Call to rescue East London port

THE Port of East London should be taken over and run by the municipality in partnership with the private sector to rescue it from decades of government neglect, the local business chamber has said.

Les Holbrook, Executive Director of the Border-Kei Chamber of Business, made the call in a hard-hitting column in this issue of Eastern Cape Industrial & Business News. It focuses on what he describes as the “sorry state of our once grand asset”.

“Over the years we here in East London have tried to understand the development agenda and long-term strategy for our beautiful port,” he said, adding that state neglect of the harbour wasn’t a new phenomenon and dated back to 1954 when the then South African Railways and Harbours (SAR&H) withdrew the only gantry crane in East London to “give” it to South West Africa, now Namibia.

“Since then the port has put up with loading and offloading goods and containers via mechanical cranes fitted to relatively small craft. It’s a practice that prevails till today, 63 years later.”

The East London Terminal, now managed by the state-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), consists of a Ro-Ro terminal, the largest grain silo on the South African coastline, break-bulk and containerised cargo facilities.

Holbrook said the last development of any note was Phase I of the car terminal in 2002, with subsequent spending either falling short or woefully misdirected.

He gave the example of the purchase of a mobile crane to manage purpose-built containers during the loading and offloading of coal. “We were told to be grateful for a commodity not wanted and for a crane that has not done much work for its original intention. To this day, however, despite seven new gantry cranes destined for Port Elizabeth and Ncura, there’s still no gantry crane for East London.”

He said East London’s once profitable and sought-after ship repairs industry – with a fully functioning dry dock that could accommodate all but the very big vessels – had been allowed to fall into disrepair.

Although efforts were underway to revive the industry, “it’s too little too late and all but one repair company remains to service our entire coastline between Cape Town and Durban”.

“The sorry list goes on and on, blaming the Heritage Council for not returning the Latimers Landing to its former glory of fine establishments and tourist attractions. Closing of Buffalo Bridge for 18 months longer than necessary, causing incalculable losses to commuters and the City, is another example.

“There is only one conclusion. The State does not care.”

Holbrook said the solution was to hand ownership of the port to the Buffalo City Metro Municipality, adding that most ports in Europe and the rest of the world were owned, managed and operated by the private sector, in collaboration with the local authority.

“At our Maritime Summit in October 2016, the City of Gothenburg was presented as a successful case study. Imagine this sign greeting visitors to our Port: ‘Welcome to the port of East London, owned managed and operated by the City’.”

The municipality had not commented at the time of going to press, but given its ANC majority is unlikely to back Holbrook’s call. Former mayor, Alfred Mtsi, last year announced plans to position the city as a freight and logistics hub, and said that Transnet had set aside R2.9 billion “for the redevelopment of the port infrastructure”.

However, Mtsi did not say when the redevelopment would begin, prompting Holbrook at the time to denounce the government’s empty promises. “We have heard this before, but nothing actually happens. East London is being pushed to the back. Most developments are going to Port Elizabeth, which has two ports,” he said.

Read Holbrook’s full column on page 4 of the latest issue of Eastern Cape Industrial & Business News.

150m reasons why KZN is the hottest and coolest place to invest

TWO developments totalling more than R150 million demonstrate why KwaZulu-Natal is still considered one of the coolest and hottest places in South Africa for business investment.

The first, a R99.2-million Cold Storage facility at the Dube TradePort adds much needed capacity to Durban’s citrus exports, while the second, R54.3-million new furnace will significantly boost the output of a North Coast foundry, providing further impetus to local exports.

MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala officially opened the new multi-purpose iDube Cold Storage facility recently. Located within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, the state-of-the-art facility will tap into to the growing demand for chilled and frozen perishables storage within the region.  The facility will initially cater to meat importers servicing local retailers as well as exports of dairy, fruit concentrate and citrus to markets in the European Union and the Far East.


“From production to processing, it is essential that we provide healthy and highly competitive business operating environments, which will present new opportunities for both established and emerging enterprises,” Zikalala said.

