February 2018

#AZA18 line up of world-renowned Speakers

 
AZA18

As our cities evolve in response to global urbanization and climate change, urban developments need to be sustainable, adaptive, diverse and resilient to meet the demands of market creation, resource consumption, and spatial equality and efficiencies.

Under the theme ‘WeTheCity: Memory & Resilience’, the #AZA18 programme will focus on different scenarios of change as to how we live, interact, and survive both as individuals and as part of a collective, within the urban environment.

Three of the prominent and award-winning speakers who will be sharing their experiences at #AZA18 are Chilean architect, Enrique Browne; Mexico’s Gabriela Carrillo; and Mumbai-based Sameep Padora.

AZA18
AZA18

How Koko and family raked in the cash

Documents reveal wife's role in milking millions from Eskom

By KYLE COWAN, MZILIKAZI wa AFRIKA and SABELO SKITI

New evidence shows that the wife of former Eskom executive Matshela Koko received millions of rands via a company awarded contracts by the power utility.

Documents in the possession of state capture investigators suggest the money flowed to companies where Koko's wife, Mosima, is a director.

It was channelled through Eskom service provider Impulse International, where Mosima's 27-year-old daughter, Koketso Choma, was a nonexecutive director. The Sunday Times reported last March that Impulse raked in contracts worth about R1-billion from Eskom after Choma joined the company on April 1 2016.

READ MORE: https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/news/2018-02-24-how-koko-and-fa...

Koko Archive: http://architectafrica.com/intranet/category/person/matshela-koko

After Somali piracy, is sailing the Western Indian Ocean safe again?

Sailors from the French Navy ship "La Somme" board a small craft after a pirate attack on a French command and supply ship in 2010. REUTERS/HO/Stephane Dziaoba/Marine Nationale

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the international campaign against Somali piracy. Launched in 2008 following a severe escalation of piracy incidents in the Western Indian Ocean, international navies have operated in the region with a counter-piracy mandate for 10 years.

Significant investments have also been made in building the capacity of regional states to deal with maritime insecurity. International organisations under the umbrella of the United Nations, as well as donors such as the European Union, have helped build the capacity of coastguards and other law enforcement agencies. This has included giving them the capability to do their work, improving the legal justice sector and boosting operations at sea.

Has the international campaign against Somali piracy been successful? Is the threat gone? Is sailing the Western Indian Ocean safe again?

The number of attacks has certainly declined. But the risk of being attacked at sea remains.

Electric vehicles are changing the world. And they're only just getting started

A woman walks past a Mahindra e2o electric car during a media preview in Bengaluru. Reuters/Abhishek Chinnappa

Global interest in climate change – its effects on the environment and society more broadly – is probably at an all time high. Countries around the world, with the glaring exception of the US under President Donald Trump, are increasingly acknowledging the shift that’s needed from a fossil fuel-driven economy to one that is sustainable, green and attempts to mitigate climate change.

One area where this shift will be needed is transportation. In the US, more than 90% of this sector depends on liquid fuels to function; the lion’s share of these fuels goes to passenger road transport. China uses most of its liquid fuels to transport goods by road and both Australia and New Zealand use a fair amount for aviation.

Non-liquid fuels which include electricity and natural gas will become increasingly important in the coming decades. This move is being driven by concerns about air pollution, governmental regulations, social attitudes and rapid technological advancements. The current model of road transportation is also becoming more problematic: private cars powered by petrol and diesel contribute to air pollution, traffic congestion and noise.

Healthy outrage: the story of a pioneer of community healthcare in South Africa

A younger Dr Trudy Thomas engaging with a community in St Mathews en route to visit a clinic. Supplied

Healthy Outrage is an apt title for a story that describes the journey Dr Trudy Thomas travelled during the various stages of her life. Thomas was the pioneer of community health programmes in South Africa. Her work spanned more than half a century, stretching through the dark years of apartheid and into the democratic era when she was asked to run the department of health in the Eastern Cape province after the 1994 elections.

Thomas entered the public health arena at a time when health services were heavily skewed towards white people under the apartheid government. This meant that resources were disproportionately allocated by the state and the vast majority of black South Africans received poor quality and inferior services.

