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Automotive industry highly unlikely to show growth in 2016 – KPMG

The lacklustre economy, consumers’ desperate financial position and affordability of vehicles are three key areas that will stunt the growth of the South African automotive industry this year, says audit, advisory and tax services firm KPMG. According to KPMG auto- motive sector partner Gavin Maile, the local automotive industry will continue to decline, as the country currently has “extremely sluggish” gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 0.7%.

“South Africa would need to maintain a GDP of 4% before any decent growth in vehicle sales can take place. Also, we foresee that a hike in interest rates, inflation and the low GDP will not help ease the pressure on the consumer in 2016,” he warns. Further, KPMG senior industry analyst Ashleigh Raine-Botha says local motor manufacturers will also feel the pinch of the exchange rate weakness on both imported components and vehicles and, subsequently, will need to increase their prices.

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“Overall, the picture does not look good – consumers are in the weakest position that they have been in for a long time and are facing increases in every direction, as electricity and water prices will most likely rise, along with rates for vehicle services and spare parts,” she points out. Maile and Raine-Botha agree that the devaluation of the rand against most currencies at the end of December has rubbed salt in the wounds of motor companies that import vehicles or components.

“Companies that produce vehicles locally are also impacted on by the foreign exchange rate which has taken its toll on the cost of importing components used to manufacture vehicles. The low oil price has shielded South African motorists from a massive increase in the fuel price, but, consider the implications when the Brent crude oil price increases. This will affect our fuel price drastically, making fuel costs for any consumer or logistics operation extremely expensive,” Maile explains.

He adds that the weakened economy has made the market less conducive for buying and even operating vehicles, as highly indebted consumers face increases in insurance, fuel and other services, which significantly influence being able to afford and maintain a vehicle. New Mobility Despite the difficulties that the automotive industry faces, a new movement in mobility is being followed to mitigate issues such as rising fuel costs and expensive services. “The global movement to becoming more environment- friendly has driven the notion that smaller combustion engines and electric engines are often more powerful and cheaper to operate. KPMG surveys on this matter have noted that more people are turning to alternative power sources for their vehicles. Consumers will soon realise this is the future,” Maile highlights. While there is a global shift towards using alternatively powered vehicles, such as electric cars, Raine-Botha explains that infrastructure to accommodate electrical cars in South Africa is not yet on par with the advanced economies. “The hindering factor for such vehicles is the lack of an adequate infrastructure for charging purposes. Until that is well established, the market will not take off.

The onus is on both government and the private sector to ensure that this is taken care of before we are likely to see good growth in sales of electric vehicles.” She concludes by indicating that Nissan and BMW announced a partnership to investigate the possibility of creating infrastructure for electric vehicles, adding that “this shows initiatives are in place by the private sector”.

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Source: engineeringnews


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How sustainable cities can drive business growth

The notion of sustainable cities usually conjures environmental themes, but sustainable urban design’s greatest impact could be on economic performance. By creating improved quality of life conditions for residents, sustainable cities simultaneously lay the foundation for wide-ranging economic benefits.

The greatest competition in today’s footloose economy is the fight for human talent, and urban quality of life strongly determines whether cities can attract a smart workforce, as well as the innovative new companies employing them.

Cities weren’t always ideal for business, and for decades the attraction of space and privacy drew people toward suburbia, with businesses following suit. But within the last decade people have begun returning to the city, and this trend symbolically accelerated in 2015 when millennials overtook Generation X as the largest generation in America’s workforce.

This generation is often characterized as smart, single, career-focused and experience-driven — a group attracted to cities with walkable neighborhoods, public transportation options, educational opportunities and cultural activities. But more than just young adults are increasingly drawn to the features of urban living, and employees of all ages are working longer hours, pushing them to live closer to work to free up more precious leisure time.

A changing workforce

Smart companies have taken heed, realizing the benefits of an urban location over a suburban one.

A recent report by Smart Growth America, “Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown (PDF),” tracks the migration of nearly 500 businesses back downtown, with firms citing increased employee recruitment and retention as the main reason for their move.

