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GovLov Conference 2022


“When communication is effective, it leaves all parties involved satisfied and feeling accomplished. By delivering messages clearly, there is no room for misunderstanding or alteration of messages, which decreases the potential for conflict.” – Source

With that been said, this marks the 1st Annual GovLov Conference by Intelligence Transfer Centre, which will be held on 20, 21 and 22 July 2022 at CSIR, Pretoria.

This conference aims to address issues and challenges that affect clear and purposeful communication that is needed for both the internal and external government sector, while shedding light on the current best practices that government has in place.

We will be discussing the most effective ways that government can utilize to engage with the public, manage their brand at the same time, and work together with the media to impart relevant information timeously to the wider community. With vast experience in their respective fields, our thought leaders and expert speakers will be speaking on finding solutions to better communication development skills, mending the digital divide and adapting to current electronic ways of communication, using current technologies, media and various social platforms to manage a crisis while considering language diversity and socioeconomic architecture.

The conference deliberations will also try to find key strategies and ways that the South African government can employ to improve and have better two-way communication with the community for crisis management purposes.

To register for the conference, contact Amrita on 0113262501, e-mail amrita@intelligencetransferc.co.za or visit www.intelligencetransferc.co.za

College of Cape Town Plumbing Day Outreach 2022

College plumbing students with industry partners who were part of the World Plumbing day initiative.

The College of Cape Town’s Thornton Campus offers Plumbing under the Centre of Specialization programme, where trainees are trained to be fully qualified artisans. The Thornton Campus and the Marketing and Communications Department took it upon themselves to annually participate in the World Plumbing Day initiative by conducting a Corporate Social Investment initiative (outreach campaign) in the previously disadvantaged communities.

The College, in collaboration with the Institute of Plumbing South Africa, spent the day at Heideveld Senior Secondary School, where they fixed some of the plumbing issues faced by the school. They repaired and replaced taps, and toilets, and installed new pipes, toilet seats and showerheads.

College students fitting pipes for the basins.

IOPSA also invited various plumbing organizations like; Shaun’s Plumbing and Maintenance, Leak Find, Green Fields plumbing, and J Walker Plumbing to form part of the task team to assist at the school. The presence of the companies did not only have a positive impact on the school, but it was also a good skills and knowledge sharing experience for our college students who received coaching from these industry experts on how to confidently succeed in the industry. The team leader for the task, Mr. Don Anthony, who is a Facilitator at the College of Cape Town encouraged more plumbing organizations to join in and assist in communities where there is a need and not make it about money but to make a difference in people’s lives.

The Deputy Principal: Innovation and Development, Mr. Achmat Gafieldien, also took his time to visit the school and engage with the school management and build an ongoing relationship with the College.

The school principal thanked the college for all the changes they have made to the school as now learners will have running toilets, especially as the absence of basic sanitation facilities can result in an unhealthy environment which will affect the attendance of learners. We look forward to many more initiatives that will better the life of youngsters.

For more information, visit https://www.cct.edu.za/

Welcome to the Eastern Cape, the Home of Legends!

Ayanda Wakaba, CEO of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation

The Eastern Cape is a vibrant province of unmatched beauty with a wealth of natural resources and a world-class manufacturing industry which includes South Africa’s leading automotive manufacturing industry.

Often referred to as a “world in one province”, the Eastern Cape boasts the most successful Industrial Development Zones in South Africa, the East London Industrial Development Zone, and Coega Industrial Development Zone, with the newly-established Wild Coast Special Economic Zone all ideally situated for easy access to world markets.

Responsible for the facilitation of investment and trade in the province, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) has been repositioned as a central economic development agency for the province. The ECDC’s strategic thrust fosters advocacy work which promotes provincial economic transformation, inclusive growth and competitiveness, investor-focussed solutions, pioneering innovation in key growth sectors, operational efficiency and financial sustainability.

At the ECDC, we place emphasis on the implementation of trade and investment programmes which intend to leverage on the inherent economic potential of the province. These activities encourage trade and investment in the priority sectors of the Eastern Cape economy which have a high potential for job creation, beneficiation and opportunities for the development of a competitive local SMME sector.

