We may have forgotten just how vital the transportation sector is to our economy and our growing nation…
Since 2005, South Africa has been celebrating October as Transport Month and 12 years later, we may have forgotten just how vital the transportation sector is to our economy and our growing nation. While there are certainly challenges that need to be addressed, such as the high road death toll during holidays, there is a great deal to be grateful for as we move towards integrating transport systems to provide mobility and accessibility to all South Africans.
Sustainable job creation and skills development
Before the dawn of democracy in 1994, South Africa lacked a reliable public transport system. The only modes of public transport were crowded commuter trains and a handful of minibus taxis.
Now, however, we have a public transport system that caters for millions of commuters, including a world-class, high-speed Gautrain, properly maintained roads, international airports to be proud of and we also have vehicle manufacturing plants that have grown significantly over the years.
Nissan South Africa is one of eight automotive brands manufacturing cars in the country and together, they have invested billions of rands in skills development and plant upgrades which enable the production of high-quality vehicles.
Thousands of jobs have been created over the years and hundreds of people have received training all over the world in an effort to foster ongoing educational opportunities.
The South African government has been incredibly supportive of the automotive industry with programmes such as the Automotive Production and Development Programme and, in turn, the industry has provided opportunities for people from previously disadvantaged communities while also investing in original equipment manufacturers and other entrepreneurs in this sector.
In recent years, the local motoring industry suffered from a critical shortage of good engineers and this hampered carmakers’ ability to achieve their manufacturing goals while continuing to be competitive in a global context.
Nissan SA’s solution was the Nissan Graduate Development Programme, which initially started off with research at Nissan’s plants in Mexico and North America to establish a best-practice model. Since the programme started in 2012, it has produced 53 engineering graduates per year, of which 50% are women. Nissan copied the programmes from its best plants and the results have been very promising because highly qualified engineers, who have valuable hands-on experience, are being produced.
Stimulating the economy
The important aspect of these largescale projects is that they show confidence in South Africa and they stimulate the economy directly through jobs and indirectly through ongoing international investments that ensure new projects are given the green light.
In an effort to support black economic empowerment, Nissan recently introduced onsite suppliers to its Rosslyn plant to reduce logistics time and costs, and in the next few months, Nissan plans to introduce a Nissan Incubation Centre to assist small, black-owned businesses to get into the automotive supply chain.
Upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities
Strategic investments in the transport sector over the years have transformed the quality of life of millions of people who were previously excluded from the economy. Now, there are reliable and safe transportation services that are enabling much-needed socio-economic development.
The government envisions that by 2020, more than 85% of the population of South African cities will be within a kilometre of an integrated rapid public transport network. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the Tshwane Rapid Transit System are already carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers per week, according to the City of Tshwane.
The long-term plan for the BRT system is for it to cover 330km and to stimulate urban regeneration by bringing underprivileged communities closer to economic opportunities.
Everything from economic growth to social services and personal ease of movement is dependent on transportation, so during this month, take the time to appreciate that we are lucky to live in a country that has grown immensely and that continues to provide opportunities for all South Africans. As a major stakeholder, job creator and innovator in the transport sector, Nissan SA is proud of the country’s achievements and is optimistic about South Africa and Africa’s ability to prosper well into the future.
Via: Nissan South Africa
The Portfolio Committee on Transport is concerned to hear that Gautrain will receive a subsidy three times bigger than that received by the Passanger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).
The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, said she failed to understand how Gautrain will get the largest subsidy when it transported the least number of people. She wanted to know if the National Treasury had been consulted on this issue.
“You should be able to tell the Committee the things you require so that the Committee can assist you. This (subsidy issue) is the elephant in the room. What do we do?” Ms Magadzi asked. She also wanted to know if Gautrain still has plans to expand into Soweto.
Prasa board member Mr Williams Steenkamp told the Committee that Prasa was also perplexed by the subsidy allocations. “Prasa in the Western Cape enjoys around 60 to 67% of the market share and yet the subsidy allocation is skewed towards the bus service. The subsidy allocation compared to the ratio of consumers is grossly unfair,” Mr Steenkamp said.