And the talent pool these companies seek prefers both living and working in vibrant, accessible neighborhoods. As such, the surveyed companies relocated to more central, urban areas that increased their average locational walk scores (from 51 to 88), average transit scores (from 52 to 79) and average bike scores (from 66 to 78).

Some of Corporate America’s biggest names are leading this charge.

In January, General Electric announced it would relocate its headquarters from suburban Connecticut into downtown Boston as part of the company’s effort “to attract the talented workers who prefer to live and work in cities.” Major companies joining the suburban exodus include ConAgra Foods and Motorola Mobility in Chicago, Expedia in Seattle and Zappos in Las Vegas.

The smart (and green) choice for cities

So if today’s workforce prefers modern urban living, and businesses seek locations catering to employee interests, which urban development practices should government and developers consider in long-term city planning?

A handful of urban design features form the core of sustainable cities, all of which have the common objective of being focused on the person (or employee) instead of the car, street or building.

These features, as outlined in the “Green and Smart Urban Development Guidelines” developed by our firm, Energy Innovation, are tailored to human interests while supporting a clean urban environment and healthy economy. The Guidelines outline a dozen features related to urban form, transportation and energy and resource management, comprising the foundation of sustainable urban development.

Five features stand out for cities and businesses seeking smart growth synergy:

  1. Mixed-use neighborhoods: Intermingling residential, commercial, cultural and institutional spaces makes amenities more accessible. By locating destinations closer together, people feel less need to drive from one place to the other, encouraging them to walk or bike more often.
  2. Public transit and transit-oriented development: In sustainable cities, public transit becomes an alternative to cars when the distance between destinations is too far to walk or bike. Cities encourage public transit use by focusing development around public transit systems through transit-oriented development, which locates amenities or services near transit stations or on transit lines.  
  3. Non-motorized transit: Non-motorized transit such as walking and biking are priority modes of transportation in sustainable cities, and are reinforced by mixed-use development locating amenities and services within comfortable distances.  
  4. Small blocks form a connected urban grid: Small street blocks create a dense urban grid, enabling direct pathways and making trips shorter and safer for pedestrians and bikers. Narrower streets make intersections less of an obstacle, and when combined with elements such as one-way streets or dedicated bus lanes, help traffic move more efficiently, too. 
  5. Public green space: Attractive public spaces such as parks and plazas bring economic and cultural richness to a city by providing neighborhoods with an identity and sense of community, while also offering an outlet from the clamor of regular city life.

The business payoff

These features have an enormous payoff for a city’s inhabitants — residential and business alike. Our recent study, “Moving California Forward (PDF),” found significant economic benefits from smart growth – a development pattern emphasizing compact or infill urban development to facilitate mixed-use neighborhoods and non-motorized transit options – in California’s urban regions. 

Benefits included average annual household savings of up to $2,000 from reduced transportation costs and more than $1 billion in annual public health savings from reduced air pollution and car use, both by 2030.

Sustainable cities directly benefit businesses by attracting a smart and diverse workforce, and indirectly boost the corporate bottom line by improving workforce health and time efficiency. These “payoffs” from sustainable cities fall into four categories:

  • Increased time efficiency: Commute times are reduced when people live closer to their jobs, and the transition from private cars to public transit or non-motorized transit reduces traffic congestion.  Today, the average car commuter loses 42 hours every year — up to 80 hours in some places — due to traffic. Companies benefit when employees avoid sitting in traffic, earning back nearly two days’ worth of time every year.
  • Access to talent: Skilled workers increasingly want to live in walkable and centrally located places close to services, amenities and job opportunities. Not only are companies more attractive to skilled workers if they are located nearby, but their central location accesses a greater talent pool for hiring.  
  • Improved health: A physically and mentally healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Shorter commutes means more time for people to get involved in activities improving their minds and bodies — research shows every hour per day spent driving increases the risk of obesity 6 percent. Alternatively, biking even just a couple miles to work can increase cardiovascular fitness and reduce cancer mortality. A healthy workforcereduces workplace absenteeism while increasing job productivity (quantity of work) and performance (quality of work).  
  • Innovation inspired by diversity: Sustainable cities attract demographically and professionally diverse talent — a major catalyst for new ideas. In “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Richard Florida notes diversity trumps ability in driving innovation and creativity. Access to public spaces, a feature of sustainable cities, fosters interaction among diverse groups of people.