For the ease and convenience of doing business in the Eastern Cape, the InvestSA One Stop Shop Eastern Cape, which is a South African presidential investment facilitation initiative implemented in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, serves as a vehicle to reduce the administrative burden often experienced by investors.

The InvestSA One Stop Shop Eastern Cape facility thus acts as a single point of contact for investor interface, queries and aftercare. Matters relating to regulatory compliance, licensing and permits, interface with local authorities and communities are among the services the InvestSA One Stop Shop Eastern Cape prides itself on.

The ECDC welcomes you to the unmatched potential of the Eastern Cape Province.

Realise the Eastern Cape, it’s Yours to Explore.

Visit www.ecdc.co.za

Women in leadership


Intelligence Transfer Centre (ITC) will be hosting the 14th Annual Leadership for Women in Government & SOE’s Conference and Career Expo set to take place on the 27th, 28th & 29th July 2022 at The Indaba Hotel, Fourways.

This conference is the perfect platform to celebrate women who have been at the helm in ensuring seamless service delivery within their respective departments. Special focus will highlight the importance of forging reputable community development initiatives that can assist community development.

Some of the confirmed speaker departments include Department of Tourism, Public Protector of South Africa, SALGA, KZN Department of Treasury, Mangaung Metro Municipality, SAPS, Transnet, Eskom and City of Tshwane, Gauteng Department of Roads & Transport, just to name a few.

Pertinent issues to be discussed include:
  • Implementing diversity and inclusion for a transformed workplace that is none discriminatory,
  • establishment of empowerment mechanisms to yield a balanced support for both boys and girl,
  • unpacking the newly passed GBV legislation for the workplace and society as a whole,
  • the Macro-economic Impact of Gender-blind policies and practices,
  • protecting your Mental Health to ensure it does not impact your work performance particularly in crisis times, and
  • protecting yourself in Cyber Space, just to mention a few.

To register for the conference contact Amrita on 0113262501, e-mail amrita@intelligencetransferc.co.za or visit www.intelligencetransferc.co.za

ITC is a leading South African conferencing and training company headquartered in Johannesburg, and has regional offices in Durban and Namibia, with the key function of offering thoroughly researched conferences for various industries.

ITC started its operations 2007 and executes over 42 conferences and workshops annually, both local and international. ITC is MICT SETA accredited and a level 1 B-BBEE company which believes in closing the knowledge gap across the Public and Private sector through creating platforms for people to gather and exchange ideas in the form of conferences or in-house training. The organisation prides itself on sharing international best practice and every conference connects delegates with international leaders and leading brands within their respective markets.

Our events present your brand with the opportunity to access your direct target market and to interact with industry professionals. We understand the importance of lead generation and our conferences will bring you a host of compatible customers in your journey of building brand loyalty.

To register for the conference contact Amrita on 0113262501, e-mail amrita@intelligencetransferc.co.za or visit www.intelligencetransferc.co.za

SAITEX draws business leaders from across the continent


After a two-year forced hiatus due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions, one of Africa’s most established multi-sector trade shows is back.

In its 28th year, SAITEX is being co-hosted with food and beverage show Africa’s Big 7 and the Halal International Trade Expo at the Gallagher Convention Centre between 19 and 21 June 2022.

“For almost three decades, SAITEX has been bringing buyers and sellers together, but this year feels markedly different, as it has been such a long time since our exhibitors and visitors last engaged in person,” says Portfolio Director of Food, Hospitality and Trade of dmg events Evan Schiff.

“This represents a unique opportunity for industry professionals to reconnect and develop strategic trade partnerships for future intra-Africa growth,” he says.

With leading buyers and suppliers from over 25 countries showcasing their latest products and service innovations across seven exhibitor zones, the expo will also feature a series of technical masterclasses run over three days, aimed at paving the way forward for businesses across the trade and township economy sectors.

According to Schiff, in 2019, over 4,900 industry professionals attended the event, and of these visitors, almost two thirds had senior decision-making roles within their businesses. 

