1 December 2011The FNB Building Confidence Index (BCI) increased to its best level this year, from 23 to 29 out of a maximum 100, mainly due to people doing overdue home maintenance, FNB said on Wednesday.Confidence among residential contractors surveyed in the fourth quarter of the year rose from 20 to 22, but among non-residential contractors it declined from 21 to 14.The results could indicate that South Africa’s building sector is slowly starting to recover, the financial services group said in a statement, while cautioning that the recovery was not a uniform showing but “short-lived flare-ups in activity”.And, on average, seven out of 10 respondents in different sectors of the building industry continued to rate prevailing business conditions as unsatisfactory.Conditions in six sectorsThe Building Confidence Index varies between zero points for no confidence at all, and the maximum confidence level of 100 points.It reflects the percentage of respondents satisfied with conditions in six sectors: architects, quantity surveyors, main contractors, sub-contractors (plumbers, electricians, carpenters and shop fitters), manufacturers of building materials (cement, bricks and glass) and retailers of building material and hardware.It covers the whole building pipeline, from planning (represented by the architects and quantity surveyors), renovation, additions, the informal sector (represented by building material merchants) and production (manufacturers of building materials) to construction of buildings by main and sub-contractors.The 2011 fourth quarter results increased due to a 32 index point jump (from 17 in the third quarter of 2011 to 49 in the fourth quarter) in the confidence of building material merchants, and an increase of eight index points (from four to 12) in the confidence of building material manufacturers.The confidence of architects, main contractors and sub-contractors barely moved, whilst quantity surveyors registered the only decline.The 49 point confidence of building material merchants was still below the 53 they registered a year ago.“The higher sales can be attributed to the need to do maintenance and renovations of existing buildings after a long delay,” Cees Bruggemans, chief economist of FNB said in a statement.Retailers also benefitedRetailers also benefited from the fact that some of their competitors went out of business over the last year or so. Building material manufacturers experienced the highest rate of increase in the volume of sales since the recession in 2008.Their ability to raise selling prices to make up for higher cost outlays remained limited, so profit growth and confidence remained low. The profitability of residential contractors improved, but that of non-residential contractors came under renewed pressure.The fortunes of sub-contractors are closely tied to that of main contractors, so the confidence of residential sub-contractors increased from 35 to 39, while that of non-residential sub-contractors edged lower from 33 to 32.The confidence of architects remained unchanged at 21, and that of quantity surveyors declined seven index points to 36.Sapa
8 June 2012A medium-term target of 80% internet connectivity across Africa by 2020 has been set, Communications Minister Dina Pule told delegates at the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Indaba in Cape Town on Thursday.“In this connected future, all of Africa’s major cities, towns and villages will be connected to affordable internet, thereby facilitating the continent’s mass entry into the knowledge and information economy,” Pule said in her closing speech.Inter-ministerial meetings held during the indaba yielded a resolution to engage with the rest of Africa on the ICT journey.The support of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in their plans to update regulations would also be provided, Pule said. “[It] should help developing countries to benefit from the frameworks for interconnections and roaming in the telecommunications market.”A team was being set up to monitor the progress and implementation of resolutions made at the indaba, and feedback would be shared with other African countries. Regional and continental organisations would interact with countries which were not represented at the indaba.Pule said that delivering broadband access to every African citizen would accelerate the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals.“Our work will also assist us in identifying and closing the skills gap within our countries.”The benefit of such an approach would be Africa creating its own technologies instead of just being a consumer for them, she said.It was the government’s role, within the information and communications sector, to act as a regulator.”We never abdicate that responsibility to anyone,” said Pule.Working with the private sector and entrepreneurs – especially the youth – could provide further opportunities, though.Sustainable jobs, some of which might not exist today, could also be created if large and small to medium businesses were allowed the space to innovate.“This will help us close the gap between policymakers and the entrepreneurs who are crucial in the creation of jobs,” she said.Expansion of the mobile application industry served as an example of a job creation area which did not exist three years ago, Pule said. “Now it employs millions of people and is making the lives of many easier.”Sapa