Cities with universities, laboratories and cultural institutions are also the perfect platform for cross-industry collaboration. Mixed-use development facilitates connections through proximity to spaces where people can interact, while walking and public transit encourage unplanned connections and exchanges among people.

The smart choice

The city always has had a dynamic relationship with its businesses, and today’s influx of new inhabitants opens fresh opportunities for sustainable urban development.

In “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jane Jacobs wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” A city’s identity is the product of its inhabitants, and it is nothing without them — much like businesses, the identities of which are driven by their employees.

As peoples’ preferences evolve over time, cities must grow sustainably to attract the right mix of new residents and innovative businesses.  While “sustainable” sounds complicated, the basic pattern is pretty simple — build up walkable, bike-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use neighborhoods.

It is the city’s role to adopt smart growth features to keep “providing something for everyone” — that’s the smart choice and the sustainable choice. The result will be new liveable places, better for business and the environment.

Source: greenbiz


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Sanral to receive R12.5-billion cash boost

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) would receive a R12.5-billion cash boost from government this year, transport minister Dipuo Peters announced on Tuesday.
Delivering her budget vote in Parliament, Peters said this would form part of government’s commitments to upgrading non-toll roads in the country.
“Government is investing R1.1-billion in the upgrade of the R573 Moloto Road,” said Peters.
“We have also set aside R12.5-billion for Sanral’s non-toll roads, which constitutes 85 percent of the national road network of 21,403 kilometres across the country.”
At a media briefing earlier in the day, Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli said any cash injection should not be misconstrued as pointing to liquidity problems within Sanral.
“There’s two parts to SANRAL’s business. The one part is a non-toll road part of it which constitutes 25 percent of our road portfolio out of a total of 21,403 kilometres of roads and then there’s the 3,120 kilometres of road which are tolled roads which is only 15 percent of our portfolio.
“It is wrong to conflate the two and to turn around and say we are facing financial difficulty,” Allie said.
“We believe that in SANRAL…that we’ve been very prudent in terms of how we have managed our business, so we’re not running into bankruptcy or anything of that sort…”
Alli conceded though that they’ve been batting to raise money as a result of uncertainty over the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
In January, a panel appointed by Gauteng premier David Makhura in 2014 made various recommendations on cushioning the impact of e-tolls in Gauteng on the poor and middle class in the province.
These included that the current e-toll system be reviewed to ensure affordability, equity, fairness, administrative simplicity and sustainability.
“Unfortunately for the moment, no, there hasn’t been an appetite for our paper because of the uncertainty that has been created,” Alli said when asked if the process was affecting SANRAL’s ability to sell bonds.
“Were very confident that once that pronouncement has been made by the honourable deputy president of our country that…certainty will return and the appetite for our paper will return as well.”
SANRAL was awaiting an announcement by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is leading consultations on what the final funding model for the GFIP will be.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as the GFIP is concerned,” Alli said.
Source: eNCA

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Ghana’s bicycle which is creating jobs while it saves the soil: Bamboo Bikes Initiative

By using an abundant – and green – crop, the Bamboo Bikes Initiative has won international prizes.

Six years ago, Bernice Dapaah decided to forge an unconventional path into employment. About to graduate with a business administration degree but facing a bleak

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job market in Ghana, she joined forces with a handful of engineering students to create an innovative product from an abundant crop: bamboo.

Her inspiration was an initiative, led by the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan, exploring sustainable, green ways to help producers out of poverty. “There’s a lot of unemployment in the country and we didn’t want to just follow the masses and look for white-collar jobs,” she says. “We wanted to come up with an idea that would also create employment for other youth.”

