South Africa’s growing importance in the world as well as its relations with the United States will be one of the highlights of discussions when President Barack Obama visits South Africa later this month.
President Obama is scheduled to visit three countries on his African tour from 26 to 3 July. South Africa will be one of the stops he makes.
The visit, which will be Obama’s second to the region since taking office in 2009, shines a good light on South Africa.
“For the ordinary South African, this [visit] should be seen as some kind of a positive reaction from the Americans, that America recognises that there is no way that it can ignore SA and in his tour of the continent. Obama has seen it fit to come to South Africa,” said senior lecturer and head of International Politics in the Political Sciences department of Unisa, Dr Thabisi Hoeane, on Friday.
The US is a significant investor in South Africa, with about 600 US companies operating within the South African economy which is the largest economy on the African continent.
Following its fortnightly meeting this week, Cabinet welcomed the visit.
“Our strategic political dialogue with the United States continues to positively impact our bilateral relations. The US remains an important trade, investment, tourism and technology partner,” Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane told a media briefing on Thursday.
A statement released by Obama’s office said expanding economic growth, investment, and trade; strengthening democratic institutions and investing in the next generation of African leaders were among issues expected to be discussed during the three-leg tour.
SA, US relationship
“There is going to be a whole range of critical issues which they have to talk about [President Obama and SA President Jacob Zuma]. One of the major things that come to mind is the kind of relationship which the USA has had with South Africa recently where there was this perception that the two were not on good terms.
“That will be one of the issues that they have to confront, that there is this kind of view that in recent years there’s been a frosty relationship between the two countries,” explained Hoeane on Friday.
In a statement last month, the White House said Obama would use his visits to reinforce the importance that the US places on growing ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa had done some work to have a good relationship with the US, said Hoeane.
”We cannot afford to have a negative relationship with that country given its dominance within the world. My view would be that yes there have been some differences here and there but it has always been in South Africa’s interest to have good relations with that country,” he added.
The US is one of South Africa’s key trading partners in the world today, and the bilateral trade relationship has maintained a consistent pattern of expansion since 1994. In 2001, the US was South Africa’s largest single trading partner in the world.
Extension of African Growth, Opportunity Act
Last year, the South African government said it would like an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for a reasonable amount of time.
“Our overall message as the South African government is that we would like to see a rollover, an extension of Agoa for a reasonable period of time, along more or less the architecture of Agoa at the moment,” Trade and Industry (dti) Minister Rob Davies said in August 2012.
Agoa – which offers incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets – was signed into law in May 2000.
Hoeane said the agreement which expires in 2015 is also likely to form part of discussions between the two countries.
Another topic of discussion might be the upcoming planed Zimbabwean elections on 31 July, according to Hoeane. However the opposition in that country has rejected the idea to hold the polls on that day.
“Zimbabwe might be discussed because it’s one of the critical political issues in Southern Africa. Given South Africa’s prominent role in the affairs of that country and that elections are coming, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of exchanging of views on what is happening there and what should not happen,” he said.
Obama is also scheduled to visit Senegal and Tanzania where he is most likely to be received “quite well,” according to Hoeane.
A University of Technology in Ekurhuleni would assist in ensuring skilled youngsters who can respond to the needs of the businesses in the area, says Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor Mondli Gungubele.
Gungubele said there was an urgent need for the development of a business case to establish a University of Technology in the area.
He was speaking at the close of the three-day Ekurhuleni Job Summit and Career Expo held in Alberton, where issues of youth unemployment and poverty alleviation in the city were discussed.
He said “cries for such an institution were crystal clear during the discussions” at the summit.
“The people spoke passionately about such an institution. Ours now is to make sure that we put a business case together and present it to the relevant structures,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that Ekurhuleni, which had so many factories and industries, did not have such an institution.
“Such a university would also make our jobs easier in terms of producing skilled youngsters who can respond to the needs of the businesses that exist in our space.”
The jobs summit had brought long queues of young people who were looking for work. The event attracted close to 12 000 people when the city had anticipated about 5 000.
“All the youngsters who came here clearly demonstrated the will to work at some stage of their lives and/or start businesses, and we, as government and the private sector can assist them realise their dreams.
“The desperation that has been shown by our young graduates poses a new challenge for this metro. This situation says we must continue to put our heads together to see how best we can absorb these young people. We need to do more and more each year until such time that we can sit back and say we did our part.”