In 1994 the dawn of democracy brought the constitutional promise of healthcare for all. But the optimism of the time was soon to wear thin: for Thomas too. Even before the new government’s first term was up, she had begun to express her disdain at the deterioration of healthcare.

Ramaphosa: a performer and a politician, with buckets of charm

South Africa's new president Cyril Ramaphosa combines easy charm with shrewdness. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Cyril Ramaphosa has had to tread a fine line in moving from the role of negotiator to that of South Africa’s new president. The man who helped the country navigate a peaceful transition from apartheid to inclusive democracy now has to appear “presidential”, as the Americans like to call it.

In the US this is popularly taken to mean the twin superficialities of “height and hair” – taller and better looking candidates have fared better. But in a country like South Africa, the demands are far more diverse as well as culturally specific.

So what makes a successful presidential performance in South Africa?

I would argue that, just as performance is not limited to action on a stage, performance theory can help us critique more than simply an actor’s work. If they’re successful, politicians are consummate performers and politics is often by turn a circus, a tragedy and a spectacle. That one sees the script behind the actor’s lines, the direction strategy behind the staging, is no bad thing. Rather – in all things – we should judge Ramaphosa on his delivery.

One-year-old, R12 million Atlantis park vandalised

Residents say the community has other priorities

By Peter Luhanga

28 February 2018

Photo of a park
The Atlantis smart park built at a cost of just over R12 million was opened less than a year ago. Above: the seesaws have been stolen from their pivots. Photo: Peter Luhanga

Built at a cost of just over R12 million, and opened less than a year ago in July 2017, the Atlantis park is falling into ruin as gangs have allegedly staked it out as their territory. Drug pushers are said to be active while pretending to enjoy the park. Vandals have removed swing sets and the seesaws, and damaged the water pipe which is now shut off.

GroundUp talked to residents who spoke on condition of anonymity. Residents said drug pushers used the park for their activities. One resident said the community had not been consulted by the City about whether the park was needed.

“Residents around the park are not interested in taking ownership of the park. They don’t see the need for the park. If they saw its value, they would have protected it,” he said.

The park has a lawn area with large trees providing shade for picnics and relaxation. The play area has equipment for toddlers and an adventure area for older children. There is also a synthetic pitch and a court for various sports; an outdoor gym for callisthenics; and pathways for walks and jogging.

Green light for Constitutional review of land expropriation

A National Assembly resolution allowing land expropriation without compensation will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back to Parliament by 30 August.

This follows Tuesday’s resolution by Members of Parliament to assign the Constitutional Review Committee to review Section 25 of the Constitution, which speaks to the right of property ownership.

Section 25(2) of the Constitution currently states that property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application for a public purpose or in the public interest, and subject to compensation.

Section 25(3) makes clear that the amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, in the current use of the property; the history of the acquisition and use of the property; the market value of the property; the extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led a debate on this motion, which the majority party, the African National Congress (ANC), amended before it was later adopted following a vote in the NA.

In its motion, the EFF moved that the NA, in terms of Rule 253, establish an ad hoc committee to review and amend section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The ANC amended parts of the motion to read as such: “With the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), [we] instruct the Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.”

Ramaphosa's new cabinet is a motley crew: what he'll need to make it work

Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan were both fired by former South African President Jacob Zuma. GCIS

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced sweeping changes to the Cabinet he inherited from Jacob Zuma. Notably, respected former finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan, who were both controversially fired by Zuma, are back. Ramaphosa said the changes made his government better equipped to carry out its mandate. Politics and Society editor Thabo Leshilo asked Mashupye Maserumule for his thoughts.

Is the new Cabinet fit for purpose - is it better equipped to do what needs to be done?

It could possibly be, largely because the ministries generally regarded as strategic in the economy have been wrestled out of the control of those allegedly implicated in the capture of the state: National Treasury, Public Enterprises, and Mineral Resources. Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and Pravin Gordhan as minister public enterprises are excellent choices. Bringing in former mine worker organiser Gwede Mantashe to head up minerals and energy is also an inspired decision.

The contributions of the three men are desperately needed to get South Africa out of the economic doldrums. The government economic cluster is consolidated. This is what Ramaphosa’s administration needs, at least for now.