28 November 2012South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana- Mashabane ended her tenure as UN climate change president by launching “Thuto ya Batho” or “Teachings from my People – Women adapt to climate change” on Gender Day in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.The book, a presidency legacy project, pays tribute to ordinary women who are on the frontline and face the daily reality of climate change on the ground.It has been described as a book of hope that is inspired by the contributions of women from across the continent of Africa who came together during a continental consultative dialogue on the eve of COP 17, which culminated in the adoption of a declaration.The declaration consisted of a set of recommendations and strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change on women.‘The face of climate realities’“Women are the face of the climate realities, while we as negotiators and political leaders are discussing, sometimes with questionable urgency, to find a global response that could address their plight,” Nkoana-Mashabane said at Tuesday’s launch.Nkoana-Mashabane, a member of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice’s (MRFCJ) Troika+ of Women Leaders on Gender and Climate Change – played a key role in the successful stewardship of COP 17 in Durban last year.Although her term as president has ended, she said her responsibility as a member of a Party to the Convention and Kyoto Protocol, as a citizen of the world and, as a woman had not ended.“The journey towards climate freedom is long and arduous and we have many more obstacles to overcome.”She said that Africans and South Africans have been taught through the context of Ubuntu that each of us has a responsibility to ensure the stability of current and future generations.“Central to this aspiration are women,” she said.Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and COP18 President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, who is also the first male Conference of the Parties president, praised Nkoana- Mashabane for her efforts during her tenure.Putting solutions forward“She played an important role, not only for herself, but for women around the world,” he said. He said the world needed to solve climate issues before it was too late.Christina Figueres, the new head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), confirmed that Gender Day was established in honour of Nkoana-Mashabane to coincide with the launch of the book.“This is another legacy for Minister Nkoana-Mashabane,” she said.Figueres described the book as inspirational. “The book shows how women from around the world are not waiting for policy decisions. They are just doing what needs to be done by putting solutions forward,” she said.MRFCJ President, Mary Robinson, who wrote the foreword for the publication, said climate change efforts needed to be more people centred. “Women all over the world are already taking action and making alternative plans to deal with climate change,” she said.Robinson said she hoped that the incoming president and future presidents would continue to improve women participation, and that Gender Day would be observed at each UNFCCC to track progress on gender equality.“Significant gains have already been made to include women participation in UNFCCC activities,” she said.Nkoana-Mashabane said she hoped that the COP18 president would spread the word of the plight of the millions of people that are affected by climate change. “I am inspired by the courage and leadership of these women and am honoured to be able to tell their stories,” she said.Source: SANews.gov.za
4 December 2013Following on its record opening day last Thursday, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom emerged as the highest-grossing film in South Africa this past weekend, earning R4 431 228, outgrossing the comedy Schuks! Your Country Needs You, which earned R3 635 876.It also outgrossed the opening weekend box office of some of the biggest studio films of the year, including Hunger Games – Catching Fire, World War Z, The Wolverine and Hangover 3.According to film group Videovision Entertainment, the movie has been playing to packed, diverse audiences from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town to Gateway in Durban, The Zone in Rosebank, Sterland in Pretoria and the Mall of the North in Polokwane, all of which were among the best-performing cinemas in the country over the weekend.“I am extremely pleased with the audience reaction,” producer Anant Singh said in a statement on Tuesday. “I visited a few cinemas over the weekend and experienced the emotional response to the film, with audiences leaving the cinemas completely satisfied. For me as a filmmaker, this is really fulfilling.”The film also opened in the United States on Friday, with exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles, earning an average of $25 076 per screen, the highest this past weekend, Videovision said on Tuesday.The New York Times and Los Angeles Times newspapers reviewed the film ahead of its opening, with the New York Times saying, “The performances give a crucial human dimension to this streamlined, panoramic epic”, and the Los Angeles Times stating: “Inevitably celebratory … it is one worth experiencing again and again.”Meanwhile, the international roll-out of the film continued on Monday night with the French premiere of the film at the Paris headquarters of Unesco (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) ahead of its opening in France on 18 December.Singh, director Justin Chadwick and actors Idris Elba, Naomie Harris and Lindiwe Matshikiza presented the film.“We were encouraged with the amazing reaction from the Paris audience,” Singh said on Tuesday. “The film opened as the number one film in South Africa last week, and we expect the film to perform equally well in France.”France will be the first European country to release the film.SAinfo reporter