In 2022, several interactive workshops and panel discussions will offer a dynamic mix of in-depth learning, development and discussion, led by a range of high-profile trade experts, financial institutes, and entrepreneurs in the sector. The ministerial keynote address will be given by the Honourable Rajeshkumar Indukant Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce in Zimbabwe.

Visitors looking for support on access to SMME finance can attend a dedicated workshop hosted by Banking Association of South Africa on how to mobilise funding for SMMEs, while a fireside chat presented by SHE Trades will focus specifically on assisting female entrepreneurs to unlock new market opportunities.

Technological solutions and IT and software make up a significant percentage of products on exhibit at the show, and there will also be several workshops supported by e-Commerce Forum Africa, centering around the implementation of new digital strategies to protect, manage and grow business in a post-Covid marketplace.

The increasing importance of Africa’s township economy will also be recognised at SAITEX. In a stakeholder engagement session presented by the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, public and private stakeholders will delve into the details of the recently passed Township Economic Development Bill and the Township Economy Partnership Fund, considering its impact on individual businesses and existing commercial activity moving forward.

SAITEX is honoured to have Mpho Parks Tau, Gauteng MEC, Gauteng Department of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture & Rural Development, Saki Zamxaka, Chief Executive Officer, Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), Tshokolo Nchocho, Chief Executive Officer, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Xolile George, Chief Executive Officer, South African Local Government Association (SALGA).*

Schiff says that with an estimated 355 million middle class consumers, Africa has one the most rapidly growing retail markets in the world, making SAITEX a must-attend event for business owners, entrepreneurs, retailers, wholesalers and distributors from across the continent.

“SAITEX provides a unique platform for African importers and exporters to source latest products and services from a global manufacturing base, as well as establish partnerships and complete import and export deals,” he concludes.  

Registration for SAITEX is currently open. For more information or to register, please click here.

Growing a successful crop of female entrepreneurs in SA agriculture


In the 2022 State of the Nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised the importance of supporting small-scale farmers and integrating them into value chains.

A recent Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) study on gender equality in the South African agriculture sector found that perception is still a major problem in South Africa’s sprawling agriculture industry. The study revealed that women who work in agriculture still battle with the perception that farming is a ‘man’s job.’

With female unemployment at a record high of 48.7%, there is opportunity for women to harvest a new future for themselves through agriculture, and in turn, grow the South African economy. Even then, the reality is that 35% of female farmers in South Africa find that their income from farming does not cover the needs of their family. But should being able to feed one’s family be the extent of a female farmer’s aspirations? Can they not break the cycle, grow a flourishing business and create sustainable jobs for their communities?

The Momentum Metropolitan Foundation (MMF) has partnered with Agri Enterprises to launch the Women in Farming programme. This three year incubator aims to enhance the skills of female farmers to enable and empower them to better feed their families and create jobs for their communities.

Starting in KwaZulu-Natal, the programme will see 60 female entrepreneurs participate in a business pitch approach to provide them with an opportunity to sell their agriculture business ideas to a panel of industry experts headed by the CEO of Agri Enterprises, Omri van Zyl. Selected entrepreneurs will be trained and mentored by the Agri Enterprises Sustainability and Rural Development Division in Woodberg, Pietermaritzburg.

The Agri Enterprises Sustainability and Rural Development Division focuses on providing scarce skills along the broader agricultural value chain. Sulaimaan Patel Head of Rural Development and Social Investment at Agri Enterprises says the academy has adopted a Comprehensive Mentorship Approach (CMATM), offering training from a technical level right up to an executive strategic level. “We firmly believe this approach creates innovative entrepreneurs within the agriculture value chain,” says Patel.

Agri Enterprises’ four-step approach to entrepreneurial development includes:
  1. The Innovation Station – developing criteria to identify potential business ventures within the agricultural industry.
  2. Business Incubation – equipping individuals with financial, entrepreneurial, and relevant business skills.
  3. Start-up Business – mentoring and supporting in how to launch a business successfully.
  4. Agri-preneurial development – providing high-level training to allow continued growth through training programmes aligned with finances, governance, project management, and strategy.

