20bn investment shows “SA has a lot to offer”

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his massive investment drive for the country, at least US$20 billion has been amassed.

Last year, the President announced an ambitious plan to attract investment to the country of $100 billion in the next five years. And, in the past few months, this drive has already seen investments pour in to the amount of $20 billion. The President said this when he addressed day two of the Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Tuesday. The conference is being attended by Heads of State, investors and deal makers from around the world.

“We have recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and a State visit to India, where we engaged with the investment community on, among other things, South Africa’s ambitious programme to mobilise far greater levels of investment.

“Our message to international investors is that we are taking practical measures to build an economy that is underpinned by inclusive growth, competitiveness and transformation.

“This message found practical expression in the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference, which we hosted in October last year.

“Several companies at the conference made announcements of investments, which amounted to around $20 billion in total,” the President said.

The investments, President Ramaphosa said, are a clear indication that the South African economy has a lot to offer, and that opportunities for growth are abundant if the country harnesses its areas of comparative advantage and creates an environment conducive to investment.

“The fact that three of these major investment announcements came from the mining sector gives credence to our view that mining in South Africa is a sunrise industry.

“We expect that they will make a valuable contribution to accelerated economic growth and greater job creation,” he said.

With South Africa’s mining industry having a long history that spans over 150 years, the President said the country’s mineral wealth has attracted large capital investments over the decades, resulting in the development of integrated industrial value chains that generate significant value for the economy.

“South Africa hosts the world’s largest reserves of platinum group metals and manganese, and some of the largest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium. 

“As government, we regard the mining industry as a key player in the future growth and development of our economy, with huge potential for exploration, production and beneficiation. “It is for this reason that we have prioritised the restoration of a policy and regulatory environment that is stable and predictable.

“Significant work has been done to remove the uncertainty that held back the development of the industry,” he said.

Steps being taken to address investor concerns.The President said, meanwhile, that the country has emerged from a period of strained relations where the courts became the main platform of engagement between the industry and government.

He said government undertook to hold engagements with the industry because it recognised the critically important role that mining can and must still play in shaping the future of the country.

“To this end, we moved to speed up the finalisation of the Mining Charter and to provide greater clarity on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill.

“Because of their importance, these actions formed a critical component of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan we announced in September 2018 after our economy went into a technical recession.

“As part of the package, government is reprioritising spending -- within the existing fiscal framework -- towards initiatives that are aimed at driving economic activity, including financial and non-financial measures to turn around the economy.”

The President said government further recognised the challenges raised by investors, including administered prices for ports, rail and electricity, as well as infrastructure bottlenecks.

“We welcome the interactions we have had with the private sector, representing both local and international, on a number of issues that are of concern to them and some matters of concern to us.

“We are working in earnest to address the constraints that were raised with us, as we implement the Stimulus and Economic Recovery Plan. We are addressing issues that are of concern to companies such as Visa Regulations, reducing the cost of doing business, eliminating many bureaucratic constrains and making it a lot easier to conduct business,” he said.

Government to unveil Eskom recovery plan

The President assured that work is being done to address energy concerns in relation to Eskom.

He said investors had raised a concern over an important infrastructure challenge - the security and affordability of energy supply.

“We have been giving detailed attention to the crisis at Eskom. Eskom is currently facing significant operational, financial and structural challenges.

“Eskom’s contribution to the health of our economy is too great for it to be allowed to fail. It is too important and is too big to fail, and we will not allow it to fail. Restoring and securing energy security for the country is an absolute imperative.

“In the coming days, we will be announcing a package of measures to stabilise and improve Eskom’s financial, operational and structural position and to ensure security of energy supply for the country,” he said. Land expropriation to promote economic activity President Ramaphosa said government has used its engagements with investors to outline South Africa’s approach to land reform.

He said investors raised a concern about the proposal for the expropriation without compensation to be among the mechanisms used to promote land reform.

“We must emphasise that our approach will enhance, rather than undermine, property rights as we seek to address what we have termed the original sin that was committed against black South Africans during colonial and apartheid days.

“The measure we are proposing will apply to land for the purposes of land reform only, and within a clearly defined set of circumstances.

“This measure will be undertaken in a way that promotes economic development and agricultural output, and that does not undermine the principles of our Constitution or the rule of law.

“Investors need not fear that their investments and assets will be taken away from them,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews.gov.za

Zandspruit protests take another twist

Residents in Zandspruit woke took to the streets again on 5 February to protest against poor service delivery and land invasion.