12 August 2014South Africa, and the continent as a whole, benefited immensely from the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit held in Washington last week, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday.“By and large, there are a lot of positive things we gained from the summit,” Davies told reporters in Pretoria. “The message from all of us was that the African continent needs to industrialise, and there were a lot of echoes in that regard.”Davies said the major victory from the summit was the commitment by US President Barack Obama to support the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa), along with his announcement of investments in Africa to the tune of US$33-billion through the Doing Business in Africa programme.More than 40 African heads of state, including President Jacob Zuma, attended the summit, which focused on peace and security as well as trade between Africa and the world’s economic giant.On the renewal of Agoa, Minister Davies said the summit provided an indication that the US believed a lengthy re-authorisation of Agoa was justified.“They are looking at possibilities of improving Agoa. They said they are looking at the eligibility criteria … They are looking at countries that did not qualify … I think that was the message from our side that was pretty good news.”Congress is scheduled to vote on the renewal of Agoa, whose current term expires in next year. Obama last week said he was confident that Congress would back the renewal of the scheme, which enables eligible sub-Saharan African countries to export most products duty-free to the United States.South Africa is the only country that makes extensive use of the tariff trade preferences provided by the US through Agoa and other schemes.Meanwhile, Davies said there were a lot of partnerships that South Africa can build with Hollywood studios to grow the local film industry. The minister paid a visit to Hollywood during a stopover in Los Angeles last week, visiting Disney and 20th Century Fox, among other big names in the film industry.Source: SAnews.gov.za
With South Africa at 14/1 favourites to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Equatorial Guinea, they certainly stand out as the wild cards of the event. They are placed in the tournament’s group of death, with Ghana, Senegal and Algeria having better odds of winning the tournament. We analyse Bafana Bafana and their chances of bringing home the cup.For more on the Africa Cup of Nations, check out:When football became Africa’s gameLearn the language of South African footballAfrica Cup of Nations: some facts and figuresWho will become a star at Afcon 2015African footballers call on their juju menClick for larger image
South Africa plans to build or expand six dams over the next decade to address the long-term water and sanitation needs of the country.The Kouga dam in the Eastern Cape in 2014. (Image: Wikipedia)Brand South Africa reporterThe dams identified by the government include the dam on the Mzimvubu River in Eastern Cape, the expansion of the Clanwilliam Dam in Western Cape, the Nwamitwa and Tzaneen dams in Limpopo, the Hazelmere Dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Polihali Dam in Lesotho, which will provide water to Gauteng.This emerged during a meeting of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) convened by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 30 April. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the Cabinet, premiers, metro mayors and leaders from the South African Local Government Association attended.“Progress reports were given on the building of water pipelines, treatment plants and systems to connect local households,” Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said. Reports were also given on construction progress across the full public infrastructure project pipeline, organised through 18 major strategic integrated projects (SIPs).“One of the challenges to be addressed with the water supply is the separation of functions between different spheres that result in dams being completed by the national government but delays at local level with water reticulation systems.“[It was] agreed to have a more co-ordinated system from ‘source to tap’ to ensure that communities have access to water more expeditiously,” Maharaj said.Amendments had been drafted to strengthen legislation dealing with theft from the public infrastructure programme, he added, and these had also been discussed at the meeting. The amendments will go through the Cabinet speedily for finalisation before it they are introduced to parliament.“The steps to address cable and metal theft include tougher bail conditions, tougher sentencing, more resources for defective work and better controls on the trade in scrap metal that creates a market for stolen infrastructure components,” he said.More than 220 000 direct jobs are being supported by the projects currently co- ordinated by the PICC, which include building roads, ports, rail lines, social infrastructure, energy plants, dams and pipe lines.