The result is the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a social enterprise based in Kumasi, southern Ghana, where strong, lightweight and durable bikes are made out of bamboo and built by an ever-growing team of young people specially trained for the role. The project has serious green credentials, too: not only are the bikes an affordable, environmentally sound alternative to cars, but bamboo is fast-growing, produces up to 35% more oxygen than other trees and helps to prevent soil erosion, a significant cause of concern for farmers in Ghana.

It’s an idea so brilliant the team won a Seed award in 2010, just six months after their first prototype, and have since gone on to win 10 other awards internationally. Along with the financial assistance, Dapaah says, “Seed gave us some technical support to develop a business plan, and gave us a lot of media platforms, too. Since then we have been growing and trying to see how best we can expand the business.”

The initiative has sold more than 1,000 bikes, including sales in Europe and the US; in Ghana, they cost $120 each, around $40 more than a secondhand steel bike, but as Dapaah points out, bamboo has a number of qualities that make it an attractive alternative to steel bike frames: “Bamboo is five times stronger than steel – in China they use it as scaffolding,” and bamboo bikes are more environmentally friendly to produce than steel bikes, as their construction uses much less energy. To meet demand while aiming to mitigate climate change, the team plans to plant 10 trees for each one they use in areas where the bamboo will help restore the soil after years of land degradation.

Dapaah and her co-founders have trained more than 35 people to make the bikes and are establishing two new workshops outside Kumasi, in the Brong Ahafo region, which will employ around 50 more youths. The idea is that each employee, once trained, can train and employ five or six others, meaning the bikes can be produced on a small scale all over Ghana.

“My favourite part of the job is when I go to the workshop to see the youths and know they are able to earn a living,” Dapaah says. “I feel so happy when I see we have been able to create a bit of laughter for them.”

Source: The Guardian


 

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Peters calls for greater air transport liberalisation in Africa

South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters urged, on Wednesday, other African countries to join the eleven (including South Africa) that, in January, decided to liberalise air transport between them and create a single air transport market by 2017. She did so in a speech officially opening the Aviation Stakeholders Convention, which was delivered on her behalf by Department of Transport director-general Pule Godfrey Selepe.

“This [agreement] is a massive achievement for the aviation industry in the continent as a whole,” read Selepe. “Africa is big enough for all member States benefiting from joining these eleven countries.” She expressed understanding for those countries that wished to protect their national airlines, but pointed out that this was damaging air transport in Africa as a whole. “Liberalisation can lead to increased service levels and lower fares.” In turn, these would facilitate trade, tourism and enhance economic growth and development. She highlighted how those African countries which had already liberalised air transport on a bilateral basis had benefited as a result. These included South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia. Liberalisation of the South Africa/Kenya route in the early 2000s had, for example, increased air travel between the two countries by 69%. She also pointed out that agreements which allowed low-cost carriers to operate between African countries had, in particular, led to fare reductions. However, within the Southern African Development Community, some countries were maintaining closed air transport regimes. Peters also highlighted the importance of air safety. “South Africa remains committed to supporting safety initiatives. … South Africa is a key member and participates in regional air safety groups and initiatives.”

Source: Engineering News


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SA electric cab up for R1.2 million innovation prize

Four South Africans are among 10 finalists up for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) award for 2015, including an environmentally-friendly minicab.

The IPA, first launched in 2011, is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) and mobilizes African innovators to invest in African-led solutions to ensure a sustainable, prosperous Africa.

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Three winners will be chosen on 13 May, sharing a US$150,000 cash prize (R1.8 million), with the most outstanding innovation receiving US$100,000, and two prizes of US$25,000 for innovation with the highest social impact and best business potential respectively.

The AIF said it received a record 925 applications from 41 countries for its awards, surpassing the previous year’s entry record of 903.

The four South African nominees for IPA 2015 are:

  • David Gluckman: Lumkani fire detection.

An off-the-shelf fire detection device and alert service that uses radio frequency (RF) transmission technology suitable for informal dwellings. In the event of a fire, the device triggers an alarm to alert the family.

Within 20 seconds, the device transmits a signal that sets off heat detectors in a 60 meter radius to elicit a community-wide response to the fire. This device prevents fires from ravaging high population density communities and boosting community mobilization efforts.

