French energy giant back to drill, expand its outlets in South Africa

CAPE TOWN (Biz News) — It’s doubtful that so many new green economic shoots would be budding had Cyril Ramaphosa not scraped in at the ANC’s national elective conference in December last year. This story outlines the portents of one major new green shoot in the form of Total SA’s new plans to boost oil exploration and open more fuel stations on the back of a rejuvenated energy supply policy. Under the Zuptoids, drilling for liquified natural gas and plugging solar energy into the national grid had all but come to a complete standstill, helping wither the local economy. While not exactly booming, the country’s economic prospects are definitely their brightest in a decade as investors and traders see the State-capture-skewed environment being swept away. Projects abandoned four years ago like the deep-water gas well on the East Coast, albeit not due to direct government malfeasance or interference, are now back on track to resume within a year. The hope is that all pending legislation, especially that potentially curbing offshore exploration, will be approached with a far stronger eye to encouraging investment. Whatever the other negative factors, the new political environment is facilitating a far more buoyant, albeit cautious approach by investors. – Chris Bateman By Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg) – French energy giant Total SA plans to boost oil exploration and open more fuel stations in Africa’s most industrialised country. Total pumped a record amount

Giraffe Kills South African Filmmaker at Wildlife Facility

JOHANNESBURG (time.com) — A giraffe has killed a South African filmmaker who was on assignment at a wildlife facility northwest of Johannesburg. Filming agency CallaCrew says Carlos Carvalho was filming a feature on Wednesday at the Glen Afric farm in Broederstroom when he “had a fatal run-in with a giraffe on set.” The agency says Carvalho was flown to a Johannesburg hospital and died there of injuries that night. South African media say Carvalho was near the giraffe when it swung its neck and knocked him over. The Glen Afric website promises tourists that “you can get up close and personal to a number of our resident wildlife.” The British television series “Wild at Heart” was filmed at Glen Afric, which invites visitors to tour the area where filming occurred.

Captive-bred lions killed on South African farm for bones

JOHANNESBURG (washingtonpost.com) — The killing of dozens of lions on a South African farm last week has led to increased scrutiny of the country’s policy allowing the annual export of 800 skeletons of captive-bred lions to meet demand in Asia for bones. The SPCA animal protection group in Bloemfontein is preparing to file a formal complaint alleging abuse by the farm’s owner and foreman, said Reinet Meyer, a senior inspector for the group. She said a total of 54 lions were killed at the farm over two days. Meyer also said she saw two lions that had been kept in transport crates for several days, and described the conditions in which the lions were kept as “totally unacceptable.” The killing of captive-bred lions is not illegal in South Africa if permits are in order. Conservationists, however, say enforcement of regulations governing the lion bone trade is weak and that the legal market could threaten Africa’s wild lions by spurring demand for skeletons. Authorities in Free State province are investigating allegations of misconduct on the farm where the lions were killed. “All permits relating to this matter have been suspended until further notice,” Dirk Hagen, a provincial official, said in a text message to The Associated Press. African lion bones started to become a substitute for tiger bones in traditional medicine in China and Southeast Asia after tiger populations dwindled and stronger conservation measures were put in place to protec
Bathopele Mine - Underground - ABS Training - Sydney Mabale (miner) explains the safety marking system to Phillemon Molemi (LHD Operator) Kenneth Xhantini (Sweeper), Petrick Semalkhe (LHD Operator) and Annanias (LHD Operator) at Section 6, West Central

South Africa miners reach silicosis settlement

SOUTH AFRICA (ft.com) - South African miners including Anglo American agreed to pay $400m to settle a class action launched by former miners who contracted serious lung diseases working in the country’s gold shafts. Mining companies and lawyers for the mineworkers said on Thursday that the settlement would give “meaningful compensation” to sufferers of silicosis and pulmonary tuberculosis who worked in South Africa’s gold mines, some of the deepest in the world, from the 1960s onward. “A compromise settlement is far preferable for all concerned than an inevitably lengthy and expensive litigation process would be,” they added. A South African court must still approve the settlement, which is the result of three years of negotiations and the first class-action lawsuit of its kind in the country’s history. A third of all the gold ever mined has come from South African mine-shafts, which, for decades under colonialism and apartheid, depended on exploiting the labour of millions of black workers in dangerous and hot conditions. Deep underground, workers risked inhaling silica dust, damaging lungs irreparably with the symptoms appearing years or decades later. Thousands of former mineworkers with lung diseases in South Africa and neighbouring countries, such as Lesotho, have struggled to pay healthcare bills following their diagnosis. There is no limit to numbers who can claim under Thursday’s settlement. The settlement covers companies including

Eskom Outlines Plans to Prevent South Africa Winter Blackouts

SOUTH AFRICA (Bloomberg) - South Africa’s state power utility doesn’t expect current shortages of coal to force a return to rolling blackouts as it sources extra stocks and moves around existing supplies of the fuel. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. supplies almost all of South Africa’s electricity and the coal shortages come as the utility prepares for the seasonal increase in power demand over the southern hemisphere winter. The company has also grappled with allegations of corruption and mismanagement and struggled to raise the funding it needed earlier this year. A repeat of power cuts from three years ago would quash signs of recovery in Africa’s most-industrialized economy. Eskom, which had its board overhauled in January, continues to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, plans to complete work on a comprehensive long-term strategy by September and believes that forced blackouts this year are unlikely, Interim Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe told reporters in Johannesburg. The company received positive feedback in recent meetings with foreign and local investors, although concerns remain, he said. “We are not saying that it’s smooth sailing,” Hadebe said. “We need to take painful, difficult decisions.” The number of power stations with low coal stocks has now fallen to six from seven and may decline further within a couple of weeks, he said. To address the coal-supply issue in the longer term, Eskom has issued a request for proposals f

South Africans’ wallets hit hard as fuel price spikes

SOUTH AFRICA (enca.com) - It has not been a good year for the wallets of South African consumers, with the latest blow being the fuel price spike that came into effect at midnight. Petrol went up by 49 cents a litre while diesel prices rose by 59 cents. It comes on the back of April's VAT increase, to 15 percent. The fuel levy was also increased. However, one economist reckons the petrol price hikes should not increase transport prices. “For three months in January, February and March we had petrol price cuts and when you look at the two increases in April and now in May, they don’t take us back where the price of petrol was in December. So if ever any of the people who are using petrol increase their prices, it won’t be fair to consumers. There may be those who try their luck,” said economist Bonke Dumisa.

Global risks, opportunities and a new dawn for South Africa – Gordhan

SOUTH AFRICA (engineeringnews.co.za) - The global situation posed a number of risks, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan cautioned on Monday. He was addressing the India-South Africa Business Summit. These risks include a new global financial crisis and damage to the multilateral trade regime, as well as the readiness (or lack of it) of countries for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including artificial intelligence. The countries of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) alignment could, he observed, mitigate against these. Also, new ways to grow economies, achieve sustainable development and reduce inequality could emerge. "Clearly, yesterday's skills are not good enough for tomorrow," he highlighted. Training the younger generations will be the biggest challenge for both India and South Africa. "Today, South Africa and India share many common factors," he pointed out. They were both members of Brics, the G20 group of leading economies, and the World Trade Organisation. But today both needed to "raise the bar" regarding inclusive development and reducing inequality. "In South Africa, ... we do indeed have a new dawn," he affirmed. "That new dawn has created an immense new spirit in the country." It had increased trust between Government, business and citizens. And that trust would be increased if the people experienced the benefits of development, such as the provision of water, power and the creation of jobs. Turning to his own por