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Youth Employment Portfolio Head from MMF says agriculture is the perfect sector to kickstart gender equality in the South African economy. “Millions of women living in rural and remote areas sit on the side-lines of our economy. As agriculture relies on our country’s rural communities, transforming this sector into one that is more inclusive can address our high unemployment rate, ensure food security, and improve farming innovation at the same time.”

The programme and its partners are currently fielding applications in order for the 60 participants to be identified. All-in-all, hundreds of business proposals are to be heard and will be whittled down to a chosen batch of 60.

The 60 entrepreneurs will come from various parts of the agricultural value chain with a strict focus on limited sectors within agriculture to ensure the programme remains focused.

“We believe by giving women the tools, advice and experiences, we can empower them to be unstoppable in their pursuit of success. Through agriculture, we have an opportunity to empower African women by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills to start their own businesses,” concludes Mahlangu.

If want to know more about the programme, click here.

Steinmüller Africa transforms lives at Vukanini Primary School in Bethal, Mpumalanga


Steinmüller Africa recently sponsored the refurbishment of Vukanini Primary School, neighbouring the company’s Bethal-based facility. The official handover, attended by one of Steinmüller Africa Directors, Mohamed Khan, took place on 8 of April 2022.

Steinmüller Africa provided project management and financial support for the initiative, extensively sub-contracting local businesses for the much-needed refurbishment of the school’s kitchen and 12 classrooms. Renovations included interior painting, the removal and replacement of tiling, upgrading of electrical systems. Installations of shelves, a water pump station and a 5.5kVA solar photovoltaic system was carried out. Furthermore, carports of 12 m x 35 m were erected in the school’s parking, and an accompanying pavement was built.

“We are proud to have participated in the refurbishment of the school to uplift and give back to the Mpumalanga province. The school’s 850 students are now able to learn in a renovated and safe environment. By investing in schools and their students, we invest in the leaders of tomorrow and the future of South Africa,” says Khan.

The opening included the attendance of South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Education, Honorable Reginah Mhaule, Provincial and District Officials, the school governing body, and members of the community.

“Steinmüller Africa strives to extend a helping hand in developing communities it operates in to ensure a secured future for the children that reside in these communities. One of our company values is “we care” – we care about our business, our employees and the wellbeing and development of communities in which we operate,” says Khan.

For over 50 years, Steinmüller Africa has offered comprehensive expertise and project management in pipe bending, welding, manufacturing and maintenance for high-pressure, high-temperature heat exchange plants or applications in South Africa.

Glencore Ferroalloys’ partnership with Imbumba Foundation reaches remarkable milestone

Glencore representatives from Boshoek Smelter showcasing the donations on the day.

In 2021 Glencore Ferroalloys partnered with the Imbumba Foundation with the aim of keeping young girls at school through sanitary pad donations. The partnership was sparked by the alarming rate of young girls who miss school due to a lack of access to sanitary pads. Since the partnership, over 500 000 sanitary pads were handed over to more than 10 000 girls at 57 local schools in the Limpopo and North West Provinces.

On 5 May 2022, Glencore and the Imbumba Foundation kick started the second year of their partnership by distributing over 40 000 sanitary pads to more than 800 girls at the Bakwena and Charora Secondary Schools in the North West Province.

Clement Maosa, Zita Mahlaulwe, and Principal of Charora Secondary School Principal B.M Mutle.

“At Glencore we pride ourselves in being of service to our communities and today is a day of celebration for us all as we embark on this journey of fighting sanitary pad poverty in our local schools. Young women need to be protected but more than that, young women deserve a fair chance to an uninterrupted school experience so that they can work towards achieving their dreams. That’s really what this whole partnership is about, and I want to thank Imbumba for walking with us on this journey because I know this support goes a long way in making a real change,” said Enterprise and Supplier Development Superintendent for Glencore Ferroalloys, Charlin Ntuli.

The two organisations found great synergy in their commitment to making a difference in South African communities. Imbumba, which established their Caring4Girls programme in 2012 has empowered over 1.5 million girls across South Africa and share the same values as Glencore which continue to work closely with their local communities in order to roll out initiatives and programmes that directly respond to their needs.

