TFR to release tender in April for take-or-pay access to container corridors

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will release a request for proposals (RFP) on April 1 for the sale of slots to private operators on the key container corridor linking Gauteng and Durban, as well as parts of the Cape corridor. The State-owned utility tells Engineering News that it is in the process of finalising the number of slots to be made available during the first phase of the initiative, which is designed to arrest what has been a steady decline over several years, but which worsened considerably during the Covid lockdowns.

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Ramaphosa says Budget aimed at growth and employment

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana presented a budget that supports and reinforces the programme of action announced in the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) to grow the economy and create jobs, says President Cyril Ramaphosa in a February 28 newsletter. The budget provides details on how government plans to raise money and where it is going to spend that money to improve the lives of South Africans.

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Mantashe says Eskom to seek permission for coal-to-gas switch at some old stations

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says he expects Eskom to make an application soon for a Section 34 determination to facilitate gas-to-power generation at some of the coal power stations that the utility aims to repower and repurpose as part of its unfolding just energy transition strategy. Speaking during an energy dialogue hosted by the Central Energy Fund (CEF) and the Financial Mail, Mantashe indicated that the determination would be “in addition” to the 3 000 MW allocation for gas-to-power in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 (IRP 2019), which outlines the new electricity generation to be introduced to the system by 2030.

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GE, partners launch Next Engineers programme in Johannesburg

Multinational General Electric (GE), in partnership with nonprofit organisations FHI360 and PROTEC, as well as the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), on February 24 officially launched the Next Engineers programme in Johannesburg, aimed at increasing the diversity of young people in the engineering sector. The programme, which will run over the course of five years, will provide more than 3 500 learners between the ages of 13 and 18 with hands-on exposure to engineering concepts and careers and, ultimately, award financial support to students pursuing engineering degrees.

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SHRA encouraged by social housing progress

The Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) has said it is “encouraged” by government’s commitment to the development of social housing across South Africa, following Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s budget speech on February 23. The budget highlighted that human settlements projects included six Integrated residential development programmes, ten social housing projects and two high-impact privately led developments.

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CoJ passes Adjustment Budget, which prioritises infrastructure

The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has passed its Adjustment Budget through its Council to see it through to the end of the 2021/22 financial year in June.

The CoJ says the Adjustment Budget is, in various ways, a prudent response to a loan market that is increasingly averse to lending money to municipalities, including metropolitans, which is, in part, owing to a lack of liquidity in the market.

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Private sector seen as key to catalysing much-needed infrastructure revival

A focus on labour-intensive practices, increased partnership between the public and private sectors and rechannelled funding methods for infrastructure roll-out in South Africa are required to help reduce unemployment, build the economy and improve local skills, according to a panel of experts who spoke during the Infrastructure for Economic Reconstruction and Recovery webinar. Hosted for the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) by Creamer Media Contract Publishing on February 4, the webinar featured insights from Transnet CEO Portia Derby; Construction Alliance South Africa chairperson John Matthews, who was the moderator; Rand Merchant Bank infrastructure finance cohead Judy Kobus; DBSA chief economist Zeph Nhleko; and DBSA infrastructure finance head Khetha Rantao.

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Business largely welcomes Budget as aligning to expectations

Business organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) says Finance minister Enoch Godongwana has produced a good maiden Budget that managed to expand expenditure in some areas, while ensuring that government remains on track to consolidate its debt outlook. “The Budget was also growth positive in that taxes were largely unchanged and the National Treasury recommitted to the structural reforms called for to deliver faster economic growth,” says BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso.

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WBHO quits Australia, blames ‘hardline’ Covid response

South Africa’s biggest construction firm Wilson Bayly Holmes – Ovcon (WBHO) said it is pulling out of Australia, saying the country’s “hardline” Covid-19 response had impacted its property market and created business uncertainty. The move amounts to one of Australia’s most visible corporate casualties linked to the pandemic and undercuts government claims that stimulus programs through two years of stop-start lockdowns saved businesses and jobs.

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City of Joburg launches probe into R94m spent on 13km road which is in ‘complete disarray’

The City of Johannesburg has launched a probe into R94-million which was spent on the Braamfischerville Ext 12 Gravel Roads Upgrade project. The City said the current state of the road was in “complete disarray”.

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