He said the city has prioritised human development and job creation, and vehicles that have been identified to take this process forward include the city’s 10 priority projects which include the introduction of the integrated public transport network, Aerotropolis, Digital City, Urban Renewal and Township Economies.
“We also have the EPWP that we intend to leverage and streamline as a safety net and income generation intervention,” he said.
Gungubele committed to, working with Gauteng Provincial Government, implementing the National Youth Accord, continuing to develop the Aerotropolis as a new tertiary economic sector, leveraging the Transnet’ Academy development programme for the benefit of local youth and partnering with the Department of Public Enterprises in implementing the planned Aviation Skills Development programme.
South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and US aerospace giant Boeing have signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of titanium powder for industrial manufacturing processes in the aviation industry.
South Africa boasts the second-largest reserves of titanium ore in the world, and the CSIR has developed and patented technology that converts titanium tetrachloride to titanium powder.
“This mutually beneficial agreement, bolstered by South Africa’s rich titanium ore reserves, supports the nation’s long-term economic development goals that include the supply of titanium to many industries, including aerospace,” the CSIR said in a statement on Tuesday.
The deal cements the titanium beneficiation cooperative research plan agreed on by the two organisations in 2012.
“Boeing’s competencies and experience regarding the applications of titanium in aerospace parts and structures will hugely complement the CSIR’s drive towards commercialisation of the titanium technologies,” said Titanium Centre of Competence director, Willie du Preez.
The centre of competence is hosted by the CSIR and features collaboration with the national science department, various South African universities, science councils and commercial entities.
‘Significant cost, efficiency advantages’
A titanium pilot plant was launched in Pretoria last week in a partnership between CSIR and the Science and Technology Department and will assist in the up-scaling of the technology and the agreement with Boeing.
“It is a breakthrough in the production of titanium metal powder using a novel continuous process, instead of the more conventional batch process,” Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said at the launch of the plant.
“This proprietary technology offers significant cost and efficiency advantages and is expected to give South Africa a comparative advantage in the production of titanium metal and finished products.”
The success of the pilot plant will drive the commercialisation of the country’s titanium beneficiation strategy and is expected to stimulate development in various sectors.
“Our research and development agreement with the CSIR adds a new dimension to Boeing engagement in South Africa,” said Boeing’s international vice president for Africa, J Miguel Santos.
“We are collaborating to leverage expertise and resources to advance South Africa’s development goals and the competitiveness of Boeing products,” Santos said.
“Boeing Research and Technology conducts its own research and works with partners around the world to find technologies that are innovative and affordable.”
The world’s first tablet café has been opened in Senegal by internet search giant, Google, marking the start of an internet revolution.
Google offered funding in 2012 to turn one African cyber café into a pilot tablet café and after several applications from across the continent, a café in the Medina area of Dakar was chosen.
The Equinoxe café, owned by Medoune Seck, was opened six years ago and suffered from frequent power cuts and exorbitant electricity bills, which were a major headache for Seck and his customers.
The Equinoxe now sports 15 tablets and cabins for private video chats, while a corner of the café is given over to a shop selling various items of electronic equipment.
Although Seck has kept three PC’s, he says that they do not generate much interest as people prefer to recline on the sofas with a touch screen tablet.
It is predicted that tablet cafes will become popular in Africa because they use batteries and mobile data connections, which means they do not suffer from power-cuts.
Seck says his tablets cost more than PCs but they save on power bills as they consume 25 times less electricity.
He believes they can help revive cyber cafés which, according to Google, are in something of a slump precisely because of the high cost of electricity and frequent power failures cutting into business.
Upon arrival at the cafe, customers pay in advance for a set connection time by way of an ID card, before they are given a tablet.When they leave the device is reset, wiping out any data from their session, and it is ready for the next customer.
“Our hope is that cyber cafés attract new customers interested in a more simple and interactive way of going online, and make significant savings on their number one operating expense: electricity,” Alex Grouet, Google’s business development manager in Francophone Africa, said in a blog post.
According to a report issued by professional services firm PwC, South Africa’s hospitality sector is set to grow in the next five years due to a record number of inbound travellers to the African continent.
The report, South African hospitality outlook: 2013-2017, is PwC’s third edition and projects that by the year 2017, the overall occupancy rate of the hotel industry will increase to 55.6%, with total room revenue expected to reach R23.5 billion, a 9.2% compound annual increase from 2012.