“To date, we have been successful in attracting R1.5 billion in private sector investment, through various developments within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, with a further R4.25 billion in investment that is in the immediate pipeline for developments are to be located within the second phases of Dube TradeZone.”

The new facility is funded in part by KZN Growth Fund, a public entity that is under the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

“KZN Growth Fund provided R63.4 million in funding towards iDube Cold Storage to help establish one of the largest multi-temperature cold storage facilities in KwaZulu-Natal. The facility is designed to handle both chilled and frozen perishable products,” said Aubrey Shabane, the growth fund’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.

“Our funding of this project was motivated, in part, by our support of the Black Industrialist Programme, as 50% of the iDube Cold Storage’s shareholding is in the hands of previously disadvantaged individuals. Furthermore, one of the medium-term targets of the company will be to allocate 10% of the shares to employees who will be drawn from BEE qualifying groups,” Shabane said.

iDube Cold Storage falls under the umbrella of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Black Industrialist Programme, which is amongst the initiatives aimed at delivering on South Africa’s transformational goals that are being rolled out within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, as well as other locations that are supported by the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal.

The new facility will employ around 80 staff when it is operating at full capacity, drawing its labour from a pool of experienced professionals in addition to creating new job opportunities for local communities, that will be added to the 5 500 jobs that have already been created throughout the entire Dube TradePort precinct.

Tebogo Mogapi, the iDube Cold Storage Chief Executive Officer, commended both National and Provincial bodies for their outstanding assistance in bringing to reality their vision of a multi-temperature cold storage facility. “We are grateful to Dube TradePort, the KZN Growth Fund, the IDT and indeed the province of KwaZulu-Natal for giving us the opportunity to establish our company within this Special Economic Zone and for their continued support throughout the construction phase of the iDube Cold Storage Facility.”

iDube Cold Storage’s 4 500 square meter facility has the capacity to handle 8 600 mobile pallet positions, which can store up to 12 000 tonnes of perishable product. In addition to this, the facility is also equipped to provide a number of ancillary services that include weighing, sorting, repackaging, order picking, and container plug in of products as well as providing distribution and logistics solutions.

New furnace

In the second big investment in KZN, Finland based Metso is increasing its manufacturing capacity for large crusher wear parts castings used in minerals processing by investing in a second melting furnace at its Isithebe foundry on the KZN north coast. The EUR3.5-million (R54.3-million) investment is aimed at ensuring the continued availability of Metso’s heavy crusher wear parts globally.

“The demand for large crusher wear parts is growing in the mining industry. With this investment, we ensure we can meet our customers’ needs. Through the renewal of the foundry, we will improve our capabilities to deliver high quality heavy wear parts,” said Joni Meronen, director of Mining Crusher Wears at Metso.

The renewed foundry will be able to manufacture wear parts for the Nordberg MP2500 cone crusher as well as for Metso and third-party primary gyratory wear parts with full use of the latest manufacturing technologies. The first product deliveries from the new furnace are scheduled for May 2019. During the renovation project, production of castings will continue as usual in the existing facilities.

“We are the leading service partner for the mining industry, and the only supplier able to provide a full portfolio for comminution, from spare and wear parts to equipment and service. This investment is part of our development agenda to execute our commitment to ensuring availability and reduced lead times for our customers,” said Jose E. Perez, senior vice president of the Crushing and Screening Wears business line at Metso.

The Isithebe plant is part of Metso’s global foundry network, consisting of foundries located in Ahmedabad, India; Přerov, the Czech Republic; Quzhou, China; and Sorocaba, Brazil. The renewed foundry will be built to follow Metso’s strict sustainability and quality principles as well as international standards.

“Sustainability is of utmost importance to Metso. We are developing our operations in a safe and sustainable manner, in close dialogue with local communities,” said Thando Makhoba, director of the Isithebe foundry.

First female Chief Executive for ports parastatal

TRANSNET Port Terminals (TPT) has appointed seasoned Transnet executive Nozipho Sithole to the position of Chief Executive with effect from 01 July 2017, the first woman to have been appointed to this high-ranking position within the Transnet Operating Division since its inception.