Aveng remains in the red, despite valiant effort from Australian subsidiary

Aveng remains in the red, despite valiant effort from Australian subsidiary
© hxdyl – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>Aveng's Australian subsidiary McConnell Dowell contributed a profit of R51m in the six months to end-December from a R47m loss in the corresponding period.
Read more... | Send to a friend

A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa's trees

The polyphagous shothole borer is tiny - but a fungus it's commonly associated with can be deadly for trees. Wilhelm de Beer

Sandton is Johannesburg’s economic hub – home to numerous companies’ headquarters and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. And now it has a new, unwelcome resident: a tiny beetle that could lay waste to several tree species found in the suburb and potentially the wider Johannesburg area. This is particularly concerning, as Johannesburg is considered one of the world’s largest urban forests, with more than 10 million trees.

The polyphagous shothole borer, or Euwallacea fornicatus, seems to be a newcomer to South Africa. It was discovered in the country for the first time in 2017 by Dr Trudy Paap, a postdoctoral fellow at a biotechnology institute at the University of Pretoria.

During a survey for diseases in the KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg, Paap found a lane of infested plane trees. The identity of the beetle was subsequently confirmed and the tiny beetle – they are each about 2mm long – has been found at work in gardens and roadsides in Johannesburg, about 500 km from Pietermaritzburg.

The case against free higher education: why it is neither just nor ethical

Those demanding free higher education don't realise this would be a regressive policy. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s just-ousted Minister of Finance committed another R57 billion to higher education and training over the next three years. In his first (and last – he was removed from the portfolio less than a week later) budget speech, Malusi Gigaba followed through on former president Jacob Zuma’s controversial promise in December last year of fee-free higher education.

The minister’s announcement is likely to be well-received by those who have supported the demand by relatively small student groups that “Fees Must Fall”. Yet there is a major fault that is ignored by those who favour free higher education. It fails to provide a justification for increased allocation of resources to higher education on the grounds of equity or social justice.

There are persuasive arguments that free higher education will be unambiguously regressive. This is because it involves a transfer of resources from lower to higher income individuals within a national population.

What is the future of Cape Town’s water supply?

Here are the pros and cons of desalination, groundwater and recycling

By GroundUp Staff

Photo of people drilling for water
Workers drill for water from the Cape Flats aquifer in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Water will probably continue to flow through Cape Town’s taps throughout 2018. That’s because of the huge effort by most residents of the city and surrounding municipalities, as well as many farms, to save water.

But the drought is not yet over, and the Western Cape’s long-term rainfall average appears to be declining, probably due to climate change. This is why government, national and local, is planning to supply the city with new sources of water.

Here we explain what Cape Town’s water supply will probably look like in future. Even more important than supply, and much more affordable, is reducing the amount of water we use for the long run (which is called demand management). That we’ll discuss in an upcoming article.

More water can get to the city by increasing the supply of water to the dams, desalinating sea water, using groundwater (water buried underground) and spring water (which is also groundwater), and recycling water in the city’s sewage system.

Proposed Foreshore development compared to apartheid

Suspended City official slammed affordable housing plan

By Steve Kretzmann

Graphic of tower blocks
The affordable housing component of the proposed Foreshore development has come under attack. Graphic captured from Youtube video

The affordable housing proposal in the qualifying bid for the multi-billion rand development of Cape Town’s Foreshore reproduces apartheid spatial planning, according to the City’s Transport and Urban Development (TDA) commissioner Melissa Whitehead

This was one of the reasons why Whitehead, who was on the initial Bid Evaluation Committee, was adamantly opposed to the development, she claims. Whitehead has since been suspended.

Her position is contained in her report to a special confidential council meeting on 5 December, setting out why she should not be placed on precautionary suspension following accusations of mismanagement and abuse of power by executive director in the directorate of the mayor, Craig Kesson, and former director of urban catalytic investments Frank Cumming.

The qualifying proposal by Mitchell Du Plessis and Associates (MDA) contains plans for 11 tower blocks along Nelson Mandela Boulevard, with 3,200 market-related units. Ten buildings clustered at the northern-most edge of the Foreshore, beneath the freeways and hard-up against the docks, are proposed for the provision of 450 affordable housing units.

South Africa: Ramaphosa administration lacks a long-term perspective

South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa needs to formulate a long term strategy for economic growth with an eye on the 2019 elections. GCIS

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address and the budget speech delivered by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba – who was removed from the job less than a week later – had something in common: they both lacked an animating narrative. And they both looked backwards rather than forwards.