With just a few new hotels now opening in South Africa, and others being upgraded, the number of rooms is expected to increase by 1.2% in 2013 and to then grow at rates averaging just below 1% annually through to 2017; by 2017 there are projected to be 63,000 hotel rooms available.
The report expects that five-star hotels will continue to benefit from foreign overnight visitors more than three or four-star hotels as a result of continued growth in business travel and an increase in tourism from other BRIC countries.
In 2012, the growth in visitors to the country contributed to an increase in occupancy rates for hotels, the first gain since 2007, and prospects for continued growth in people travelling suggest further gains in occupancy rates. The average hotel occupancy rate is projected to increase to 68.7% in 2017 from 56.5% in 2012.
Overall spending on rooms in all categories rose 13.4% in 2012 to R15.2 billion, reflecting an increase in stay unit nights and a 5.3% rise in the average room rate.
Stay unit nights were up 7.7% in 2012, the largest gain during the past five years; with room availability up only 1.5%, the average occupancy rate increased to 50.2%, the highest average since 2008.
Spending is projected to rise to an additional 11% in 2013, boosted by a 5.7% increase in stay unit nights and a 5.2% escalation in the average room rate.
The average room will cost R936 in 2017, up 5.4% on a compound annual basis from R718 in 2012, states the report.
Government would oppose the Opposition to Urban Tolling Association’s (OUTA) latest move to halt e-tolling in Gauteng.
OUTA has raised more than R2 million towards its court challenge to e-tolling on Gauteng’s highways.
“OUTA has a right, like any other citizens to go to court and engage any decisions of the government but we will challenge this because we believe we are right,” Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane told reporters in Cape Town on Thursday. He was speaking after this week’s Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
In December, the North Gauteng High Court dismissed OUTA’s application to scrap e-tolling.
The court granted Outa leave on January 25 to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The appeal is expected to be heard on September 25 and 26.
“Cabinet encourages motorists in Gauteng to register for e-tags and to view this project as part of the country’s drive to build public infrastructure,” Chabane said.
Last week, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe met with religious leaders to discuss their concerns that the e-tolling system will impact on the poor and that government was insensitive to the needs of the poor.
Chabane said: “Cabinet re-iterates that government has exempted registered public transport from the toll tariffs on the Gauteng toll roads. Also, to address the concerns of the other motorist, government has reduced the tariffs and introduced new capped amounts for all categories of vehicles”.
The Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill has been passed by the National Council of Provinces. The Bill amends the SA National Roads Agency Act, and, once signed into law by President Zuma, will allow Transport Minister to make regulations regarding e-tolling.
1.1. Cabinet wishes President Nelson Mandela a speedy recovery and reassures the nation that he is receiving the best medical care. Cabinet is pleased that he is responding well to treatment and reiterates the request for the media and the public to respect the privacy of the former President and his family during this period.
1.2. Cabinet commends the work of the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security Cluster’s Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) which was established by President Jacob Zuma in 2010. For the first time in the history of our democracy, criminals who had abused public trust and resources were made known and held accountable for their actions publicly. South Africa’s zero tolerance to corruption takes us closer to our vision for 2030 where South African society is characterised by high ethical standards and integrity.
This aggressive stance aims to deter people in the private and public sectors from engaging in corrupt and criminal activities and is driven by our commitment to ensure that all citizens are and feel safe.
1.3. Cabinet condemns in the strongest terms the recent acts of racism in some parts of our country. There is no room for racism in our country and democracy, let alone in our schools, where the values of our Constitution ought to be promoted and defended.
Cabinet commends the Department of Basic Education for its quick action in dealing with racism in schools and encourages all parents, pupils, and teachers to report racism and abuse at schools. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to work together with government to get deal with racism whenever it occurs in our society.
1.4. Cabinet welcomes the visit to the Republic of South Africa by the President of the United States of America (US), Barack Obama which is part of a three-nation visit to Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa between 26 June and 3 July 2013. Our strategic political dialogue with the United States continues to positively impact our bilateral relations. The US remains an important trade, investment, tourism and technology partner.
1.5. Cabinet commended the landmark meeting on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) held between 4 and 7 June 2013 in Kimberley. The Summit discussed amongst other things ways of strengthening the effectiveness of the rough diamond certification scheme. This is to ensure that diamond trade does not finance violence by rebel movements and their allies that seek to undermine legitimate governments. Recommendations from this meeting will be considered at the plenary meeting of the KPCS to be held later this year.