Sithole has had a long and varied career at Transnet and leaves Transnet Freight Rail’s Iron Ore and Manganese business unit where, as General Manager, she led the high performing iron ore and manganese value chain. She has also previously held the position of General Manager National Command Centre at TFR. The last position she held at TFR before joining TPT is that of Divisional Chief Operations Officer.

“As Chief Executive of TPT, Sithole is responsible for translating the Group Market Demand Strategy into clear operational targets and leading the organization in driving collaboration and integration in line with Transnet Value Chain Coordinator (TVCC) business requirements, “said Mlamuli Buthelezi, Transnet’s Group Chief Operating Officer.

Sithole said: “I look forward to making a difference at TPT and driving operational excellence while creating a culture of continuous improvement in safety, quality and operating processes. TPT is South Africa’s leading provider of cargo handling services to a wide spectrum of customers. Through service improvement we can promote volume growth across the sectors of containers, bulk, break bulk and automotive as well as ensuring optimum utilization of our assets.”

Although Sithole has spent many years at TFR, she is well versed in port matters having been Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port Manager Port of Durban from 2000-2003 and TNPA General Manager Operations from 2004 – 2007.

She graduated from Wits University in 1989 with a B.Com LLB and practiced law at Weber Wentzel where she qualified as an attorney, conveyancer and notary public of the High Court before joining Transnet in 1994 as a Legal Advisor.

In 1999, she obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Operations and Management Supervision from the Milpark Business School. Thereafter, she obtained a qualification from Quantum Leap South Africa in the field of human behaviour.

Strong women are taking the aviation industry by storm

AIR travel – which has long been considered something of a ‘boys’ club’ – is slowly but surely making way for inspirational women with a love for all things aviation.

In fact, with top women like Lindie Bruyns blazing a path forward, it’s been difficult for the industry not to sit up and take note.

At just 30, Bruyns is the Operations Manager for local low-cost carrier, FlySafair. This means she is responsible for putting together the airline’s flight schedules, including making sure the right size aircraft is deployed on the right route. “Otherwise the airline might end up with 23 passengers without seats – which is generally a bad idea,” she quips.

Bruyns also manages the day-to-day flight operations of the airline, closely monitoring and managing each aircraft movement – as a result she starts every morning at 4.15 when the first crew starts signing on for stand-by.

Swimming well in the deep-end

Her career in aviation began at a young age as a receptionist for a local air charter company. “That’s where the bug bit,” she muses, explaining that she was given the opportunity to help out in operations and decided then and there that she wanted to build a career in aviation. “While I loved aircraft, I never really wanted to be a pilot or hostess. It was the ground operations which I found so intriguing.”

Her first real operations role was also on the charter side of the industry, where she found herself thrown in the deep-end a number of times. Running an entire charter operation by the age of 23, Bruyns developed most of the knowledge she now uses on a day-to-day basis. “The rules in the charter industry are very strict and you quickly learn the importance of keeping your clients happy,” she comments.

It was two years ago that Bruyns made the move across to FlySafair, where she says the challenges she faces are bigger but so are the rewards. “Luckily I enjoy solving puzzles,” she jokes.

One of Bruyns’s critical functions as Ops Manager for FlySafair is delay management. “If there is a delay we need to manage the situation effectively so that the passengers arrive at their destination with the shortest interruption possible and the best possible communication along the way,” she explains.

She says the airline has a strong management team through which pride in on-time performance in instilled throughout the operations. “We are driven – not only to be the best, but to stay the best,” she says. “Arriving at the top is easy – it’s staying there that’s the challenge.”

A good fit for aviation

Bruyns believes that a key characteristic to being good at her job is high attention to detail. “I need to be capable of looking at the bigger picture while at the same time focusing on those finer details,” she says.

She also believes that an effective Operations Manager is conditioned to think on their feet, often enabling them to act quickly and effectively, in a crisis. “For example, if there’s a delay with a possible knock-on effect on four or five different flights, I am able to line up several plans of action to ensure that if my plan A fails for some reason, I’ll still have plans B and C to fall back on,” she says.

