />

About Premier Hotels<br />

Premier Hotels & Resorts is one of South Africa’s leading<br />

independent hospitality groups, operating a portfolio of 24<br />

properties. The award-winning hospitality company has over 30<br />

years’ experience developing and managing hotels and conference<br />

centres, with a proven reputation for delivering superior results<br />

through forward-focused ingenuity and exceptional asset<br />

management. The range of properties within the portfolio<br />

offers comfortable accommodation and superb facilities as well<br />

as relaxed dining options, combined with convenient locations<br />

ideal to easily access the surrounding attractions or key sites of<br />

importance in the area.<br />

For more information, visit www.premierhotels.co.za<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 57


South African business<br />

ranks infrastructure<br />

blackouts as biggest risk<br />

The Allianz Risk Barometer 2024 asseses the top risks to business in South Africa.<br />

Critical infrastructure blackouts, cyber security and disruptions to business<br />

operations such as supply chains top the list of the concerns.<br />

Cyber incidents such as ransomware attacks, data<br />

breaches and IT disruptions are the biggest worry for<br />

companies globally in 2024, according to the Allianz<br />

Risk Barometer. The closely interlinked peril of business<br />

interruption ranks second. Natural catastrophes (up from #6 to #3<br />

year-on-year), fire, explosion (up from #9 to #6), and political risks<br />

and violence (up from #10 to #8) are the biggest risers in the latest<br />

compilation of the top global business risks, based on the insights<br />

of more than 3 000 risk management professionals.<br />

Critical infrastructure blackouts top South<br />

Africa business risk for 2024<br />

Critical infrastructure blackouts have emerged as the number one<br />

risk for businesses in South Africa for the second consecutive year,<br />

highlighting the severe impact of power outages and the failure<br />

of essential infrastructure such as ports, railways, roads on the<br />

economy and businesses. The closely interlinked peril of energy<br />

crisis has climbed to the fifth position, up from sixth place in 2023.<br />

Cyber incidents and business interruption continue to hold the<br />

second and third spots, respectively.<br />

"South Africa's business community must remain vigilant in<br />

the face of critical infrastructure blackouts. The persistent threat<br />

of power outages and infrastructure failures poses significant<br />

challenges to businesses, disrupting supply chains and impacting<br />

the overall economy. The report underscores the urgent need<br />

for investment in infrastructure resilience and the development<br />

of contingency plans to mitigate the potential consequences<br />

of blackouts. By proactively addressing these risks, businesses<br />

can enhance their ability to withstand disruptions and ensure<br />

continuity of operations,” said Thusang Mahlangu, CEO of Allianz<br />

Commercial South Africa.<br />

Allianz Commercial CEO Petros Papanikolaou comments on<br />

the findings: “The top risks and major risers in this year’s Allianz<br />

Risk Barometer reflect the big issues facing companies around the<br />

world right now – digitalisation, climate change and an uncertain<br />

geopolitical environment. Many of these risks are already hitting<br />

home, with extreme weather, ransomware attacks and regional<br />

conflicts expected to test the resilience of supply chains and<br />

business models further in 2024.<br />

Brokers and customers of insurance companies should be aware<br />

and adjust their insurance covers accordingly.”<br />

Large corporates, mid-size and smaller businesses are united by<br />

the same risk concerns – they are all mostly worried about cyber,<br />

business interruption and natural catastrophes. However, the<br />

resilience gap between large and smaller companies is widening,<br />

as risk awareness among larger organisations has grown since the<br />

pandemic with a notable drive to upgrade resilience, the report<br />

notes. Conversely, smaller businesses often lack the time and<br />

resources to identify and effectively prepare for a wider range of<br />

risk scenarios and, as a result, take longer to get the business back<br />

up and running after an unexpected incident.<br />

Trends driving cyber activity in 2024<br />

Cyber incidents (36% of overall responses) rank as the most<br />

important risk globally for the third year in a row – for the first<br />

time by a clear margin (5%). Cyber incidents retains #2 position<br />

in South Africa. It is the top peril in 17 countries and regions,<br />

including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Africa and the<br />