Lumkani

  • Johann Pierre Kok: Scientific engineering educational box: ‘Seebox’.

A scientific engineering educational box that allows children to enjoy a practical and experimental way of learning the sciences and electronics, and measuring almost anything electronic or scientific. ‘Seebox’ also offers short videos explaining what is being measured.

This tool addresses the shortage of electronic and scientific professionals, and affords children the opportunity to learn first-hand the principles of science and electronics by building, measuring and experimenting.

  • Lesley Erica Scott: Smartspot TBcheck

Smartspot’s flagship product, TBcheck examines the accuracy of machines used to detect TB diagnosis. They are designed to assess whether these machines are functioning optimally. Unlike other products, TBcheck is easy and safe to use and can be delivered to laboratories safely and economically.

This will make diagnosing TB far easier and might go a long way in curbing the TB epidemic in Africa. Today TB is second only to HIV and AIDS as a leading cause of death in the continent.

  • Neil Du Preez: Mellowcabs

This is a suite of technologies that includes recovering the kinetic energy that is typically lost in the braking process, converting it into electricity and storing it.

Other associated innovations include hydrogen fueled Mellowcabs, adaptable, renewable body shells and an app to book cab rides that can be paid for with cash or credit.

Its user-friendly services include tracking the cab’s location, Wi-Fi access and mobile charging during the ride. The minicab service fills the gap for commuters who need organized, safe and affordable micro transport within a three mile radius.

This environmentally-friendly taxi service also eases traffic congestion in cities without causing pollution.

Mellowcab stats

The remaining nominees for IPA 2015 are:

  • Adnane Remmal, Morocco: A patented alternative to livestock antibiotics.
  • Alex Mwaura Muriu, Kenya: Farm Capital Africa is a well developed risk sharing agri-business funding model that draws in investors for a share of farming profits.
  • Jean Bosco Kazirukanyo, Burundi: New type of cement “OSP” that protects waters against carcinogenic lubrication oil spills.
  • Kyai Mullei, Kenya: M-changa, also known as E-harambee. A mobile application that empowers individuals and organizations to initiate and manage fundraisers via sms or web devices in an efficient and cost effective way.
  • Marc Arthur Zang, Cameroon: The cardio-pad. An affordable tablet that records and processes the patient’s ECG (heart signal) before transferring it to a remote station using mobile phone networks.
  • Samuel O. Otukol, Uganda: Water distillation system and process (dsp). This innovation proposes an alternative source of viable drinkable water in areas of water shortage or where only sea water is available.

 

Source: Business Tech


 

 

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SANRAL plans to bring e-tolls to Cape Town

South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) plans to introduce e-tolls in Cape Town in order to fund road maintenance.

Mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, joins Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath in studio to discuss the legal battle the city is currently having with SANRAL.

Herron says the decision process that led to the adoption of SANRAL’s plans to toll freeways were legally flawed, and the city does believe that the cost to consumer and the economy is justified.

Are there other ways to fund road improvements and maintenance?

Watch the video here.

Source: News 24


 

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Ethiopia charting a path to a low carbon future with light rail

By Eric Mutei

At the end of a long day at work, the only thing you want to do is get home quickly. You’re exhausted from dealing with your boss, terrible colleagues or crazy clients. But traveling home is just another drawn out nightmare to endure, thanks to the woes of the transport sector. The only reliable and affordable means of transportation for a common city dweller in Addis Ababa is the state operated city buses. Apart from the long stretchy queues, these buses are overcrowded and groaning heavily under the weight of the city residents. Not to mention the endless traffic jams. This is the daily transit scenario in the streets of Addis Ababa.

The scene above was the common case of daily transit until the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project launched in December 2011. The rail is a first in clean initiative in the horn of Africa to enhance public mobility. The light railway of Ethiopia is the first urban metro light rail scheme to be built in a sub-Saharan country outside of South Africa.