1.6. Cabinet noted that the commemoration of Youth Day which in 2013 marks the 37th anniversary of June 16 Soweto Uprising will be celebrated under the theme “Working together for youth development and a drug free South Africa”. Cabinet acknowledged the sacrifices made by the class of 1976 in turning the history of the country and setting South Africa firmly on the road to democracy. Cabinet reiterated that, while the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of a democratic state, today’s youth activism is directed towards successfully tackling the challenges of combating poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, personal development; and drug abuse. Cabinet encourages all South Africans and organisations to work together to improve the lives of young people and fight to remove the drug dealers within our communities. The national Youth Day commemoration will take place on Sunday, June 16 2013 in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.
1.7. Cabinet congratulates the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) on its 34th anniversary, which has its roots in the Soweto 1976 struggle for free, quality and relevant education. The country joins Cosas in celebrating its remarkable achievements and in advancing quality education for all. Cabinet also commends the leadership of Cosas for taking the initiative to rally young people against drug abuse.
1.8. Cabinet condemns the acts of public dumping of human waste in the Western Cape by the protestors against portable bucket toilets. While, Government respects citizens’ right to protest, this particular form of protest is undignified and poses a serious health risk to communities and to the protesters themselves. Cabinet calls on citizens to raise their grievances constructively and to treat public institutions with utmost respect irrespective of their grievances. Cabinet further called on authorities to speedily address issues in a manner that is in keeping with our Constitution.
1.9 Government, under the leadership of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, met with religious leaders representing the South Africa Council of Churches and the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) to discuss their concerns that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will impact on the poor and that government was insensitive to the needs of the poor.
Cabinet re-iterates that government has exempted registered public transport (which is largely used by the poor) from the toll tariffs on the Gauteng toll roads. Also, to address the concerns of the other motorist, government has reduced the tariffs and introduced new capped amounts for all categories of vehicles.
Cabinet encourages motorists in Gauteng to register for e-tags and to view this project as part of the country’s drive to build public infrastructure.
1.9. Cabinet congratulates Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Soccer Teams and the Proteas Cricket Team on their recent wins in football and cricket.Cabinet congratulates the national teams on their hard-fought victories over the past week and encourages all South Africans to support our national teams.
1.10. Cabinet welcomed the launch of Power FM, a new talk-radio station, as a new player in the industry. Cabinet noted that the station will deal with politics, social issues and sport in the main and joins a list of radio platforms that can be used to inform South Africans.
1.11. Cabinet congratulates the Department of Health Director General, Dr Malebona Precious Matsoso, on her appointment as a member and one of the Vice chairpersons of the World Health Assembly Executive Board for a period of 3 years.
- 2. Key Cabinet discussions and decisions
2.1. Cabinet noted that the Financial Intelligence Centre of South Africa will host the 2013 Annual Plenary and General Working Group Meetings of the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.
The Egmont Group is an organisation of financial intelligence units from 131 countries. They meet regularly to enable international cooperation to identify the proceeds of crime, combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism with the objective of defending the integrity of the financial system.
2.2. Cabinet noted the election of South Africa to serve on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period 2013 – 2015. This presents an opportunity to strategically position South Africa’s leadership on development issues and reinforce the country’s role as a consistent and effective player in multilateralism.
South Africa will also ensure that ECOSOC is further strengthened and reformed to better meet evolving global challenges and the needs of developing countries.
2.3. Cabinet noted the report on South Africa’s Non-Permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012.
The report describes South Africa’s influence in the global governance system in the maintenance of international peace and security.
In line with its values and national interests, South Africa in the UNSC prioritised conflict resolution and peace and stability on the African Continent. Membership of the UNSC also provided South Africa with an opportunity to strengthen relations with key developing country partners – Brazil, India, Nigeria and China – who shared Council membership with South Africa.
- 3. Bills
3.1. Cabinet approved that the Disaster Management Amendment Bill be published for public comment.
This Bill aims to address the challenges which are being experienced across the spheres of government after commencement of the Disaster Management Act 2002. . The Amendment will re-affirm the function of district municipalities regarding the responsibility to establish capacity for the development and co-ordination of a disaster management plan. This includes the implementation of a disaster management function for the municipal area.
The Disaster Management Act 2002 has a fourfold focus: It establishes an elaborate institutional framework for disaster management; it entrenches a detailed policy development and strategic planning framework for disaster management. The bill further provides for the classification and declaration of disaster; and it deals provisionally with the funding of post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation. It provides for disaster management volunteers and a few other ancillary matters.