He indicated that a meeting with Gautrain and another with the Gauteng MEC for transport regarding expansion towards Soweto had taken place. “We made it clear to Gautrain that we do not see why they want to service an area that Prasa is currently servicing. If they are getting the money for that they should pass that to us,” Mr Khena said.
Ms Magadzi wanted to know if vandalism and criminality on trains are having an effect on commuter numbers. She also asked if there is a relationship with the bus rapid transport systems and the taxi industry. “We cannot talk about an integrated transport system if rail is not involved and talking to other role players. The road role players should be feeders to the trains. That would make your work easy,” she said.
Despite the current project affordability constraints, South Africa has made exponential improvements in progressing its public transport projects, says professional services firm KPMG.
“There is increased awareness of the absolute need for better public transport,” stresses KPMG infrastructure advisory head of global infrastructure major projects De Buys Scott, further highlighting that key project achievements include defining a proper strategy for public transport services.
He adds that this is what prompted the public and private sectors to initiate several public-transport infrastructure projects in recent years.
Key transport project milestones include the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) R53-billion passenger fleet refurbishment and replacement programme, the programme to refurbish and replace PRASA’s ageing infrastructure, the completed and ongoing implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems across the country, as well as the Gautrain’s extension-feasibility study to investigate expansion areas for the rapid passenger rail system.
The Gautrain and PRASA projects are key flagship projects in which KPMG is currently involved.
The company is assisting PRASA with the requirements and studies needed for the rolling stock, technical depot, station and testing facilities, and the Gautrain with its fleet-expansion project and extension- feasibility studies, as well as the sourcing of potential alternative revenue.
Scott believes that KPMG’s ability to assist with these projects was underscored by the company being awarded the 2015 Global Financial Adviser of the Year by infrastructure news and resource centre the Infrastructure Journal, in its yearly Global Awards for Excellence, which took place last month.
Scott maintains that the PRASA investment will play the most significant role in accommodating South Africans in public transport.
“PRASA’s passenger fleet refurbishment and replacement programme, when completed, will provide double the transport capacity at double the speed in a safe environment, thereby creating a material improvement in the system.”
The agency’s current fleet, which has reached the end of its design life capacity, will be replaced by new, faster and more reliable trains. These will be procured from France-based transport company and original- equipment manufacturer Alstom.
The first trains are expected to be delivered and commissioned by the second half of 2016. Up to 3 600 new train units will be deployed in the next ten years.
Scott says the refurbishment of the Metrorail system will also provide those with a higher living- standards measurement with an alternative to private car use, which might reduce the use of private- and public-vehicle road transport.
Scott further highlights the need for the public sector to seriously consider improving long-distance passenger train systems in South Africa.
“Systems like the Shosholoza Meyl – PRASA’s long-distance passenger rail services division – need to be investigated for a sustainable business model,” he suggests, adding that after defining the model, a feasibility study and procurement roll-out should follow.
The Shosholoza Meyl currently operates various train routes across South Africa, carrying about four-million passengers a year. Long-distance services are currently also supported by long-distance bus services for intercity and interprovince transport requirements.
Scott reiterates that public transport remains a significant catalyst “for changing mindsets and driving investment into more robust and enabling infrastructure for the country”, adding that the correct passenger and freight transport projects and programmes are currently under way in South Africa.
“However, we need to appreciate the time required for these projects to be properly bedded, and we need to be aware that they must be monitored, periodically evaluated and amended accordingly.”
These actions are mandatory, as several of the projects are greenfield investments for South Africa, he adds, further suggesting that South Africa can advance the development of its transport systems by drawing from other global initiatives – specifically those in other developing countries – in terms of what worked better and what lessons were learnt.
“As long as there is an open mind to other possibilities and efficiency enhancers, South Africa is on the right track,” he concludes.
The push to have motorists use public transport and walk around Sandton ahead of the closure and alteration of surrounding roads is unrealistic and unsafe, a Sandton commuter has said.
October will see Sandton roads being closed or altered as part of the EcoMobility Festival, which aims to push more motorists to use public transport.