As companies recognise aviation as an area where women have a great deal of value to add, the dynamics of the industry are starting to change, says Bruyns. “In our operation alone we are seeing many more women in powerful positions. In fact, FlySafair’s recently appointed Safety Officer is also a woman and she has made a major impact in a short time. We’ve got our own ‘girls’ club’ going which has been embraced and encouraged at FlySafair.”

Bruyns maintains that in order for the industry to truly transform, companies need to start taking an active role in building careers for women in the industry. “Women in aviation aren’t limited to the roles of hostesses or administrators. We can contribute to so many other areas of the industry. We simply need to be empowered to do so.”


National Building Regulations workshop to focus on roofing

The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) will be hosting a free CPD-accredited workshop in Pietermaritzburg on the 31st of August with the assistance of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) on the practical and legal aspects of the National Building Regulations with specific reference to SANS 10400 Part L: Roofs.

THE Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), SAQA-registered Professional Body for the engineered timber construction industry, will be hosting a free CPD-accredited workshop in Pietermaritzburg on 31 August with the assistance of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) on the practical and legal aspects of the National Building Regulations.

The institute said in a statement that it had come to its attention that a large percentage of buildings do not comply with the law, specifically with regards to the implementation of the National Building Regulations SANS 10400 Part L: Roofs, which covers SANS 10243 (Manufacture and Erection of Timber Trusses), SANS 10163 (Structural use of Timber), SANS 1783 sections 1 and 2 (Sawn Softwood Timber) and SANS 10005 (The Preservative Treatment of Timber).

“A factor contributing to this phenomenon is a measure of ignorance in the sector around the responsibilities associated with each function in the building process. There are many misconceptions held among some professional practitioners and contractors in the built environment about the scope of their involvement up to project completion in ensuring the conditions of the relevant regulations are met.”

The institute added that the municipal building control office relies on the knowledge and integrity of the professional team responsible for designing, overseeing and final inspection of the roof structures to ensure conformance to the regulations by issuing a certificate of compliance.

To address this controversial issue, the ITC-SA, with the assistance of the SALGA, will explain the roles and responsibilities of the professional practitioners in the built environment with respect to implementing SANS 10400 Part L: Roofs.

“The purpose of the workshop is to sensitize all the role players in the built environment who are tasked with submitting building applications to the local authorities about their legal responsibilities and to clarify any misconceptions about their accountability and responsibility in the process.”

The workshop is free to attend and is set to be hosted at the Ascot Conference Centre, 210 Woodhouse Road, Pietermaritzburg on 31 of August starting 8.30 for 9:00 and is validated for 1 CPD point by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). The programme is as follows:

9:00 Gavin Brown – Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA).

Site-made Trusses vs. Prefabricated Trusses (the LEGAL way).

10:30 Abe Stears – South African Timber Auditing Services (SATAS).

Certification of Structural Timber – What does it mean?

11:15 Bruce Breedt – SA Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA).

Timber Treatment, Standards and Regulations.

12:00 Werner Slabbert (Jnr) – Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA).

Timber Frame Housing.

12:30 LUNCH

13:15 Thihangwi Madau – National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

14:00 Favourite Khanya – South African Local Government (SALGA).

14:30 Q&A.

For more information, including how to register, email or, or call Amanda Obbes on 011 974 1061 or Jenni de Waal on 021 854 4435.