Ramaphosa pinned his hopes on the National Development Plan which was released six years ago, suggesting that he has not had much time to think about long-term economic recovery.

Gigaba’s budget speech was defined by the bad legacy of former president Jacob Zuma. The parlous state of governance and weak leadership of the economy has been costly to the economy. Essentially, South Africans are bearing the cost of poor leadership.

Both addresses didn’t leave a sense that there has been much reflection on the years ahead, the depth of the economic malaise gripping South Africa, and the storms that lie beyond the 2019 general elections.

Gugulethu - Church removed for shacks

Gugulethu land occupation continued over the weekend

By Vincent Lali

26 February 2018

Photo of a long wooden shack building
Members of the Gospel Church of Power remove their wooden building to make way for residents who wish to occupy the land. Photo: Vincent Lali

On Sunday, Gugulethu residents expressed their anger over a lack of housing by blocking NY1 with a bus shelter, bricks and burning tyres. Residents also forced churchgoers to remove the Gospel Church of Power constructed of wooden planks and corrugated iron sheets to make way for shack building.

Community leader Melvin Tshabalala said, “We have told the church leaders to remove the church from the land. We want them to show us evidence that they either had bought the land or they are renting it.”

“If the City says it is removing informal structures from the land, then it must also remove the church because it is also an informal structure,” said Tshabalala.

He said the church had been on the otherwise vacant land for about 25 years.

A churchgoer, who ask not to be named, protested against the removal. He said, “I used to use drugs, but the church changed my life and made me a child of God. It pains my heart to see my fellow churchgoers take it apart.”

The churchgoers loaded pieces of furniture from the church on vehicles.

Cape Town: Foreshore development was one of the reasons for De Lille fallout

Plans pushed through by senior official, claims mayor’s executive director

By Steve Kretzmann

26 February 2018

Graphic of planned foreshore development
Graphical depiction of the winning bid’s vision of the foreshore. Captured from Youtube video

Political meddling and cover-ups by senior City officials have soured plans for the massive development of Cape Town’s Foreshore, according to documents presented to the City Council.

The qualifying bid for the development of prime land on the Foreshore and the unfinished freeway, announced last week, involves 11 tower blocks and ten other buildings. Political meddling in the bid evaluation process was one of the issues that led to the motion of no confidence in Mayor Patricia de Lille earlier this month. De Lille survived the motion by one vote.

The City in 2016 invited proposals for the development of the six-hectare strip of City land next to Nelson Mandela Boulevard, as well as other City-owned sites on the Foreshore, including Gallow’s Hill.

Six bids were accepted and the presentations were shown to the public at the civic centre in March 2017, with residents invited to vote for their favourite bid.

The qualifying bid was to have been announced in July last year, but this was delayed after the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) was disbanded by then City Manager Achmat Ebrahim, and a new committee was constituted.

Ebrahim stated he had “developed some discomfort” with the BEC composition and process.

Cape Town: Stop the drought conspiracy theories

Hateful messages by ideologues can harm Jewish-Muslim relations

By Nathan Geffen

Photo of people at Newlands Spring
Capetonians collect water at the Newlands Spring. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

For weeks two opposing conspiracy theories about Cape Town’s drought have been circulating. One appears to have traction in the Muslim community, and the other in the Jewish community. In the past few days they’ve entered the mainstream, one receiving support from an ANC politician and the other from the Wall Street Journal.

News24 reported on Friday that the ANC’s Sharon Davids (who has been implicated in corruption) made anti-Semitic remarks in the Western Cape legislature. Davids, according to News24, accused the DA of fabricating the Day Zero water crisis in order to score desalination contract kickbacks from the “Jewish mafia”. She followed this up with more racist remarks about Jews, citing as evidence for her theory that former DA leader Tony Leon is involved in City communications, and that DA MP Michael Bagraim is friends with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Whatever Davids thinks of Leon’s or Bagraim’s politics, to suggest that they are mafia, or trying to fabricate a massive lie about Cape Town’s water crisis, is absurd.

Cyril's compromised compromise cabinet

President Cyril Ramaphosa has wrung some bold changes with his new cabinet while retaining some dead wood for the sake of unity in the ANC.