This represents a fundamental change to those who commute to Sandton by car everyday for work, and less so for those who use public transport. The road closures will last the whole month, with some of the changes made, such as certain park-and-rides, to continue after October.
For the first time in South Africa, the EcoMobility World Festival will be held in Sandton. The first such festival was held in Suwon City, South Korea in 2013.
For the month of October, key parts of Sandton will be closed to private vehicles. Those who work in Sandton will need to use alternative forms of transport, such as buses, bicycles and the Gautrain, or travel on foot.
News24 canvassed a few opinions from people who worked in Sandton or commuted there, prompting mixed reactions.
Both Precious and Saskia work in shops in Sandton City, which is in the middle of road changes.
“I think it’s a very good idea. We [are] trying to stop the harmful emissions that are hurting the earth so I’m all for it,” Precious told News24.
“People must enjoy walking. They must use their legs more and… exercise because it’s healthier and they get to enjoy the atmosphere. Walking around as opposed to driving, you get to see everything, so I’m all for it.”
This was echoed somewhat by Saskia, who also wondered how those commuting into the area might feel come October 1.
“It’s going to take… time to get used to it and people might get frustrated. Walking is not bad. I use public transport.”
Renee, who sometimes comes to Sandton for work, felt it was a good initiative, but had concerns whether the whole exercise was practical.
“I just don’t know if it’s realistic for South Africa because… in our country, things are so unsafe, and I just don’t know if it’s going to be safe enough for me to walk so I’m not trusting it 100%. I think it’s a great initiative in theory. In practice, I don’t know if it will work,” she said.
Robert, who frequents Sandton for shopping and does not work far from the area, echoed Renee’s concerns, calling the exercise irresponsible.
“It’s a bit irresponsible without having a back-up plan. I know there is always a back-up plan but I don’t believe the plan will be executed correctly.”
On Twitter, the same applied, with some praising the move while others called it madness.
The R27-billion Gautrain project has contributed around R20-billion to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) over the six years it took to build the rapid-rail link, notes a KPMG Gautrain economic impact report.
Construction also sustained 121 800 jobs, and increased government revenue by an estimated R5-billion. Lower income households received around R2-billion during construction, mainly through wages and salaries, says the report.
It also notes that, for every R1 in new invest-ment into the economy by the Gautrain, an addi-tional 73c was added to the Gauteng economy and 16c to national government revenue.
Investment into the possible expansion of the Gautrain implies that an additional five jobs per R1-million spent will be sustained during construction.
Future expansion will also imply poverty alleviation in that 17% of additional household income generated will flow to low-income households.
When looking at current Gautrain operations, the system contributes R1.7-billion a year to provincial GDP, while sustaining about 6 000 jobs in Gauteng in 2013.
The system also increases government revenue by around R400-million a year, with around R200-million received by lower-income households, again mainly through wages and salaries.
The South African construction market is to be boosted by a new 10-15 year project funded by Chinese company, Shanghai Zendai, to build a new city in Modderfontein in eastern Johannesburg. Once compete, the city will include 35,000 new houses, an education centre, a hospital, and a sports stadium and will house around 100,000 residents.
Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai bought the 1,600 hectare plot of land back in November 2013 for R1.06 billion from South African chemical and explosive company AECI and has plans to develop the site into a world financial centre to rival New York City and Hong Kong. The project is forecast to take around 15 years to complete and will provide jobs for local contractors, engineers and other workers in its construction, as well as 100,000 jobs in the new services available upon completion. The new city site is located on the Gautrain route between the OR Tambo International Airport and the central business district of Sandton in eastern Johannesburg, and will soon include a new Modderfontein station to enable easy access.
The transaction to purchase the property was one of the single largest foreign investments ever in South Africa. Shanghai Zendai is a Hong Kong listed investment company that develops and manages property projects in northern China, Shanghai City and Hainan province and hopes that the Modderfontein project will create a new hub for Chinese firms looking to invest in sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa is the second largest economy on the African continent and the construction sector is set for a boost due to the South African government’s National Infrastructure Plan which focuses investment in energy, transportation, telecommunication and housing sectors. The construction sector experienced a major boost in 2010 when South Africa hosted the Fifa World Cup, but the economic downturn caused a slow down of growth. Recent government focus on infrastructure development has seen a rapid urbanisation in the country and the project at Modderfontein illustrates the significant influence of foreign investment. Foreign investment is one way by which the South African construction industry is overcoming the challenge of cost overruns that many domestic companies face due to the unavailability of funds, the time-consuming roll out of labour, labour unrest, and major project delays.