Coega key to gas power plans

NATURAL gas is a key component of government’s soon-to-be announced energy and resources plans and the Eastern Cape will be central to the successful roll-out of those plans.
That was the message from Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi while on a visit recently to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
The minister said the Eastern Cape, and Coega in particular, had been identified as a hub of the government’s plans to boost the use of natural gas as part of wider efforts to shift the country’s dependence on coal to alternative sources of energy.
“Our plans still need to be finalised to see where coal, wind, nuclear and other energy sources will be utilised,” she told media during the visit. She said her department planned to finalise the integrated energy plan (IEP) and integrated resource plan (IRP) within the next few months.
“We can say with certainty that gas will be critical for power generation,” Kubayi said, adding that supplies of natural gas would have to be imported until local sources had been found. Several gas
exploration projects we underway, she said.
Kubayi, accompanied by economic development MEC Sakhumzi Somyo and Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip, visited the Dedisa Peaking Power plant, where its Chief Executive, Arnaud de
Limburg, explained that while the facility was currently running on diesel, it was able to switch over to gas quickly once the decision to do so was made. Such a shift, he said, would boost its output significantly from 335KW to 500KW.
In addition to the R3,5-billion Dedisa plant, The Coega SEZ has been identified by the Department of Energy as one of two preferred locations for a 1000 MW gas-to-power facility with an estimated investment value of R25 billion. The other location is in KZN, but the minister’s latest comments
about Coega’s future role as a gas power hub has fuelled speculation that the zone may now be the preferred location for this mega power project.


The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies together with First National Bank (FNB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Public Sector Banking, Mr Kgosi Ledimo have today signed a pledge that will improve access to finance for Black Industrialists (BI) to fast-track accelerated economic transformation at a ceremony that was held in Johannesburg.

Speaking at the event, Davies outlined that the partnership will see the two entities share information regarding various products offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), with a focus on facilitating information-sharing regarding the dti’s incentive programmes.

“By committing to this agreement, we undertake to collaborate with FNB in marketing our incentives and other related programmes on their website, we will also put measures in place to evaluate applications for financial support that are referred or received through FNB. This partnership will improve access to finance particularly for businesses in manufacturing, thus ensuring government’s strategic objective of creating new role-players in the economy,” said Davies.

Ledimo expands on this “we have dedicated resources to assisting governments focus on growing entrepreneurship and involving a greater number of previously disadvantaged qualifying businesses. The MoU to disseminate information through the FNB website is a commitment from FNB, to show how serious we are with working with government in achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plan 2030.”

the dti has identified the Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS) as a pilot to initiate the proposal with a view to adding new incentives to previously disadvantaged and/or predominantly black-owned businesses.

“Through this programme, government hopes to contribute towards shifting the demographic composition of South Africa’s industrial sector and engage the under-utilised source of jobs, revenue, taxes and innovation, which are black Industrialists. Since its establishment last year, the Black Industrialists Programme has approved 52 projects for support, with a projected investment value of R4.5 billion; this has been co-funded with other financial institutions,” added Davies.

The long term goal with the dti and FNB is focused on enabling a greater number of South Africans access to the dti’s schemes and funding platforms through making this information more accessible through FNB’s platforms, starting with The Black Industrialist scheme.

“As a Bank, we model our response to market through our brand mantra – how can we help you? – and in response to the need to drive a much higher number of active entrepreneurs in South Africa, we continue to look for innovative ways of playing our part in enabling a better South Africa,” concludes Ledimo.



Nexus Property Group (NPG) recently received instruction to sell a large industrial warehouse in Stanger Industrial as part of a family portfolio sale.

The property, located at 11 Smithers Road in Stanger, is being sold via auction and is coming to the market for the first time in 15 years.

The Industrial property extends over 3 523m2 with a gross lettable area of 3 706m2 and consists of a large warehouse of 2770m2 with 8m eaves height and assembly areas totaling 936m2.

The sale presents investors with the chance to purchase property in an area where the majority of the property has historically been held by a small number of landlords.

The auction will take place on 1 August 2017 at 12h00.

Engineering sector strikes still avoidable if all parties show the will

IN response to the warning by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) that it intends taking industrial action to ‘shut down’ the country’s engineering sector, The South African Engineers and Founders Association (SAEFA) today said that it seems that that NUMSA does not really have the desire to avoid strike action, despite the massive financial repercussions this will have on all employees in the sector, whether union members or not.

Responding to the comments made by NUMSA general-secretary, Irvin Jim, at a press briefing on Tuesday, Gordon Angus, SAEFA Executive Director, said that the move by the union is not unexpected, but it is entirely unnecessary.