Middle East, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and the US. A data<br />

breach is seen as the most concerning cyber threat for Allianz<br />

Risk Barometer respondents (59%) followed by attacks on critical<br />

infrastructure and physical assets (53%). The recent increase in<br />

ransomware attacks – 2023 saw a worrying resurgence in activity,<br />

with insurance claims activity up by more than 50% compared with<br />

2022 – ranks third (53%).<br />

“Cyber criminals are exploring ways to use new technologies<br />

such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and<br />

accelerate attacks, creating more effective malware and phishing.<br />

The growing number of incidents caused by poor cyber security,<br />

in mobile devices in particular, a shortage of millions of cyber<br />

security professionals, and the threat facing smaller companies<br />

because of their reliance on IT outsourcing are also expected to<br />

drive cyber activity in 2024,” explains Scott Sayce, Global Head<br />

of Cyber, Allianz Commercial.<br />

Business interruption and natural catastrophes<br />

Despite an easing of post-pandemic supply chain disruption<br />

in 2023, business interruption (31%) retains its position as<br />

58 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

the second-biggest threat<br />

in the 2024 survey. Business<br />

interruption retains #3 position<br />

in South Africa and ranks in the<br />

top five risks in Ghana, Kenya,<br />

Senegal, Uganda and Africa and the<br />

Middle East. This result reflects the<br />

interconnectedness in an increasingly<br />

volatile global business environment, as<br />

well as a strong reliance on supply chains<br />

for critical products or services. Improving<br />

business continuity management, identifying<br />

supply chain bottlenecks and developing<br />

alternative suppliers continue to be key risk<br />

management priorities for companies in 2024. Natural<br />

catastrophes (26%) is one of the biggest movers at #3, up<br />

three positions. 2023 was a record-breaking year on several<br />

fronts. It was the hottest year since records began, while insured<br />

losses exceeded $100-billion for the fourth consecutive year,<br />

driven by the highest-ever damage bill of $60-billion from severe<br />

thunderstorms. In South Africa, the impact of natural catastrophes<br />

was particularly severe, propelling it from seventh to fourth place<br />

in the global ranking. The country experienced devastating floods<br />

that resulted in casualties and extensive damage to homes,<br />

businesses and critical infrastructure.<br />

Credit: Sky Pixels/ Wikimedia Commons Credit: Eskom<br />

Regional differences and risk risers and fallers<br />

Climate change (18%) may be a non-mover year-on-year at #7 but<br />

is among the top three business risks in countries such as Brazil,<br />

Greece, Italy, Turkey and Mexico. The report reveals that South<br />

Africa experienced a slight shift in risk perception, with climate<br />

change dropping from fourth to seventh spot in 2023. Physical<br />

damage to corporate assets from more frequent and severe<br />

extreme weather events are a key threat. The utility, energy and<br />

industrial sectors are among the most exposed. In addition, netzero<br />

transition risks and liability risks are expected to increase in<br />

future as companies invest in new, largely untested low-carbon<br />

technologies to transform their business models. Unsurprisingly,<br />

given ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 59

Credit: FLY:D on Unsplash<br />

Top 10 risks in South Africa<br />

Rank Risk Percent<br />

1 Criticial infrastructure blackouts 40%<br />

2 Cyber incidents 39%<br />

3 Business interruption 35%<br />

4 Natural catastrophes 26%<br />

5 Energy crisis 26%<br />

6 Political risks and violence 20%<br />

7 Climate change 18%<br />

8 Fire, explosion 14%<br />

9 Theft, fraud, corruption 11%<br />

10 Changes in legislation and regulation 10%<br />

Source: Allianz Commercial. Figures represent how often<br />

a risk was selected as a percentage of all responses.<br />

Figures don’t add up to 100% as up to three risks could be<br />

selected.<br />

tensions between China and the US, political risks and violence<br />

(14%) is up to #8 from #10. The risk moved down one place to #6<br />

in South Africa. 2024 is also a super-election year, where as much<br />

as 50% of the world’s population could go to the polls, including<br />

in Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal, South Africa, India, Russia, the US<br />

and the UK. Dissatisfaction with the potential outcomes, coupled<br />

with general economic uncertainty, the high cost of living and<br />

growing disinformation fuelled by social media, means societal<br />

polarisation is expected to increase, triggering more social unrest<br />

in many countries. However, there is some hope among Allianz Risk<br />

Barometer respondents that 2024 could see the wild economic<br />

ups and down experienced since the Covid-19 shock settle down,<br />

resulting in macroeconomic developments (19%), falling to #5 from<br />

#3. Yet economic growth outlooks remain subdued; just over 2%<br />

globally in 2024, according to Allianz Research.<br />

“But this lacklustre growth is a necessary evil: high inflation<br />

rates will finally be a thing of the past,” says Ludovic Subran, Chief<br />

Economist at Allianz. “This will give central banks some room to<br />

manoeuvre. Lower interest rates are likely in the second half of the<br />

year. Not a second too late, as stimulus cannot be expected from<br />

fiscal policy. A caveat is the considerable number of elections in 2024<br />

and the risk of further upheavals depending on certain outcomes.”<br />

In a global context, the shortage of skilled workforce (12%) is seen<br />

as a lower risk than in 2023, dropping from #8 to #10. However,<br />

businesses in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and Australia<br />