3.2. Cabinet approved the submission of the Local Government Municipal property Rates Amendment Bill to Parliament.
The Local Government: Municipal Property rates Act became effective on 2 July 2005. It was amended twice in 2008 and 2009. The amendments seek to remove ambiguity and provide greater legal certainty.
The amendment will allow for transparency in the setting of rates for different property categories, thus enhancing property owners understanding of rating. The amendment will exclude certain public service infrastructure (PSI) such as roads, railways, airports aprons and runways, dams and breakwater from being rated. These are publicly controlled and will not disadvantage private sectors. This would enhance economic activity across municipal boundaries. It would also contribute to the developmental role of SOEs by reducing their fixed costs.
3.3. Cabinet approved a battery of Merchant Shipping Legislation for tabling in Parliament. These Bills form part of a package of measures designed to give effect to South Africa’s obligations under the International Maritime Organisation Protocol of 1992.
3.3.1 The purpose of the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability Convention) Bill is to: enact International Maritime Organisation Protocol, 1992; and to pass into law the amended International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969. The Civil Liability Convention establishes and regulates the liability of the registered ship owner.
3.3.2 The aim of the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Bill is to: implement the 1992 Protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971 (the Fund Convention).
The Fund Convention establishes an international Fund, called the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to pay compensation to victims of pollution damage (within the meaning of the Civil Liability Convention) where they have been unable to obtain compensation, or compensation in full, under the provisions of the Civil Liability Convention. The IOPC Fund receives its funds from cargo owners.
The Civil Liability and Fund Conventions Bills deal with questions of liability and compensation for loss or damage caused by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of persistent oil from tankers.
3.3.3 The Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill and the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Administration Bill provide for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation Protocol of 1992 to amend the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution Damage, by South Africa.
The Administration Bill will provide the necessary legislative authority to enable the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to administer the collection of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund Contributions levy. The Contributions Bill is a money Bill that provides for the imposition and collection of the contributions that are due to be paid over to the Fund.
- 4. Appointments
4.1. Cabinet approved the appointment of seven (7) members for a period of five (5) years with effect from 12 June 2013, to serve on the Sport and Recreation Distributing Agency, in terms of the Lotteries Act (No. 57 of 1997).
- Dr Vukile Charles Mehana;
- Mr Thandisenzo Aleck Skhosana;
- Ms Muditambi Ravele;
- Ms Annamarie Louise van Wieringen;
- Ms Krubavathi Jaram;
- Mr Ado Moloabi; and
- Mr Goliath Munro
4.2. Cabinet approved the appointment of three (3) members for a period of five (5) years with effect from 12 June 2013, to serve on the Arts, Culture and National Heritage Distributing Agency in terms of the Lotteries Act (No 57 of 1997).
- Ms Hellen Kentse Makgae
- Ms Violet Tyamzashe; and
- Ms Brenda Sesane
4.3. Cabinet approved the re-appointment of two Non-executive Directors to the Board of the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) in terms of section 7 of the DBSA Act, (Act 13 of 1997).
- Mrs Thembisa Dingaan
- Professor Omar Latiff
4.4 Cabinet approved the following Deputy Director-General appointments:
- Ms Maseapo Kganedi Deputy Director-General: Group Services at the Department of Arts and Culture
- Mr Mpho Joseph Mofokeng: Chief Financial Officer: Water Trading Account at the Department of Water Affairs
Issued by Government Communications (GCIS)
South African state company Eskom and petrochemicals firm Sasol have signed a research agreement to explore the potential of underground coal gasification (UCG) technology to boost the country’s energy reserves.
“The agreement includes knowledge sharing and aims at research cooperation between the two parties in evaluating UCG technology,” Eskom said in a statement on Monday.
“UCG is a coal-to-synthesis gas technology that uses air or oxygen to gasify coal in the coal deposit underground through a series of injection and extraction wells.”
Eskom established its UCG technology development in 2002 and piloted the project for five years; results showed that the technology worked and was able to extract energy from complex, poor quality coal resources.
The next step is to improve the quality of the gas, and Eskom and Sasol have a licensing agreement with Canadian technology partner Ergo Exergy Technologies for this role.
“Eskom is proud of its role as a global leader in this technology, which we believe has huge potential to produce economic, social and environmental returns,” said Eskom’s sustainability division group executive, Steve Lennon.
