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AMSA implements large-scale, but ‘flexible’, labour reorganisation as Covid-19 bites

Steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA), which reported a loss of R2.6-billion for the interim period to June 30, warned on Thursday that it expected steel demand to remain subdued for the foreseeable future and indicated that it was pushing ahead with a large-scale labour reorganisation. The JSE-listed company currently employs about 9 500 people directly, as well as 1 800 contractors and has, in the last year, already cut 1 500 direct jobs and 1 500 subcontractor jobs as a result of decisions to place Saldanha Steel on care and maintenance and to reduce production at Newcastle to about 65% of its nameplate.

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Opinion: Countering corruption in the construction industry

In this opinion piece, Construction Industry Development Board (cidb) CEO Cyril Gamede discusses the impact of corruption on the construction sector and what the cidb is doing to deal with the problem. Allegations of corruption, fraud, and bribery continue to cast shadows over the construction sector. This is a global concern but is of specific relevance to South Africa as it becomes apparent that investment in infrastructure will be the primary activity to eventually lead the country out of the current economic recession.

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L2D becomes first local shopping centre owner with international Covid-19 safety compliance

JSE-listed real estate investment trust Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) has become the first shopping centre owner in South Africa to receive the Covid-19 Compliant certification from SAFE Shopping Centres.

The independent Swedish certification body SAFE Shopping Centres has audited and certified the operational procedures and routines implemented by all L2D’s shopping centres in response to Covid-19.

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De Lille places director-general on precautionary suspension

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) director-general Advocate Sam Vukela has been placed on precautionary suspension, effective from July 29, pending the finalisation of disciplinary processes instituted against him. In a statement, Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille said the action follows an instruction from President Cyril Ramaphosa in March, wherein he delegated some of his powers to De Lille to initiate disciplinary processes against Vukela.

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Lower demand drives decrease in Sephaku’s full-year earnings

Building and construction materials company Sephaku Holdings expects its earnings a share for the financial year ended March 31 to be between 7.67c and 9.37c and its headline earnings a share to be between 6.72c and 8.41c. This compares with earnings a share and headline a share of 21.08c reported for the 2019 financial year.

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Covid-19 forces changes to standard construction contracts, says MDA

Specialists in construction law MDA Attorneys say disruptions to business and operations owing to Covid-19 are no longer unanticipated, which means that all new contract negotiations have to take the possibility of this happening into account.  “Initially, force majeure notices were being issued in line with the broad definition of force majeure as an unanticipated event,” says MDA Attorneys senior associate Barry Herholdt.

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Without infrastructure and manufacturing, AfCFTA will fall short – senior African policymaker

An Ethiopian senior minister and special adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has cautioned that, without major infrastructure investment and the development of manufacturing capacity, African countries will not be in a position to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is poised to liberalise trading conditions across 55 countries. Dr Arkebe Oqubay, who has been at the centre of Ethiopian industrial policymaking for over 25 years, has also warned that the arrangement should not be viewed as a substitute for the expansion of exports to other territories, but rather as a way to bolster Africa’s capacity to export through the development of regional value chains.

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Approvals for Gazetted list of infrastructure projects valued at R360bn to be fast-tracked

The Presidency’s Investment and Infrastructure Office head Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa  reported on Monday that the publication of an initial list of 50 Strategic Integrated Projects and 12 Special Projects in the Government Gazette is motivated by a desire to ensure that the approval processes required to unlock infrastructure investments collectively valued at more than R360-billion were accelerated. The Gazette notice was issued by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille on July 24 and includes 15 transport projects valued at R47-billion, 11 water and sanitation projects valued at R106-billion, 18 human settlements developments valued at R138-billion, two agricultural and agroprocessing projects valued at R7-billion, three energy projects valued at R58-billion and a digital infrastructure initiative valued at R4-billion.

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African Continental Free Trade Area could boost regional income by $450bn by 2035

The African Continental Free Trade Area could, a new World Bank report asserts, boost regional income by 7%, or $450-billion, by 2035 and help offset the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is expected to cause up to $79-billion in output losses in Africa this year. If fully implemented, the arrangement also has the potential to lift 68-million people out of moderate poverty and 30-million people out of extreme poverty over the same period.

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Afrimat declares dividend

JSE-listed Afrimat has approved and declared a final gross dividend of 81c a share, from income reserves for the financial year ended February 29. The dividend is subject to a local dividend withholding tax rate of 20%, resulting in a net

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