identify it as a top-five business risk. Given there is still record low<br />

unemployment in many countries around the globe, companies are<br />

looking to fill more jobs than there are people available to fill them.<br />

IT or data experts are seen as the most challenging to find, making<br />

this issue a critical aspect in the fight against cyber crime.<br />

About Allianz Commercial<br />

Allianz Commercial is the centre of expertise and global line of<br />

Allianz Group for insuring mid-sized businesses, large enterprises<br />

and specialist risks. Customers include the world’s largest<br />

consumer brands, financial institutions and industry players, the<br />

global aviation and shipping industry as well as family-owned<br />

and medium-sized enterprises which are the backbone of the<br />

economy. Allianz also covers unique risks such as offshore wind<br />

parks, infrastructure projects or Hollywood film productions.<br />

Powered by the employees, financial strength and network of<br />

the world’s #1 insurance brand, as ranked by Interbrand, the<br />

company works together to help customers prepare for what’s<br />

ahead: they trust us to provide a wide range of traditional and<br />

alternative risk transfer solutions, outstanding risk consulting<br />

and multinational services, as well as seamless claims handling.<br />

The trade name Allianz Commercial brings together the large<br />

corporate insurance business of Allianz Global Corporate &<br />

Specialty (AGCS) and the commercial insurance business of<br />

national Allianz Property & Casualty entities serving mid-sized<br />

companies. We are present in over 200 countries and territories<br />

either through our own teams or the Allianz Group network and<br />

partners. In 2022, the integrated business of Allianz Commercial<br />

generated more than €19-billion gross premium globally.<br />

60 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

SACCI Business Confidence Index – March 2024<br />

Economic data<br />

The SACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI)<br />

2020 = 100<br />

Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024<br />

January 112.9 115.3 <strong>109</strong>.9 106.6 <strong>109</strong>.2 108.8 112.9 112.3<br />

February 110.4 114.3 108.0 107.2 <strong>109</strong>.0 112.0 111.9 114.7<br />

March 108.4 112.8 106.1 103.9 108.7 110.5 111.3 114.7<br />

April <strong>109</strong>.7 111.0 108.3 89.9 <strong>109</strong>.5 108.3 107.1<br />

May 107.7 108.7 107.5 81.0 112.1 103.2 106.9<br />

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) June regularly <strong>109</strong>.7 publishes 108.3 107.9 economic 94.1 111.2 data 108.5 108.8<br />

July 110.2 <strong>109</strong>.5 106.4 95.7 107.7 110.3 107.3<br />

August 103.6 104.6 103.0 99.2 106.2 105.6 108.6<br />

relating to business confidence and trade, the SACCI Business Confidence Index and the Trade Conditions<br />

September 107.5 107.9 106.8 99.1 105.2 110.9 108.2<br />

October 107.4 110.8 106.0 106.4 <strong>109</strong>.7 <strong>109</strong>.4 108.6<br />

Survey. As of 2023, SACCI has been collaborating with the November Bureau of <strong>109</strong>.9 Market 111.1 Research 107.2 108.0 (BMR) 107.3 in producing<br />

110.9 111.5<br />

December 111.4 110.1 107.6 <strong>109</strong>.0 106.4 117.3 112.1<br />

the Small Business Growth Index. For more statistics, see www.sacci.org.za and www.bmr.co.za<br />

Average <strong>109</strong>.1 110.4 107.1 100.0 108.5 <strong>109</strong>.6 <strong>109</strong>.6<br />


Persistent business confidence<br />

SACCI’s Business Confidence Index (BCI) remained steady at 114.7 in<br />

both February and March 2024. It has been on an upward trend since<br />

November, marking the highest level for the BCI since January 2018,<br />

which coincided with the election of new leadership within the ruling<br />

party. The month-on-month movement between February and March<br />

2024 indicates a stabilisation of business confidence at an improved<br />

level. The notable short-term positive influences were observed in global<br />

trade and foreign tourist service-related activities. The enhanced BCI<br />

suggests a business environment that remains stable to positive, despite<br />

external factors and local economic challenges. This positive shift reflects<br />

businesses' adaptability to adverse circumstances, partly attributed to<br />

positive international economic and business relations involving South<br />

Africa. Despite South Africa’s foreign political relations, international<br />

economic SACCI and Trade business Conditions Survey engagements February 2024 have significantly contributed<br />

to the country's South African economic Chamber of well-being. Commerce and Critical Industry to achieving economic<br />

growth is maintaining Trade Conditions adequate Survey levels of capital stock and encouraging<br />

continued fixed investment. February However, 2024 domestic savings in South Africa fall<br />

short of financing the necessary fixed Sales pricesinvestment to expand the capital<br />