“As we embark on our second year of partnership, we are sincerely appreciative to Glencore. It is through such collaborative efforts that we ensure that girls, regardless of race and status have an equal opportunity to strive for excellence when it comes to their educational needs. I have been passionate about this initiative for many years and it has been amazing to see how it has grown due to the support we’ve been receiving. We look forward to continue bringing about social change and upliftment to those who need it most,” said Mr Richard Mabaso, Founder and CEO of the Imbumba Foundation.

Clement Maosa and students from Charora Secondary School.

In addition to these donations, Glencore has also made a nurse available to help educate the girls on menstrual hygiene and puberty as required. Reading material educating teenagers on puberty, menstrual cycles and how to use sanitary pads were also made available to the young girls.

Actor and TV Personality, Clement Maosa who is popularly known as “Kwaito” from the SABC 1 soap opera ‘Skeem Saam’, attended the handover to give some words of encouragement to the young girls.

“Coming from a rural area and school in Limpopo, we seldom had people visiting our school to motivate us and we didn’t see a lot of successful people that we could look up to. I am here today as a testimony to show you all that a young person who comes from where you are right now can reach their dreams despite their background. Never let your surroundings discourage you, your future is in your hands. I am where I am today because I wanted to prove to myself and to those that came after me that it is possible,” said Actor Clement Maosa.

Through this initiative and many others, Glencore continues to remain committed to creating progress together in their communities and beyond. 

Building the South African Nation Brand

Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Photo credit: CTICC

Brand South Africa is taking active steps to take a critical look at the current state of the country and propose possible solutions on how we can successfully navigate our way to a better tomorrow in terms of positively positioning the Nation Brand.

We recently hosted the Nation Brand Forum under the theme #BelieveinSA. Brand South Africa sought to create a platform for that kind of forward thinking. It also aimed to highlight the objectives of the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, in order to reassure South Africa and the world that we are a country committed to rebuilding and creating a better country for all.

South Africans have proven themselves as a very resilient nation. We pride ourselves on our ability to overcome adversity. Brand South Africa has to remind the world, and sometimes South Africans, that we continue to be a nation inspiring new ways.

South Africa’s unique selling points

Economic prowess: South Africa is the economic powerhouse of the African continent, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of R1.9-trillion (US$283bn) – four times that of its Southern African neighbours and comprising 30% of the entire GDP of Africa. South Africa has strong entrepreneurial and dynamic investment environment due to highly developed economic infrastructure. South Africa is also one of the highest-ranking developing economies and surpasses countries such as Hungary, Italy, Brazil and Thailand.

Diverse sectors: South Africa has the most dynamic economy on the continent, with key productive sectors ranging from finance, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, transport and logistics, communications and information technology

Ease of doing business: According to the World Bank, it costs just R175 to start a business in South Africa, which is cheaper than 90% of the rest of the world. Reserving a company name and registering with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) can cost less than R200. South Africa is ranked 10th for its start-up affordability, with a total cost relative to the monthly average income of 3%. Most neighbouring countries have considerably higher cost-to-income percentages.

Brand South Africa has to remind the world, and sometimes South Africans, that we continue to be a nation inspiring new ways.

Encouraging active citizenship and Nation Brand Advocacy

Play Your Part was in its 10th year in 2021 and continues to encourage all South Africans to be active citizens, placing it upon themselves to be the change that they want to see and impact those around them to do the same. Play Your Part has been successful in highlighting what ordinary South Africans are doing to change the social and material conditions of the most vulnerable sections of South African society. The most impactful projects through the PYP campaign are those related to education and gender-based violence.

PYP has become an important slogan, an essential part of South African society, where we are all tasked with contributing positively in order to create the country that we all deserve.

Equally important is the Global South Africans programme which aims to build Nation Brand advocacy among South Africans in the diaspora. South African living abroad are encouraged to be patriotic and fly the South African flag high wherever they are. Brand South Africa’s role is to create opportunities and platforms for Global South Africans to connect and also empower them with messages and information about key issues in the country.