 The protests started at around 6 am, forcing the closure of Beyers Naude and Peter Road and other nearby shops. Some residents and students using taxis to get to their workplaces remained stuck outside the rank until getting back to their homes, according to community members.

The strike was mainly sparked by people who invaded an area near Emthonjeni claiming to be theirs, said Zandspruit Youth Forum leader David Mangena.

“They invaded the land and started to build shacks,” he said. “The JMPD came and removed everything. They raided the vendors who operate along the streets. Basically the residents got angry and decided to protest against the removal of the shacks.”

Most residents do not understand the by-laws, Mangena said.

“Some of the residents understand the law, but they just continue with the land invasion. I think JMPD was a bit harsh to the vendors because selling is their only way to survive in life. It would be better if the JMPD informed the vendors about their raiding before they did it.”

  During the protests, the police deployed to Beyers Naude and Peter Road to monitor the situation and avoid any road closures.

Efforts to get comment from the Honeydew police spokesperson were fruitless as he could not be reached. kmh}��4_[v

New water meter boxes get underway in Cosmo City

Johannesburg Water department finally pronounced and granted the allocation of new efficient reliable prepaid water meter boxes in all households around the community of Cosmo city which began early this year.

The project reflects to the extensive loss of water payments that an average of about 70% of our residents eventually does not pay throughout. Prior to this year, the government always urged residents to acquire replacements of their old boxes for new ones which is certainly adequate and much brilliantly developed.

The new water meter box named Lesira which is a class B water meter box with a height of about 1,5m’/h proves nothing but the best that Johannesburg water can offer, the new box brings assurance that tendencies of tempering and bridging water has finally reached to its end and will no longer exist in the community.  

It’s quite profound to understand that mistakes can occur unfortunately, however fortunate enough this is not a mistake or an indecisive decision from the department. The project is a way forward for the community, a collaboration that requires both connection between residents and the workers from the water department, basically this intend that residents should allow the exchange of their old water meter boxes with the new efficient Lesira.

“I have been a resident in this community for a decade and most of us hardly even pay our water bills,” Said Mr Radebe.

“When all of us moved from Sgodipola 11 years ago I used to buy prepaid water but since most of the majority had the same tendency of bridging water it then became a norm that most of us joined”. Mr Radebe added.

“However it’s about time that we follow the law and with these new water meter boxes our paths can be clear of fraud”. 

The siege of a settlement

The arrival of a new informal settlement two months ago is creating unease and an increase in crime for residents in Muldersdrift.

Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) obtained an eviction order in 2015 to relocate the settlement, but nothing was done to enforce the order for three years, resulting in ABSA taking the matters into their own hands, said Phumza Macanda, an ABSA media relations member.

On the 4th of December 2018 ABSA redirected the settlement to Sunset Drive. At first, the newcomers squatted illegally on private land behind Cradlestone Mall. Then Blue Age 60 Properties, owned by ABSA, bought a few hectares in the community to relocate the squatters to a better place, according to Macanda and the Krugersdorp News.

“Residents watched in horror in December as truck after truck full of people and their belongings were brought onto the property,” said Brigitte Paar, a Muldersdrift resident. Other members of the long-standing informal settlement on Elandsdrift Road were also surprised, saying they had no previous knowledge of the move.    

Residents of the older neighbourhood have had to make many lifestyle adjustments, said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous. She said the women now take the long route to the clinic to avoid Sunset Drive. Many members of the older neighbourhood were robbed and beaten during Christmas time, she said. Most of the crime occurs in the dark, the anonymous source explained, and members of the new settlement have been seen walking around at night in the Elandsdrift settlement, making it paramount for residents to avoid leaving any belongings outside their homes.

The newcomers walk on private property and they poisoned two dogs after only living there for one day, claimed Paar.

Many nearby farmers are fearful of being exposed to some of the settlement’s rituals for getting rid of bad luck. The ritual site consists of different-coloured candles and pieces of broken glass. When someone walks near or through the site, the supposed bad luck is transferred onto them, said an Elandsdrift domestic worker.

Being relocated was difficult, said an anonymous Sunset Drive settler, because many of the new informal settlement residents lost their belongings in the process of moving. It seems that their new beginning is not what they thought it would be.  

Many of the Elandsdrift members wanted to strike to resolve this issue and, if need be, throw literal fire at the new settlement, said the anonymous Muldersdrift resident, but they did not go through with it. Some farmers have contacted an advocate in the hopes of redressing the situation, said Paar. 

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