“Thirty-nine renewable energy plants have been opened with 1 897 megawatts of renewable energy coming on to the grid. These solar, wind or hydro plants have been a critical support to address the energy shortages caused by delays in the new coal power stations coming on-stream.”This follows the opening of the Giyani Water Treatment Works in Mopani District Municipality, in Limpopo on 31 October 2014, and the opening of the R3-billion, 347- million cubic metre De Hoop Dam in Sekhukhune, in Limpopo, on 24 March 2014. The Spring Grove Dam near Rosetta in KwaZulu-Natal was opened in November 2013.Various interventions have been undertaken to stabilise the water supply over the past two decades. SIP18 has a 10-year plan to address the estimated backlog of adequate water to supply 1.4 million households and 2.1 million households to basic sanitation. SIP 6, the integrated municipal infrastructure project, focuses on developing national capacity to help the 23 least resourced districts (19 million people) to address all the maintenance backlogs and upgrades required in water, electricity and sanitation bulk infrastructure.The PICC was formed to co-ordinate a multibillion-rand public infrastructure programme and brings together all three spheres of government. It is chaired by Zuma and its work is governed by the Infrastructure Development Act.Source: GCIS, Business DayWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
10 July 2015An Afri-Global Walk of Stars, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was planned along Cradock Avenue, in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank, the African Global Heritage Foundation (AGHF) said.It will feature five-pointed stars inlaid into the pavement, which will be inscribed with names of people who have distinguished themselves and have left their mark globally and locally.“The walk is set to be a huge resource for Rosebank,” said Phineas Tichana, the Walk of Stars executive producer, “and a mega marketing tool for Johannesburg to promote tangible heritage as an open air museum, and enhance the business, cultural, and civic well-being of South African and African achievement.”Mock unveilingThe walk has been dedicated to Nelson Mandela, as well as every other South African and African who has made an outstanding impact on the world.A mock unveiling will coincide with Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July. “A formal inaugural induction will then be held in September to induct the first South African and African stars,” reported the Rosebank Killarney Gazette.CategoriesStars will be given to people who have excelled in radio, music, sport, film, television and performing arts, as well as to those who have rendered great service to their fellow citizens.Other categories will make provision for contributions from corporates, humanitarian organisations, and special honourees.The general public can nominate people, and the selection committee will make the final decision.The African Walk of StarsThe South African class of inaugural inductees:Recording: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, Oscar Mdlongwa aka Oskido, Jonathan Butler, Lerato Molapo aka Lira, Chicco Twala, Johnny CleggTheatre/live performance: Joe Mafela, Sello Maake KaNcubeSport: Lucas Radebe, Francois Pienaar, AB de Villiers, Gary Player, Ali Bacher, Caster SemenyaMeritorious: Imtiaz Sooliman, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, George Bizos, Desmond Tutu, Patrice MotsepeTelevision: Rolene Strauss, Connie Ferguson, Siyabonga Twala, Bonang MathebaFilm: Leon Schuster, Terry PhetoThe African class of inaugural InducteesRecording: Oliver Mtukudzi, Sade Aku, Salif KeitaFilm: Lupita Nyong’o, Genevieve NnajiTelevision: Alek WekSport: Didier DrogbaFrontline member-states champions:Kenneth KaundaRobert MugabeJoaquim ChissanoQuett MasireSam NujomaSamora MachelJulius NyerereKamuzu BandaHollywood Walk of FameEM Stuart, the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, came up with the idea of a Walk of Fame in 1953. He wanted to “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world”.Eight years later, in 1960, construction of the famed walk began.“An average of two stars are added to the walk on a monthly basis,” reads the Walk of Fame site. “The walk is a tribute to all of those who worked so hard to develop the concept and to maintain this world-class tourist attraction.”Source: Rosebank Killarney Gazette
Fiji oneworld connect membership The giant oneworld alliance is about to get bigger and extend its reach thanks to a new program designed to accommodate a broader range of airlines as “connect” partners.Oneworld connect is the first new membership platform since the alliance was unveiled almost 20 years ago and is designed to push its global coverage further than its current level of more than 1000 destinations in 150 plus territories.It also takes into account the changing nature of the airline industry and the emergence of low-cost and hybrid business models.Fiji Airways was unveiled as the first connect partner Sunday in the run-up to the International Air Transport Association’s annual conference in Sydney but oneworld chief executive Rob Gurney said talks were already underway with other carriers.READ: Fiji Airways continues record profit roll.“What we build is a scalable model that is a lot more simple to implement and we’re talking to a range of airlines at the moment that are operating more in that low-cost space,’’ Gurney told AirlineRatings.“Because it takes away the requirement to have all of these formal partnerships and systems integrations with every single member airline, it’s really more focused where the greatest commercial potential exists.