Mpumi Mabuza, Brand SA Acting Chief Marketing Officer

Promoting South Africa in the region and beyond

Regional forums such as SADC and the AU are hugely important for South Africa in that they continue to highlight the role we play as a key player, especially in terms of regional governance, peace and security. Health and climate diplomacy are proving to be key pillars of foreign policy for many states. Through our TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver request to the World Trade Organization, South Africa showed its commitment to ensuring equitable access to vaccines for African countries. South Africa is a country brand that is synonymous with championing causes that seek to improve the lives of all Africans.

The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have identified the need to strengthen cooperation among themselves to support economic recovery, ensure financial stability and guard against future uncertainties, such as those brought about by Covid-19. The strengthening of international cooperation and establishing a cross-border regulatory mechanism for further improving the investment environment and enhancing capital flows is the next goal for BRICS countries. Some notable outcomes are the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement which have marked significant progress in expanding the tangible financial cooperation among BRICS nations.

The fact that the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is South African is a great selling point for the country and Brand South Africa. We have a well-established relationship with the Secretariat and we aim to collaborate on a number of strategic projects that will seek to better educate South Africans and the rest of the continent on what opportunities are available through the AfCFTA. We are also keen to bring the Nation Brand message to the continent by proposing that African nations adopt Nation Brand strategies with the aim of creating carefully curated narratives that seek to position them better as key destinations for trade and investment under the AfCFTA. We believe that our experience as the oldest Nation Brand agency in Africa will be of great benefit to our brothers and sisters on the continent

An economic overview of South Africa

The eMendi building at Port of Ngqura is within the Coega Special Economic Zone (Coega SEZ) and is shown with the busy port and Algoa Bay behind it. The building, designed by Dominic Bonnesse Architects and completed in 2017, became the national headquarters of the TNPA in 2021. Credit: Credit: Dominic Bonnesse Architects

Two numbers came to the fore in 2021, one quite modest, the other extremely large. Both the 100 MW extension granted on the ability of private power generators to go ahead with a project without the need for licensing and the R130-billion pledged in green financing to South Africa by several rich countries at the COP26 conference could have far-reaching consequences for the trajectory of South Africa’s economy.

South Africa’s economy has to grow and the country’s debt has to be reduced. How to do these things simultaneously is the challenge for the country’s new Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, who was appointed in August 2021, replacing Tito Mboweni, who asked to be relieved of his duties. Like many of his cabinet colleagues and the president, Godongwana cut his political teeth in the trade union movement but in his first budget presentation, the mid-term budget in November, he did not present any new items of expenditure. Rather, he presented a budget that reflected the fact that there is currently no money to spend on new programmes. There has to be less spending, fewer borrowings and the public debt has to be controlled. Finding a way to grow the economy in that environment will be tough.

As to signals of what the new Finance Minister intends doing in the future, one commentator found significance in how Godongwana spent the unexpected windfall of R120-billion that came the way of Treasury because of the high prices of commodities in 2021.

Professor Haroon Bhorat of the University of Cape Town broke down “every R1 of tax revenue the government received from this lottery” as follows: 51 cents on debt; 17 cents to civil servant wages; 32 cents on relief packages. Bhorat’s conclusion was that government is committed to fiscal consolidation “while being willing to spend within limits on direct transfers.” Which is why the two numbers mentioned above become so critical.

When President Ramaphosa announced that private power investors could create up to 100 MW of power without having to wait for licensing, he potentially opened up a path to growth, a path that has been constrained for some time by the limitations of the national utility, Eskom.

Eskom’s inability to provide enough electricity to power the economy (and its huge debt) rank as the biggest risks to the South African economy. Opportunities for private consortiums such as the Dedisa Peaking Power Plant at the Coega SEZ (below) will expand.

The Dedisa Peaking Power Plant at the Coega SEZ

Eskom’s unbundling will be another spur to growth. The legal separation of transmission is expected to be completed by December 2021 with the other two elements, generation and distribution, to follow. The idea is not to privatise the entities but to find private partners and to allow for competition within the various fields.

The R130-billion pledged by the EU, the US, Germany, France and the UK is not straightforward; it comes as a mixture of grants, risk-sharing instruments and concessional finance but it will allow South Africa to fund projects that will help the country to move away from fossil fuels without further stretching Eskom’s precarious finances.