Trade Conditions Survey<br />

90<br />

80<br />

Six month expected<br />

stock. In 2023, domestic Current savings 85 only accounted for 14% of GDP, leaving a<br />

Present<br />

70<br />

Six month expected<br />

80<br />

75<br />

60 considerable shortfall of 11% of GDP to achieve a 25% fixed investment to<br />

70<br />

50<br />

65<br />

GDP ratio. This financing gap 60 must be supplemented by foreign investment<br />

40<br />

55<br />

30<br />

50<br />

due to South Africa's inadequate domestic saving performance.<br />

45<br />

% Positive<br />

20<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jun-15<br />

Nov-15<br />

Apr-16<br />

Sep-16<br />

Feb-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Dec-17<br />

May-18<br />

Oct-18<br />

Mar-19<br />

Aug-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jun-20<br />

Nov-20<br />

Apr-21<br />

Sep-21<br />

Feb-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Dec-22<br />

May-23<br />

Oct-23<br />

% Positive<br />

40<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jun-15<br />

Nov-15<br />

Apr-16<br />

Sep-16<br />

Feb-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Dec-17<br />

May-18<br />

Oct-18<br />

Mar-19<br />

Aug-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jun-20<br />

Nov-20<br />

Apr-21<br />

Sep-21<br />

Feb-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Dec-22<br />

May-23<br />

Oct-23<br />

Current Trade Conditions Index (TAI)*<br />

Activity Sep-23 Oct-23 Nov-23 Dec-23 Jan-24 Feb-24<br />

Sales volumes 30 30 37 33 26 34<br />

New orders 30 32 37 37 18 25<br />

Backlog on orders received 27 27 43 43 32 16<br />

Supplier deliveries 39 43 43 40 29 31<br />

Inventory level 48 50 57 50 47 25<br />

Selling prices 52 55 60 60 53 38<br />

Input prices 75 68 73 70 66 56<br />

Employment 32 34 33 40 34 38<br />

TAI 33 35 39 38 28 31<br />

TAI seasonally adjusted 34 31 43 48 27 31<br />

Note: The indices are diffusion indices and vary between 0 and 100. At 50 an index reflects<br />

a 'no change' situation and above or below 50 implies a positive or a negative reading<br />

depending on the trade component.<br />

* The TAI is the composite index of sales volumes, new orders, supplier deliveries,<br />

inventory levels and employment.<br />

Expected Trade Conditions Index (TEI)*<br />

Activity Sep-23 Oct-23 Nov-23 Dec-23 Jan-24 Feb-24<br />

Sales volumes 61 55 47 47 42 50<br />

New orders 64 57 43 40 47 44<br />

Backlog on orders received 34 32 27 27 29 28<br />

Supplier deliveries 55 50 40 40 42 44<br />

Inventory level 55 55 50 47 45 34<br />

Selling prices 66 68 60 67 58 56<br />

Input prices 77 80 87 87 76 72<br />

Employment 48 45 40 43 32 34<br />

TEI 58 53 44 43 42 43<br />

TEI seasonally adjusted 58 51 43 50 39 44<br />

* The TEI is the composite index of expectations on sales volumes, new orders, supplier<br />

deliveries, inventory levels and employment.<br />

The expectations are for six months ahead<br />


160<br />

2024 starts off with tough trade conditions<br />

140<br />

Index<br />

180<br />

160<br />

140<br />

120<br />

100<br />

80<br />

60<br />

SACCI Business Confidence Index<br />

Jan-10<br />

Jul-10<br />

Jan-11<br />

Jul-11<br />

Jan-12<br />

Jul-12<br />

Jan-13<br />

Jul-13<br />

Jan-14<br />

Jul-14<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jul-15<br />

Jan-16<br />

Jul-16<br />

Jan-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Jan-18<br />

Jul-18<br />

Jan-19<br />

Jul-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jul-20<br />

Jan-21<br />

Jul-21<br />

Jan-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Jan-23<br />

Jul-23<br />

Jan-24<br />

2<br />

Downward phase of the business cycle<br />

BCI 2020 = 100<br />

<br />

The 40 SACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI) 2020=100<br />

30<br />

Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024<br />

20<br />

January 112.9 115.3 <strong>109</strong>.9 106.6 <strong>109</strong>.2 108.8 112.9 112.3<br />