Key players in the South African construction market should be aware of the upcoming trend towards ‘green’ buildings. In an effort to promote sustainable development, construction companies are increasingly focusing on developing energy-efficient buildings and sustainable construction solutions.
Source: Companies and Markets.com
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From growing glaciers to making rain with lasers, what are the innovative technologies that could help us tackle the global water crisis?
It’s estimated that we use 9tn cubic metres of water every year. As the global population grows, it is becoming an increasingly precious resource, with millions forced to walk for more than a mile to collect their daily supply. We investigate the innovative technologies that will help tackle our water crisis in future.
1. Growing glaciers
More than half of the world’s fresh water is stored in glaciers, 15 times more than all of the world’s lakes, rivers and wetlands combined. As a result of climate change, almost every glacier studied by the World Glacier Monitoring Service has been found to be shrinking and meltwater is simply lost to the rivers and sea.
In her book Adventures in the Anthropocene, Gaia Vince tells the story of Indian geo-engineer Chewang Norphel, who lives in Ladakh on the edge of the Himalayas and who has sought to counter the problem by growing glaciers. Norphel diverts meltwater onto little plateaux where it freezes. He has created 10 artificial glaciers this way, which can be used for water in the dry summer months.
2. A bath without water
At the age of 17, Ludwick Marishane was sunbathing in Limpopo, South Africa’s northernmost province. His friend said idly to him: “Man, why doesn’t somebody invent something that you can just put on your skin and you don’t have to bath.”Marishane did exactly that. He researched on his Nokia 6234 mobile phone, eventually formulating a lotion called DryBath. Marishane says that DryBath – a blend of essential oils, bioflavonoids, and odour-eliminating chemical tawas –saves four litres of water ever session, a total of a million litres in total.
3. Ultra water efficient shower
We are all familiar with the moment. You get into the shower, turn the tap, then avoid the water until the temperature equalises. For Peter Cullin, from Adelaide, this is a problem. “Every minute of every day, in millions of homes around the world quality fresh drinking water is lost to the drain from inefficient showers.” To solve the dilemma, Cullin has created his “Cullector Ultra Efficient Shower”, a screw-in device that captures water at the beginning of a shower and feeds it back into the system. If installed in 1,000 showers, Cullin says the device would save 200m litres of water a year. A similar system has been invented by Richard Ogodeton from Brighton.
4. The lifesaver bottle
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”, wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This paradox struck Michael Pritchard while watching news reports of the Boxing Day tsunami a decade ago. Clean water was being brought in on trucks as the floodwater was too dirty. To solve this problem, he invented his “lifesaver” bottle, which uses a pump to force water through a 15-nanometre filter, cleansing it of all bacteria and viruses. Since its launch, the Lifesaver Bottle has been used by hikers, aid companies and the British army in Afghanistan.
5. Rainmaking with lasers
In the 1840s, James P Espy thought burning large fires in the American west would bring rain to the east. In the 1950s, there were attempts at cloud seeding. Now, the idea of rainmaking has returned to the scientific agenda. The idea this time is to fire lasers into the atmosphere. Properly-directed pulses of light have been shown to help ice sublime and vapour condense. The World Meteorological Organisation recently debated the future use of this new technology. One of the possibilities is to use lasers to induce rain at times of drought.
6. The fold up toilet
Along with the shower, the toilet is one of the home’s greatest source of water waste. As much as seven litres can vanish in a single flush and, wanting to improve matters, two students from the University of Huddersfield have inventedIota, the folding toilet. Iota’s design is markedly different to the traditional toilet and, as such, makes more efficient use of water. Gareth Humphreys and Elliott Whiteley, Iota’s inventors, claim that if installed it could save 10,000 litres per person every year.