As opposed to last week’s state of the nation address (SONA) that was widely lauded, political parties have ridiculed Ramaphosa’s “new dawn”, laying into his first cabinet that retained compromised figures including new minister of home affairs Malusi Gigaba, former minister of water affairs Nomvula Mokonyane and new minister in the presidency: women, Bathabile Dlamini.

In creating his first cabinet, Ramaphosa consulted the ANC’s alliance partners in the SACP and Cosatu, a marked departure from his predecessor under whom tripartite relations had been severely strained.

READ MORE: https://mg.co.za/article/2018-02-26-cyril-ramaphosa-cabinet-reshuffle-re...

President Ramaphosa's New Cabinet announced

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced changes to the National Executive and the appointment of David Mabuza as the new Deputy President of the Republic.

Nhlanhla Nene, who held the post once before, has been appointed as Minister of Finance.

In a media briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday evening, the President said he had made the decision to make certain changes to the composition of the National Executive.

“These changes are intended to ensure that national government is better equipped to implement the mandate of this administration and specifically the tasks identified in the State of the Nation Address,” he said.

The Ministerial appointments are as follows:

Communications: Nomvula Mokonyane

Higher Education and Training: Naledi Pandor

Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba

Human Settlements: Nomaindia Mfeketo

International Relations and Cooperation: Lindiwe Sisulu

Mineral Resources: Gwede Mantashe

Police: Bheki Cele

Public Enterprises: Pravin Gordhan

Public Service and Administration: Ayanda Dlodlo

Public Works: Thulas Nxesi

Rural Development and Land Reform: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Science and Technology: Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane

Social Development: Susan Shabangu

Sport and Recreation: Tokozile Xasa

State Security: Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

The Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The Presidency: Women: Bathabile Dlamini

Tourism: Derek Hanekom

Transport: Blade Nzimande

Water and Sanitation: Gugile Nkwinti

The President also announced the following Deputy Ministers:

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Sfiso Buthelezi

Communications: Pinky Kekana

Finance: Mondli Gungubele

Public Service and Administration: Chana Pilane-Majeke

Small Business Development: Cassel Mathale

The positions of Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises and Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will remain vacant.

From housing as a commodity to housing as home and a human right - 2 March 2018. Geneva, Switzerland

#maketheshift: From housing as a commodity to housing as home and a human right

2 March 2018. Geneva, Switzerland.

+ INFO: www.housingrightswatch.org

In this ocassion it will held a "Shift"meeting. Shift is a new worldwide movement to reclaim and realize the fundamental human right to housing – to move away from housing as a place to park excess capital, to housing as a place to live in dignity, to raise families and participate in community.

More information:

How electricity changes lives: a Rwandan case study

Men transporting a large bag in the Muvumba river valley in Kigali. A massive Rwandan electrification programme sets out to benefit rural communities. Shutterstock

More than 1.1 billion people in developing countries lack access to electricity. Some 590 million live in Africa, where the rural electrification rate is particularly low at only 14%.

A lack of access to electricity hampers development. It affects everything from people’s ability to learn to the creation of enterprises and the provision of public services like health care. This lies behind the United Nation’s goal of countries achieving universal access to electricity by 2030.

But the investment requirements to meet this goal are enormous. According to the International Energy Agency investments worth $640 billion will be needed if the UN goal is going to be met. About $19 billion is required every year in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

In spite of the importance of electrification, little evaluation has been done on the socioeconomic impact of investments into providing power. We set about plugging this gap in our paper that focuses on Rwanda. We looked at the effects of electrification on households, firms, health centres and schools in rural areas.

South Africa's reading crisis is a cognitive catastrophe

South Africa needs to build a reading culture. UN Photo/P Mugabane/Flickr

When the late Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko published his seminal book, “I write what I like”, in 1978 it wasn’t about individual self-expression or even self-indulgence. It was a political statement with its origins in the work of Brazilian adult literacy activist Paulo Freire.

Freire identified the profound connection between reading, understanding the world and so being able to change it. Half a century after Biko was murdered by South Africa’s apartheid state, his country is no nearer being able to do this.