“It’s simpler for the existing oneworld members but it’s also simpler for the connect partner. So we think we can accommodate a broader range of operators than we’ve traditionally hunted for.”Oneworld connect partners will provide select benefits to the alliance’s frequent flyers traveling on their flights, although they will be less than those offered by full members.Customers with oneworld emerald sapphire or ruby status in a oneworld member airline frequent flyer program will be able to use priority check-in and those with emerald or sapphire status will get priority boarding.Passengers and baggage will get through check-in for their entire journey and the ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer points where the connect member offers a loyalty program.There will also be access to select lounges for first and business class passengers as well as top-tier frequent flyers.Connect members will need to make their networks available on oneworld’s round-the-world Global Explorer fares and to maintain IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification.Oneworld chairman Pekka Vauramo noted global alliances already account for 60 percent of total industry revenues and global capacity and 75 percent of revenues between the top 125 business city airports.“With most of the world’s biggest airlines already signed up, global alliances have reached maturity,’’ he said.Fiji Airways, part-owned by Australia’s Qantas, saw passenger numbers grow by 12 percent in 2017 and has been adding new destinations.It added Adelaide, San Francisco and Singapore in 2017 and is due to start services to Japan in July, 2018.It flies a combination of Airbus A330, Boeing 737, ATR and Twin Otter aircraft and will take the first of five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in November.Fiji Airways chief executive Andre Viljoen said the new connect membership would allow the airline to deepen its relationship with oneworld members such as Qantas, American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.Viljoen said the connect membership would raise the airline’s profile and help put it on the global airline map.
There was a lot of great conversation happening at TLNT Transform in its inaugural year. There was one conversation, however, which stood out to me as being of particular importance. In a breakout session moderated by John Hollon, Nick Araco–co-founder and CEO of The CFO Alliance–discussed a very interesting trend. In the post-recession C-suite, an increasing number of HR chiefs are now reporting directly to the CFO rather than the CEO. While the rationale for this may be sound–aligning people processes with the company’s financial strategy is never a bad idea–it is meeting resistance from HR. The idea of reporting to the stereotypical “cold-hearted number cruncher” who doesn’t understand HR is objectionable, if not intimidating, to many HR leaders. What HR Can (And Should) Be Learning from the CFO But can HR leaders learn from the CFO? Most definitely. I caught up with Araco last week to find out what and how. Based on our conversation, there are five things HR leaders need to learn before they can step up their game and become key players in business strategy and execution: Use Your People Data. Araco says, “There should be information flow that occurs on an ongoing basis. HR data should influence decisions on business goals and performance metrics.” But many HR professionals lack best practices and systems for collecting, tracking and reporting on people data. For the CFO, that’s blasphemous. Though HR reporting to the CFO presents a golden opportunity to grow in this key ability, success will require the CFO to take an interest in what HR is doing with data and how it’s doing it. Quantification and Qualification. HR needs to learn how to quantify and qualify more strategic investments in people process. Otherwise, we’ll never be able to break away from the traditional cost center, administrative or compliance function of old-school HR. The more that HR professionals can learn from the CFO on how best to apply financial principles to decision making, the greater opportunity for them to position HR as a strategic function. Business Perspective. What ramifications will your decisions have on the company’s overall business performance? The CFO wants to know. For example: What return do you anticipate for the money invested in a new hire? HR’s ability to think big picture and have some business perspective is invaluable in a post-recession economy. Reinforce the Human Element. CFOs are frequently the naysayer. And in the recession, his or her tough decisions often kept the company alive. As we move into a period of recovery, Araco suggests that it’s up to HR to inject a human element into the CFO’s decision-making process. “I think it’s natural that these roles work together.” To that end, Araco says soft skill development is key, and that HR is in a prime position to enhance the CFO’s ability to look beyond spreadsheets when weighing options. Out With the Old, In With the New “There’s a new generation of CFOs whose aspirations and goals are better than simply crunching numbers,” says Araco. “They view the greatest value having someone seated next to not under.” By elevating performance in both roles, there’s an opportunity to transform HR and Finance simultaneously. But that opportunity is only available to those leaders who can work together to that end. As Araco warns, “Those who fight this are going to be left in the dust.” About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is an HR Analyst at Software Advice—an online resource for buyers guides and comparisons of applicant tracking systems and other talent management software. Using his blog as a vehicle for driving conversation in his market, he reports on trends and best practices in HR and recruiting technology.