Archive for February 1st, 2008

source: Mmegi

MOGOMOTSI MOLOI
CORRESPONDENT

As Botswana experiences recurring power shortages like most southern African countries, demand for generators has shot up leading to a possible price hike, hardware stores confirmed yesterday.

The store managers say since load shedding hit the country a few weeks ago, people have been buying generators as an alternative power source for domestic and commercial purposes.

Some say they have already run out of stock and their South African suppliers can not meet the high demand. Local hardware stores order their products from neighbouring South Africa where the problem is reported to be worse. Haskins assistant manager in Gaborone, Lawrence Masenya, says the demand for generators has climbed because of the power shortage rocking the country. [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Diamond leader De Beers, which has kept its well-honed diamond know-how close to its chest for more than 100 years, is preparing to open its treasure chest of successful technology to the world but not fully.

It will use South Africa’s biggest mining exhibition in September to lift the lid partially on its advanced African technology, much of which has been used to create wealth from diamonds on the African continent, for the African continent.

DebTech marketing manager Nico van Zyl tells Mining Weekly in an exclusive interview that the technology division is in the process of reviewing external marketing opportunities for its diamond technologies.

Van Zyl discloses that the company will use this year’s Electra Mining exhibition in Johannesburg, which takes place from September 8 to 12, as a launch platform.

The idea is not to market the latest DebTech technology which is still entering the market, but rather the current and proven generation units, as these have an established after-sales and service network already in place, Van Zyl says.Since the company’s diamond technology has, thus far, been overwhelmingly internally focused on the De Beers group alone, a business development strategy will be implemented during the course of the year, and is unlikely to be ready ahead of the Electra exhibition.

Proven technology
DebTech’s role within the De Beers group is to deliver technology that will ensure a sustainable competitive advantage in diamond exploration, mining and [continue reading]

Blackouts hit JSE

source: Mmegi

A series of high-level talks is under way to come up with solutions to the power crisis as the government says that load-shedding is a last resort to prevent a possible shutdown of the national supply system.

And as the unprecedented shutdown of mines went into a fourth day, Reuters reports, South African blue chip shares fell as much as 3 percent when the JSE opened on Monday.Analysts estimated that hundreds of millions of rands have already been lost by the mining sector.DA leader Helen Zille met President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on Monday afternoon and reportedly presented him with the party’s emergency proposals to alleviate the crisis. According to a Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs report, load-shedding is a last resort to prevent a collapse of the national grid.

The risk of load-shedding remained high at least until 2013 unless immediate actions were taken to “ameliorate” the situation, the report said. And South Africans could expect to pay much more for electricity in the future, as current pricing only covered half the value of power plants. Electricity generation reserve margins had to be maintained at levels which calculated peak demand, otherwise the national supply system could become unstable, leading to an interruption of supply. [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

31 January 2008

Over 21 000 public servants have been barred from receiving social grants and over 6 000 charged with defrauding the goverment – saving the state an estimated R7.7-billion – since the Special Investigating Unit began investigating fraud within South Africa’s social security system three years ago.

“Almost three years on, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the social grant system, from one riddled with irregularities and fraud to a system that South Africans can be proud of,” Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said in a statement this week.

The Special Investigating Unit, together with the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency, began investigating fraud and corruption in the administration of the country’s social grants in April 2005.

According to the department, since the start of the investigation – involving nearly 200 investigators – 21 588 government employees have been found to be on the system irregularly and have been removed, 143 485 have been recommended for removal, and 123 610 grants have been cancelled due to non-collection or direct requests from beneficiaries.

A further 6 693 people have been arrested and brought to court, where according to the department the conviction rate stands at more than 80%.

Investigations have also [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
CORRESPONDENT

Butcheries in the North West District have been adversely affected by the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) last year compelling the government to restrict the movement of cattle in Ngamiland.

Security and veterinary officers have been deployed in strategic areas to monitor the movement of cattle and milk products. Scarcity has led to increased prices.Following the regional border controls, butchery owners in Ngamiland buy meat from neighbouring districts like Gantsi and Central District. The owner of Duck Pond Butchery in Maun, Otukile Mashihi says they struggle to get supplies. He says they source meat from places like Mopipi in the central district and this is a very costly exercise.

He added that they also spend money on transport. Mashihi says they pay between P7 and P13 per kilo of beef. They have also been forced to increase their prices. The Maun businessman said at the moment, he does not blame the government for their predicament. Tjieseaa Kazembi, who used to supply butcheries with cattle, said his business has been greatly harmed. Kazembi also supplied supermarkets like Choppies. He says before the outbreak of the disease, he had bought some cattle to supply his customers. He says since the restriction was imposed, he cannot sell those cattle. He has to look somewhere else for stock. He says he is now buying cattle from Central District. He said the cattle they keep without selling are a burden because they have to maintain them. He added that the cattle also go astray. Kazembi said they are in trouble because some of them have loans from the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and now they have difficulty repaying the money. He suggested that government should come up with relief measures to bail them out. [continue reading]