7. Leak monitoring
Despite all the water wasted inside the home – dripping taps, inefficient toilets and showers – utility companies acknowledge that as much as a third is lost to leaks before it even arrives. Tackling this problem is Zonescan Alpha, a software that pinpoints leaks and relays data back to a control centre. It works by embedding sensors throughout a network and has been successfully trialled by Albstadtwerke, a German utility company, which says it helped reduce waste by 2m litres.
8. Solar powered water purification
Hot climates suffer the most from a lack of water, making the invention of 16-year-old American, Deepika Kurup, all the more intriguing. Hailed as one of the USA’s brightest young scientists, this year Kurup was awarded the US Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her ingenious solar-chemical purification process. This involves exposing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to ultra violet radiation from the sun to produce a photo catalytic composite that cleans water. “This technology is green, safe, cost effective and easily deployable,” said Kurup.
Source: The Guardian
Already home to leading companies like BMW, Nedbank and SAGE VIP, the multi-billion rand Menlyn Maine green city development in Pretoria is set to get 26,500sqm of new office space in three new buildings from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016.
Menlyn Maine Investments is pioneering the Menlyn Maine development – Africa’s only green city. In the latest tranche of developments to be announced, it will invest R750 million to develop three top-class, green A-grade office buildings.
The trio of quality office buildings will all achieve at least a 4-Star Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), in line with Menlyn Maine’s exceptional sustainability benchmarks.
Menlyn Maine is South Africa’s first green, mixed-use city. It’s more than a collection of award-winning green buildings in one place; everything between the buildings is designed to be environmentally sustainable too, from sidewalks and streets, to parks and squares. The benefits go beyond a lighter carbon footprint and lower electricity bills, to the enjoyment of a quality experience in a distinguished address of choice for working and – in soon-to-come future phases – shopping, entertainment and living, all designed to promote responsible, healthy lifestyles.
As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, Menlyn Maine is one of 16 green cities being built in various countries, and the only one in Africa.
Its superb location has been a key factor in attracting top business names to Menlyn Maine.
Menlyn Maine is minutes away from the N1 motorway’s Atterbury and Garsfontein interchanges, right off the main arterial of January Masilela Road, and a mere 500 metres from the main entrance of the super-regional Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.
Its bustling location also means it benefits from exceptional transport connections. This includes access to excellent transport links, including three Gautrain bus stops, the new BRT bus system and a taxi terminus. Menlyn Maine is designed to welcome pedestrians. Fewer cars on the roads also mean lower carbon emissions. It is also surrounded by medical facilities, schools, and all the amenities that come with being in the heart of the upmarket, growing Eastern Suburbs of Pretoria.
Already under construction, the landmark 13,500sqm West Tower Office Block is at the heart of Menlyn Maine’s vibrant future retail and entertainment epicentre. This A-grade nine-storey office tower has been designed to create flexible space for corporate headquarters or a bustling multifaceted business environment. Located on the corner of Aramist Avenue and Dallas Road, it will be ready for tenant occupation in September 2016 and offer ample parking at a ratio of 4.5 bays to every 100sqm.
Opposite this iconic tower, The Indus Building will provide 9,500sqm of A-grade office space across five floors, allowing for the flexible subdivision of offices. It is set for completion in late 2016.
Like the other two new buildings it comes with naming rights for a major tenant taking up more than half of each building.
The Orion Building will be developed opposite the 3,200sqm Regus Building, which was completed in June this year. Standing in a prime position at the new gateway to Menlyn Maine from January Masilela Road, The Orion Building mirrors its neighbouring offices. The four-storey building will provide 4,500sqm of environmentally innovative and flexible lettable A-grade offices, suited to either a single or multi-tenant environment. Its development will be demand driven, with completion delivery possible as soon as late 2015.
The benefits of offices in a green city go beyond simple environmental responsibility. It also means smart building design for energy efficiency, recycling, environmentally friendly waste management and roof gardens. All this adds up to less operational costs and more savings over a company’s lease period.
* Henk Boogertman is the main architect and Linda Riley is leasing and investment advisor at Menlyn Maine.