The commodities attracting the most attention are those which have the potential to power the green economy, platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome among them. In August 2021, exports were reportedly 44% higher than the year before. Covid obviously had a lot to do with that figure, but R166.5-billion still represented a good number.

Recovery plan

The government’s recovery plan is called the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and it has a focus on expanding and improving infrastructure, a public employment stimulus, local industrial development and the expansion of energy generation.

The plan intends to unlock R1-trillion in private investment. Furthermore, a commitment is made to improving the capability of the state and to remove barriers to doing business or investing in the country.

Enabled in 2020 by an amendment to legislation that allowed them to work with the evidence presented to the state capture commission, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutors quickly finalised cases and arrests started happening. After a decade in which it seemed that immunity was guaranteed for corrupt officials and employees of state-owned enterprises, the tide started to turn. In 2021 ex-president Zuma’s refusal to appear before the commission led to him spending time in jail. His trial on substantive corruption charges lies ahead.

The outbreak of looting and violence that appeared to be triggered by Zuma’s jailing probably had more to do with the frustration felt by many South Africans at the culture of impunity which has surrounded many politicians and thieving business people than it did with the specifics of the Zuma case. The looting happened at supermarkets after all, not where Zuma was incarcerated.

Prosecutions obviously do not provide certainty against future corruption, but at least the prospect of arrest might be a deterrent. One of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery is South Africa’s level of debt, and that is caused largely by the state electricity utility, Eskom, where corruption was rife for years.

The government’s directory lists 131 state-owned entities but there are said to be about 700 altogether, at various levels of government. Entities include the Central Energy Fund, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the Commission for Employment Equity and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) but the three biggest, all of which fall under the Department of Public Enterprises, are Eskom, South African Airways (SAA) and Transnet, with five large divisions covering ports, railways and logistics. Eskom and SAA are significant drains on the country’s finances and getting control of all of the country’s SOEs is another major priority.

At municipal level, the decision by Clover to relocate their large cheese factory away from Lichtenberg in the North West to Queensburgh in KwaZulu-Natal had everything to do with a dysfunctional local government unable to supply basic services. If South Africa’s rural areas and smaller towns are to thrive, more interventions at this level are needed.

Agriculture was another industry that saw some positives during the Covid-19 lockdown. Although sectors like wine suffered badly, a reported increase in maize exports, as well as greater international demand for citrus fruits and pecan nuts, helped the industry expand by 15% (StatsSA). Grain crops such as maize, wheat, barley and soya beans are among the county’s most important crops. Only rice is imported. Wine, corn and sugar are other major exports.

Basing economic growth on a devaluing currency is not always the best long-term method of boosting economic growth, but high-value agricultural exports and increased numbers of high-spending international tourists hold some promise for helping to get the South African economy back on a growth path. Horticulture in particular is seen as holding great potential not only for increased earnings, but for creating jobs.

South Africa’s traditional strength in minerals still holds good. Although gold mining is declining in volumes (even while prices rise), the major investment of Vedanta Zinc International in a project in the Northern Cape and Sibanye-Stillwater’s acquisition drive in the PGM sector are significant economic drivers. Coal and iron ore continue to be exported in large volumes through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal on the east coast and the Port of Saldanha on the west coast.

GRI Towers South Africa is making wind turbine towers in the Atlantis SEZ, a green technology hub. Credit: Gestamp Renewable Industries

Automotive manufacturing and automotive components remain vital sectors, with major investments by most of the major marques and increased exports a feature of recent activity. There has been inward investment in recent years, most notably by the Beijing Automotive International Corporation (BAIC) in the Coega Special Economic Zone outside Port Elizabeth. The Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) has been launched at Silverton in Pretoria.

A new SEZ has been formally declared in the northern part of Limpopo, the Musina-Makhado SEZ. The Namakwa SEZ in the Northern Cape is awaiting its license, as is the Fetakgomo-Tubatse SEZ in eastern Limpopo.

Read more in the South African Business 2022 edition (eBook):