Author: Danielle Petterson

Readymix to aid delivery

Building professionals are being urged to harness the amazing characteristics of modern-day readymix concrete to build better structures and speed-up the delivery of critical infrastructure throughout Southern Africa. New techniques, as well as advances in cement technology and admixtures, have allowed readymix producers to tailor their offerings, more precisely to produce afar wider range of product choices than ever before. This means that the types of concrete produced today are suitable for a greater variety of uses and can be tailored to suit exact project requirements. Johan van Wyk, general manager of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (SARMA), says that designers, builders and specifiers need to be more keenly aware of the types of readymix that can be ordered and encourages them work more closely with readymix producers in future. He adds that The Readymix Conference by Sarma is the definitive place to share ideas and find out more about the characteristics of modern-day readymix.   Global best practice... Read More

New Lafarge South Africa CEO

Lafarge South Africa has announced Country CEO Thierry Legrand has taken up a new assignment after being with Lafarge South Africa for five years. Legrand will now take over as SVP of Transformation and Acceleration at Lafarge’s head office in Paris. In his new role Legrand will focus on developing innovation within the group. With effect from 1 August 2014, he will be succeeded by Kenneth MacLean, currently Lafarge Group SVP for performance aggregate based in Paris. MacLean started with the company in 1987 and over the past 27 years has held a wide range of senior positions in Lafarge Canada and Lafarge North America. MacLean holds both a civil engineering degree and a business administration degree, and is amongst others, a member of Professional Engineers Ontario and of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick. “I am excited to be here in South Africa,” notes MacLean. “This fascinating and vibrant country has always interested me.... Read More

UN ambassador to asses Kenya’s water & sanitation

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation is beginning a visit to Kenya today, to assess the country’s water and sanitation. Catarina de Albuquerque will assess the Kenya’s achievements and challenges in the provision of water and sanitation, CAJ News reported. She will meet with government representatives, as well as members of international organisations, civil society and communities in Nairobi, Kibera, Kisumu and Lodwar this week. According to CAJ News, Kenyan authorities invited De Albuquerque to visit the country to assess differences in access to water and sanitation in urban and rural areas, with a particular focus on sanitation. De Albuquerque will share her preliminary findings on 29 July and will submit a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her findings and recommendations to the Kenyan... Read More

Ethiopia wants to share Nile water

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says Ethiopia is determined to share Nile River water with all riparian states. Desalegn said that, although Ethiopia is the source of 86% of Nile water, the country believes it is a common resource, World Bulletin reported. Desalegn stressed that Ethiopia has no intention to harm any riparian country. “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will never hurt Egypt or Sudan,” he said.   Past conflict Egypt has voiced concerns in the past against the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam, located in Ethiopia, is one of the largest hydropower dam projects in Africa. Egypt has expressed fears that the project will decrease the volume of the water the country has been receiving from the Nile. The Ethiopian government has insisted on its right to develop its natural resources and believes that the dam will not significantly affect the water volume of the downstream countries. At the end of June Ethiopia and Egypt agreed to immediately... Read More

Understanding the lack of sanitation progress

To understand the lack of progress in sanitation, research needs to move beyond aid-financed technology-driven action. According to a new working paper by the Stockholm Environment Institute, research needs to move towards investigating the governance challenges of co-ordinating different stakeholders and actors across societal levels, from implementation at the local or household level up to steering at the national level. The purpose of the paper, titled “Multi-level sanitation governance: Understanding and overcoming the challenges in the sanitation sector in sub-Saharan Africa”, is to introduce multi-level sanitation governance, and to present path dependency and institutional inertia as useful concepts to improve understanding of the complex governance challenges  plaguing the sanitation sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper lists many governance challenges facing the sanitation sector in sub-Saharan Africa. These include low importance ascribed to sanitation; poor co-ordination and communication between stakeholders; gaps in research, policy, coordination and programmes; inadequate spending; inadequate implementation of decentralised solutions; and inappropriate institutional and legal frameworks.... Read More