“At the same time, this is not a project we can execute alone, and partnerships such as the one [with Sasol] will help us maximise the benefits to South Africa.”
Coal is an essential part of the national and global energy mix, and UCG has the potential to provide opportunities in terms of mining; it may more than double South Africa’s current coal reserves, according to Eskom.
“We are excited about UCG as a technology for Sasol and specifically in the South African environment,” said Sasol’s new energy managing director, Henri Loubser.
Sasol’s new energy division was created to explore renewable and lower-carbon energy opportunities ranging from solar and wind power to hydroelectric, clean coal and natural gas-based power.
“UCG has the potential to utilise coal that is not minable through conventional mining technologies,” Loubser said.
Canadian company Ivanplats has filed a mining right application for a major project in South Africa’s Limpopo province which could see the first serious foreign direct investment in the country’s platinum sector in a number of years.
The application, filed with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources, is for Ivanplats’ Platreef project, a massive discovery of platinum-group metals, nickel, copper and gold on the northern limb of the country’s Bushveld Complex.
Ivanplats executive chairman Robert Friedland told delegates at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town in February that the Platreef deposit was even bigger than previously thought and represented “enormous good news” for the future of platinum mining in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday, Friedland said the rights application was the culmination “of years of successful exploration and engineering to define high-grade resources that we believe are amenable to safe, efficient, large-scale, mechanized underground mining methods.
“We’re looking forward to working with all our stakeholders to advance the Platreef project to production, to create much-needed jobs and to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of our host communities, the surrounding Limpopo region and South Africa as a whole.”
Friedland also announced that, if the application was approved, Ivanplats would finance the acquisition of a 26% stake in Platreef by a black economic empowerment company representing local communities.
A Japanese consortium comprising Itochu Corporation, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation and JGC Corporation would also acquire a 10% stake in Platreef for US$290-million, payable in two tranches, which would help fund the project’s ongoing pre-development work.
This work, the company said on Monday, was supported by “what is believed to be one of the most extensive environmental and socio-economic study programmes in South Africa’s mining history. Approximately three years have been spent collecting the data necessary to plan an environmentally sound and socially responsible mining project.”
Ivanplats had already set up community liaison offices, held regular community engagement forums, and begun two local economic development projects in the vicinity of Platreef.
Platreef “would bring many additional high-value jobs, training and other opportunities for those who live in local communities and elsewhere in the region,” the company said. Work on skills training and sustainable local economic development projects was under way, and specific initiatives would be announced in due course.
The Canadian company, which has been exploring in Africa since 1994, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in October 2012. “We are now thinking of listing in South Africa as our secondary listing,” Friedland told the African Mining Indaba in February.
South African medical engineering group, Lodox Systems will release the fourth version of its digital X-ray screening technology later this year, recently featured in popular American television drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
Dubbed the Xmplar-dr, the new X-ray system takes a full-body scan in just 13 seconds and is “unrivalled” anywhere in the world according to the South African manufacturer.
“Far from paid-for product placement, this was a storyline independently researched and written by the Grey’s Anatomy producers,” Lodox’s Sarah Whiley said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Here at Lodox, we are both pleased and proud that our scanner has been recognised on this international platform and equally that it has been featured in our local media as an example of some of the truly great things that happen here in South Africa,” Whiley said.
“Although Grey’s Anatomy is just a TV show, the featuring of Lodox’s unique scanner shows that our technology is of the highest standard and continues the proud tradition of world-class South African medical innovation that was started by such pioneering icons as Alan Cormack and Christiaan Barnard.”
Lodox’s critical imaging technology was first developed for use in South Africa’s diamond mines to prevent smuggling in the 1980s and ’90s.
The requirements for a machine of this calibre were the ability to scan the whole body, a resolution good enough to detect at least one carat or a fifth of a gram of diamonds, a speed quick enough to process large numbers of people, and the lowest possible X-ray dose for safety.
A team of engineers from mining company De Beers’ research laboratories developed the scanner and, when they realised the instrument’s potential, established Lodox Systems to adapt and develop the technology for medical use.
“After some experience it was found that the Lodox full-body X-ray scanner was also ideal for use by forensic pathologists, as it assisted them in getting an accurate full body overview of injuries and foreign bodies quickly,” the company says on www.lodox.com.
South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) became a majority shareholder of Lodox in 2010 and assist with funding for research, development and product improvement.
Lodox celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and is sold and distributed worldwide.