The Ethiopian Railways Corp. (ERC) began construction of the double track electrified light rail transit project in 2012. It stretches 23 kilometers covering the better part of the city, and is a welcome relief for the city residents. The light railway consists of two lines running for a total distance of 32km with underground and over ground sections, 39 stations, and two operators that are the Ethiopian Railways Corporation and Shenzhen Metro. The 41 three-section 70% low-floor light rail vehicles are designed to run in pairs at up to 70 km/h. All have tinted windows and rubber components specified to resist premature aging from the effects of strong sunlight at altitudes of 2400 m.

ERC intends to register the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project as a Clean Development Mechanism project. The rail project is one of the pillars of a green growth strategy in the transport chapter of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE), to consolidate greenhouse gas emissions of the country at 2010 levels. The vision of this rail project was to see a modern railway infrastructure and service by an efficient railway company that supports Ethiopia’s endeavor in building a globally competitive economy that uses electricity and connects the country’s development centers and links with ports of neighboring countries.

The Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy (PDF) lays down a plan for Ethiopia to develop a carbon neutral, green economy by 2025. According to the CRGE strategy report, under the BAU scenario, emissions from the transport sector will increase from 5 Mt CO2e in 2010 to 41 Mt CO2e in 2030. The development and implementation of a National Railway Network and the Light Rail Transit and supported projects (Transit Oriented Development) will result in significant GHG emission reductions of 9 Mt CO2e/year by 2030.

Building electrified railways lays the base for low carbon transport in Ethiopia and will assure clean transport tomorrow. Railroads can contribute towards severing Ethiopia’s economic growth from diesel fuelled trucks. Availability of reliable and clean transport is a precondition for Ethiopia’s development. Trains can make use of a domestic energy source, hydropower, and help fuel the economy in a green way. The clean character of the fuel without emission of greenhouse gasses and the durable economic structure without dependency on imported fuels is sustainable.

Years ago the air was cleaner, but with the drastic growth in population, more than 4 million, the number of 20 year or older vehicles and developmental projects, the air is polluted above the traffic gridlock. The light rail train as cleaner public transist gives a reprieve to the public, combined with the hope for more electric cars, it is expected to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector to less than 9 tonnes by 2030. It is an environmentally friendly venture aimed at combating the ever growing pollution in the city. It is not only convenient, providing transport for over 15,000 people per one direction and 60,000 in all four directions, but affordable for the residents. It is a milestone in helping Ethiopia sustain its growing economy, as Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

The Light Rail Train has brought glimmers of hope to the common man. At the very least, one can get home easily at the end of the day without the crazy hassle of looking for and struggling in transit. The commuting city residents can breathe easier using clean transit as they take part in building their nation.

Source: Nazret.com


 

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Mobility must be driving force as we move SA forward

WITH last week’s delivery of the 2015 Budget, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has provided the mechanism by which the country’s socio-economic development path over the coming year will be implemented. There is no doubt that the amount of work that has been undertaken to develop the strategic frameworks necessary for large-scale economic growth is now becoming a reality as the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Infrastructure Plan are in their implementation phases.

For South Africa to thrive economically, and to position it as a country on the move on an increasingly more complex and highly competitive world stage, world-class mobility must be at the heart of any strategic plan and budget direction. When the world’s leading decision-makers gather for the International Transport Forum Summit in May this year in Germany, at the top of the agenda will be the issue of how progressive countries can achieve greater mobility for a more connected world.

There is no doubt that one of the greatest concerns today for emerging markets and developing countries around the world is how effective transport systems are interconnected to shifting global trade flows, supply chain management, tourism expansion and sustainability – especially as greater numbers of people in the developing world are moving to cities.

Ensuring mobility for a connected world is at the heart of any successful growth and development strategy, whether it is providing transport infrastructure to get people to work, or getting goods to global and domestic markets.

Investing

For South Africa to move forward, particularly during times when global market pressures are negatively affecting our domestic economic environment, it is imperative that mobility is a driving force for socio-economic change. In this regard, Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has set itself a vision to be the number one public transport operator. To achieve this goal, R53 billion will be invested in acquiring a new fleet for metro services over 10 years and about R30bn capital expenditure programme over the next three years to modernise the rail business.