February 110.4 114.3 108.0 107.2 <strong>109</strong>.0 112.0 111.9 114.7<br />

March 10<br />

108.4 112.8 106.1 103.9 108.7 110.5 111.3 114.7<br />

April <strong>109</strong>.7 111.0 108.3 89.9 <strong>109</strong>.5 108.3 107.1<br />

May 0 107.7 108.7 107.5 81.0 112.1 103.2 106.9<br />

June <strong>109</strong>.7 108.3 107.9 94.1 111.2 108.5 108.8<br />

July -10 110.2 <strong>109</strong>.5 106.4 95.7 107.7 110.3 107.3<br />

August 103.6 104.6 103.0 99.2 106.2 105.6 108.6<br />

September 107.5 107.9 106.8 99.1 105.2 110.9 108.2<br />

-20 October 107.4 110.8 106.0 106.4 <strong>109</strong>.7 <strong>109</strong>.4 108.6<br />

November <strong>109</strong>.9 111.1 107.2 108.0 107.3 110.9 111.5<br />

December -30 111.4 110.1 107.6 <strong>109</strong>.0 106.4 117.3 112.1<br />

Index points<br />

SACCI Business Confidence Index – March 2024<br />

The SACCI BCI Business year-on-year Confidence movement Index (BCI)<br />

2020 = 100<br />

Jan-10<br />

Jul-10<br />

Jan-11<br />

Jul-11<br />

Jan-12<br />

Jul-12<br />

Jan-13<br />

Jul-13<br />

Jan-14<br />

Jul-14<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jul-15<br />

Jan-16<br />

Jul-16<br />

Jan-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Jan-18<br />

Jul-18<br />

Jan-19<br />

Jul-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jul-20<br />

Jan-21<br />

Jul-21<br />

Jan-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Jan-23<br />

Jul-23<br />

Jan-24<br />

Average <strong>109</strong>.1 110.4 107.1 100.0 108.5 <strong>109</strong>.6 <strong>109</strong>.6<br />

Index<br />

180<br />

SACCI Business Confidence Index<br />

Downward phase of the business cycle<br />

BCI 2020 = 100<br />

The results from the February 2024 Survey of Trade Conditions by SACCI<br />

120<br />

100<br />

confirm a rough trade environment that began to deteriorate since October<br />

2023. Although there was a minor improvement between January and<br />

80<br />

<br />

60<br />

February 2024, 69% of respondents still experienced trade conditions as<br />

Jan-10<br />

Jul-10<br />

Jan-11<br />

Jul-11<br />

Jan-12<br />

Jul-12<br />

Jan-13<br />

Jul-13<br />

Jan-14<br />

Jul-14<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jul-15<br />

Jan-16<br />

Jul-16<br />

Jan-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Jan-18<br />

Jul-18<br />

Jan-19<br />

Jul-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jul-20<br />

Jan-21<br />

Jul-21<br />

Jan-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Jan-23<br />

Jul-23<br />

Jan-24<br />

negative. Seasonal factors did not play a significant role in the deterioration. All<br />

elements of trade improved in February 2024 though it was from the historic<br />

40<br />

low base in January 2024. New orders also showed a slight improvement in<br />

30<br />

February. Input cost slowed further with only 56% of respondents recording<br />

20<br />

rising input costs. The SA Reserve Bank may possibly consider easing its<br />

10<br />

Index points<br />

SACCI BCI year-on-year movement<br />

monetary stance on interest rates. A number of trade activities are touched<br />

0<br />

by the cumbersome trade conditions. Logistical problems at harbours and rail<br />

-10<br />

transport have limited merchandise global trade and contributed to the more<br />

-20<br />

difficult trade conditions. Tourist services -30 are still in the recovery phase while<br />

Jan-10<br />

Jul-10<br />

Jan-11<br />

Jul-11<br />

Jan-12<br />

Jul-12<br />

Jan-13<br />

Jul-13<br />

Jan-14<br />

Jul-14<br />

Jan-15<br />

Jul-15<br />

Jan-16<br />

Jul-16<br />

Jan-17<br />

Jul-17<br />

Jan-18<br />

Jul-18<br />

Jan-19<br />

Jul-19<br />

Jan-20<br />

Jul-20<br />

Jan-21<br />

Jul-21<br />

Jan-22<br />

Jul-22<br />

Jan-23<br />

Jul-23<br />

Jan-24<br />

new vehicle sales, although lower, appear to have stabilised. Lower interest<br />

2<br />

rates could help to stabilise retail trade activity and enhance household<br />

spending. Electricity supply, however, continues to affect trade conditions.<br />

www.opportunityonline.co.za | 61

20-23 August 2024<br />

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