“As previously stated in the media, SAEFA has been aware of NUMSA’s apparent desire to initiate strike action, seemingly at any cost,” Angus said, “as evidenced by their unwillingness to participate meaningfully in any of the dispute meetings thus far.”

Angus pointed out that while the other unions involved in the negotiations at least made attempts to counter the offers put on the table by employers in the sector, NUMSA had not contributed to any of the discussions, choosing rather to stick resolutely to its initial demands.

“To reach a successful conclusion, any negotiation process requires a measure of ‘give-and-take’ from all parties,” Angus emphasised, “but the counter offers presented by the various unions barely changed from the initial demands – with NUMSA not changing at all, with the ongoing insistence that wages must increase by an amount that is almost triple the current inflation figure.”

Angus explained that a demand for a 15% increase, on top of wage rates that are already impacting negatively on the global competitiveness of South Africa’s engineering and metals manufacturing sectors, is simply untenable.

“NUMSA’s unwillingness to budge on their unrealistic 15% increase, or to discuss the other demands made by employers, provides a clear indication that the organisation has always had the sole intention of initiating a strike which, as all stakeholders know, will not only impact the industry, but will also cause immense financial hardship – not just for union members, but for all employees in the sector and their families.”

He also restated his earlier warning about the long-term negative impact that strike action will have on the sector and the SA economy as a whole. “Industrial action doesn’t just have an immediate effect on an industry. Tthe impact can linger for years afterwards, especially in terms of limiting future employment opportunities that could otherwise have been created had long-term growth not been stunted by strikes.”

In this regard, Angus pointed to other major sticking point in the negotiations, which is the employers’ suggestion of a R20 per hour starting wage for new, unskilled employees. This is lower than the current minimum wage of R40 per hour and sparked fears amongst the unions that the lower earnings would ultimately be passed on to all workers, including those who have extensive work experience.

“The R20 per hour starting wage suggestion represents the sincere effort by employers to stimulate sustainable job creation and sustainability in the industry by making it affordable for them to take on and train additional staff. We understand that one employee earning R40 an hour may find it difficult to support an extended family, but if the lower starting wage provides employment for additional family members, the total financial burden on households will effectively be lessened.”

Angus is adamant that despite NUMSA’s claims that employers are ‘imposing’ strikes on their employees, the opposite is, in fact, true.

“Employers earnestly want to avoid industrial action and remain very willing to do whatever they can to find a solution to this impasse that meets the requirements of all parties, but a negotiation requires more than one participant and we urge all the unions, and particularly NUMSA, to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the best interests of their members and of the industry and country by putting aside their plans for strike action and joining employers at the table for a genuine and transparent negotiation process.”

Durban to host global impact assessment conference – public urged to submit session proposals

DURBAN has been selected as the host City of the 38th International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Conference. The event will be held from 16 to 19 May 2018 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).

The conference, which is expected to attract more than 1 200 environment experts from 87 countries, aims to address environmental challenges that are posing a threat to the sustainability of the human, social and natural environment.

The City is calling on environmental professionals and members of the public to submit session proposals to lead thought-provoking discussions during the conference. Youth will also be empowered with local, young environmentalists exposed to training opportunities that will be provided for them during the conference.

EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the City was proud to be the host of an event of this magnitude, which will be held in the country for the second time.

“This is a platform for specialists from various countries to come up with solutions on environmental challenges that affect all our lives,” said Gumede.

The conference will touch on issues that speak directly to the realities faced by African countries today in trying to balance the environment, the impact it has on growing economies and the urgent need to preserve natural resources.

Gumede urged the public and environmental advocates to submit proposals on issues affecting the community that they want addressed at the conference.

“By communities playing a role in developing the conference agenda, it will help develop strategies on how to best manage the environment,” she said.

Members of the public and environmentalist professionals are urged to submit their session proposals by 31 July 2017. To submit a session proposal, visit:

For more information about the IAIA Conference, contact Chumisa Thengwa on 031 311 7517