This means that the best locomotives, infrastructure, and the best technologies global standards have to offer must be implemented, and be incorporated into our daily living. As with the ambitions of the National Infrastructure Plan, to achieve such mobility requires budget support to make them a reality, and by so doing, positively change the lives of the country’s citizens.

Moving forward, we hope to see a positive response and recognition of the enormity of the task ahead in terms of completing essential infrastructure development initiatives that will create the much-needed mobility and connectivity in the country for growth.

Originally, when the New Growth Path was developed for the country, it set a goal of five million new jobs by 2020; it identified structural problems in the economy and pointed to opportunities in specific sectors and markets or “jobs drivers”. The first jobs driver identified was infrastructure, recognising that with large scale infrastructure development came the laying of a solid foundation for higher growth, inclusivity and job creation.

For our part at Prasa Technical, we embraced the ethos behind the 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (Sips) which aimed to fast-track catalytic projects that had the potential to fast-track development and growth – rail and transportation was at the very heart of so many of those Sips.

They provided the necessary infrastructure to develop new industrial corridors across the country; to upgrade the country’s ability to move goods efficiently from hub to hub; to radically improve the logistics capability around the country to stimulate greater trade and development; and importantly, to unlock the economic opportunities in key parts of the country and to stimulate the creation of new jobs.

Nene’s Budget is critical if South Africa is to become a “mobility for socio-economic growth” focused country, and join those other progressive countries around the world that are looking to effect real change through mobility.

Our mandate requires us to focus our energies and finite resources on the strategic core areas such as strategic rail infrastructure – rail track, electrical equipment, and stations: depot upgrade, re-signalling of the network, development of walk-way bridges and pair-way, upgrading of information technology, and the investment in critically needed new rolling stock as well as refurbishment of the current rolling stock.

The organisation’s strategic infrastructure department oversees the total life cycle management of Prasa’s asset base. It is also responsible for developing and driving essential new investment projects in Prasa’s infrastructure to meet long-term requirements of the country and its mobility aspirations. The challenge going forward is to ensure that South Africa’s competitive position is enhanced through an efficient transport system for an inclusive socio-economic development approach.

If that is achieved, together with essential innovation in the provision of fully integrated public transport solutions, and the critical human capital, then the goals set out in the NDP, the National Infrastructure Plan, and the New Growth Path 2020, can ultimately be achieved.

Saki Zamkaxa is chief executive of Prasa Technical.

Source: IOL


 

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Rea Vaya services suspended

The Rea Vaya bus service in Johannesburg has been suspended until the service has enough drivers to operate it, operating company Piotrans said on Monday.

“The situation currently is we are embarking on the recruitment process and, on the plan, to see when we are going to resume service,” said general manager of strategy and transformation Dumisani Mntambo.

“The number of the drivers we are left with are too few to operate the service. We will announce during the course of this week, once the plan is established, where and when the service may resume.”

On Sunday, Piotrans said around 160 drivers who abandoned their buses two weeks ago without explanation had been dismissed following a disciplinary hearing.

Sixty-five bus drivers remained in the employ of the company.

“All those workers found guilty of misconduct have been dismissed with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement.

“The dismissed workers have been notified of their rights to appeal against the sanction imposed against them as a result of the disciplinary inquiry.”

Piotrans said at the time the drivers had not communicated their grievances to management.

The company said it instituted disciplinary action against the drivers who “abandoned buses in the streets of Johannesburg and absconded from work since February 2″.

The majority of bus drivers failed to heed the call to appear before a disciplinary hearing, it said.

“The company had made reasonable efforts to ensure that the notice to attend the hearing had been delivered to the employees, and further made means to ensure that the relevant trade union is notified of the matter at hand.”

The drivers were found guilty of various offences, including failing and refusing to drive the route that was issued to them, failing and refusing to park the buses in the prescribed authorised area, and purposely attempting to sabotage the company’s services.

“They conspired among themselves to bring the company buses to a halt, leaving the buses unattended in an unauthorised area in contravention of the company’s policies, rules and procedures.”

Source: Engineering News


 

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