Instead, many of the country’s children are struggling to read at all. That’s according to the results of the international PIRLS 2016 literacy tests on nearly 13 000 South African school children. These showed that 78% of grade 4 children cannot read for meaning in any language. South Africa scored last of the 50 countries tested. Also worrying was that there were no signs of improvement over the last five years. In fact, in the case of the boys who were tested, the situation may have worsened.

Why the dominance of big players is bad for South Africa's economy

Small economic players stand no chance to thrive in South Africa due to domination of key sectors by monopolies. Shutterstock

Talk of radical economic transformation in South Africa requires a second look if it is to deliver the goods. While the concept has assumed varying definitions in recent times, it’s generally accepted as representing a push for structural change of the post-apartheid economy in a way that creates space for the black majority to participate fully.

But the idea is missing a critical element – policies to break up historical monopolies and oligopolies and make space for emerging small to medium sized economic players. To fix this, the country needs to make micro-economic policy adjustments – that is it must remove distortions and imbalances in various sectors of the economy.

The political winds of change blowing through the country, as represented by the ascension of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency, offers a window to address the current policy gaps.

Zuma has gone: but the ANC's inability to separate party from state is still a threat to democracy

GCIS

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), glossed over the causes of what nearly degenerated into a political crisis following its momentary affray with former president Jacob Zuma over his removal from office.

That he has now gone doesn’t mean the country’s democracy is out of danger.

This is because the problem wasn’t necessarily Zuma, but a party system that has unwittingly begun to institutionalise aberrations from the country’s Constitution. The aberration – and the practice that upended the constitution – is that getting rid of the president of the party necessitated the president of the Republic being recalled.

This isn’t what should happen. The power to remove the president of the country lies with the parliament, which elected him from among the members of the national assemby. A recall from the position of party president is a party political process not catered for in the Constitution. That’s why it only has political rather than legal effect. This means that if the president had refused to resign after the party had asked him to go, the only way to remove him would have been through the prescribed parliamentary processes.

Vacancy - Manager - Education and Accreditation

 

 

Advertisement

 

The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is a regulatory body for the Architectural Profession.  SACAPs primary role is to protect the public by maintaining a register of Architectural Professionals, within the profession through a Code of Professional Conduct, the identification of work that may be performed by registered persons and publishing guidelines for professional fees.

 

Position: Manager - Education and Accreditation  

 

SACAP is looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and energetic person to join SACAP as a Manager: Education and Accreditation.  The purpose of the position is:

 

GSA Boogertman + Partners International Lecture Series 2018 - Prof Jo Noero, 01 March 2018

Modular momentum driving the construction industry in 2018

Modular momentum driving the construction industry in 2018Factories in flat-packs and homes built in factories - modular construction will build new momentum in 2018. However the industry is battling with significant skills shortages and must manage increasing globalisation.
Read more... | Send to a friend

How Western Cape farmers are being hit by the drought

Lagoons and vineyards from Gydo Pass in the Western Cape. Water is crucial for such commodities. Shutterstock

Much has been written about the ongoing drought and critical water shortages in the city of Cape Town. Residents are bracing themselves for Day Zero – the moment at which most of the city’s domestic taps will run dry.

But there’s also a great deal to worry about beyond the city’s limits and deeper into the surrounding farmlands of the Western Cape. Agriculture is an important part of the province’s socioeconomic fabric. The sector contributes 2% to South Africa’s national GDP, more than a fifth of which comes from the Western Cape.

Unpacking the latest tax hikes in South Africa

Shutterstock

South Africa’s 2018 budget seemed to be all about tax hikes. The most significant was the first increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) since 1993 from 14% to 15%. Sibonelo Radebe asked Muneer Hassan to make sense of the tax increases.

What is your general impression of the budget speech?

The 2018 budget was predictable in that it was similar to previous years – expenditure rose, funded by an increase in taxation. What was notably different in this year’s budget is that the issue of fruitless and wasteful expenditure was in the spotlight. One new measure being proposed on this front is that state owned entities will be denied tax deductions for expenditure or losses that are classified as fruitless and wasteful.

To minimise the annual increase in budgeted expenditure, a reduction in cabinet expenses amounting to R85 billion over the next three years is proposed. This is a positive proposal which shows a serious intent by government to cut expenses where possible. It can also be taken as a hint that not only a cabinet reshuffle, but also a possible reduction in the cabinet number count, is on the cards.

What is your impression around the key tax announcements?