AU commissioner urges focus on infrastructure

Lack of adequate physical infrastructure is one of the major bottlenecks standing in the way of integration to enable common and broad based development in Africa. Despite robust GDP gains by many countries in recent years, Africa’s staggering infrastructure inefficiencies have been choking integration efforts, stunting growth and sapping national resources, public and private. This was heard at the Seventh Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration, held in Swaziland to discuss infrastructure and integration in Africa. The experts meeting heard of some of the progress realized to date, at regional level, in terms of the infrastructure and integration agenda. But despite progress, African infrastructure development and integration remains largely inadequate and fragmented. The road access rate in Africa is only 34%, compared with 50% in other parts of the developing world and transport costs are 100% higher. Only 30% of Africa’s population has access to electricity, compared to 70 to 90% in other parts of the developing... Read More

Tongaat Mall inquiry nearing an end

The Thongathi Mall Commission of Inquiry is nearing an end, with the spotlight this week shifting to the role played by the developers of the property . Jay Singh, the owner of Gralio Precast, the company charged with the construction of the collapsed Tongaat Mall, is expected to take a stand and submit his testimony. Gralio Precast was previously accused of not acting in good faith and being economical in bringing the required information before the commission. Also expected to testify before the commission this week, are the engineers, the foreman and witnesses of interest. Earlier this month the commission focused on engineers and their role in regard to techniques, design and construction methods applied during the project. Earlier in the year, engineer Rob Young, appointed by Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd to investigate the collapse of the Tongaat Mall, told the commission that there were serious problems with the previous engineer’s design plans. Young said they had found material defects that... Read More

Zuma launches Operation Phakisa

President Jacob Zuma has launched Operation Phakisa, an approach to implement government’s policies and programmes better, faster and more effectively. Operation Phakisa is an adaption of Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology. According to Zuma, the Malaysian government used this methodology very successfully in the delivery of its Economic Transformation Programme and the Government Transformation Programme. “We expressed an interest in the use of this approach and the Malaysians were ready to provide support,” he said. “We renamed the Malaysian Big Fast Results approach as Operation Phakisa, to highlight the urgency with which we want to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the National Development Plan 2030.” “The people of South Africa deserve much better from all of us,” said Zuma. “Through Operation Phakisa and all our other key strategic interventions to achieve the goals of the National Development Plan, we must work tirelessly to move our country forward and build a better life for all especially the... Read More

Aurecon continues its management transformation

Aurecon has announced two significant appointments that confirm the company’s on-going transformation through the appointment of high calibre leaders. Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Aurecon South Africa Dr Lulu Gwagwa has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Aurecon South Africa. In this role, she will contribute directly to the strategic leadership of the company. Gwagwa has a master’s degree in town and regional planning from the University of Natal, an MSc (cum laude) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD from University College, London. She has worked as a development planner in various capacities from 1981, including the private sector, non-government organisation sector, academia and public sector. As a Deputy Director General in the national Department of Public Works, her portfolio included the National Public Works Programme, the transformation of the construction industry and the emerging contractor development programme. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), she transformed... Read More

Africa needs significant investment

Africa needs significant investment, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the General Assembly’s high-level debate on investment in Africa. “In recent years, Africa’s economic growth has been higher than in many other regions. Even at the peak of the global financial crisis, the continent continued to drive forward. United Nations economists estimate that Africa’s overall growth will exceed 5% in 2015, driven especially by domestic demand and solid commodity prices. But, this positive performance must not let us become complacent,” said Ki-moon. However, the secretary general highlighted that fact that serious obstacles still exist to more inclusive and sustainable economic and social development. Basic infrastructure, from health care and sanitation to energy and transport networks, is lacking. “As we shape a post-2015 development agenda that will deliver a life of dignity for all, it is plain that Africa needs significant investment,” he said. Ki-moon believes that Africa needs three things: enabling environments that promote investment and reduce risk; the right... Read More

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