Author: Liesl Frankson

Grayston bridge inquiry preps for closing arguments

The Department of Labour says the commission of inquiry appointed to probe the Grayston Drive pedestrian bridge collapse has completed hearing oral evidence and is now awaiting written closing arguments. “The commission now awaits the submission of written heads of arguments by legal representatives of interested stakeholders by 14 August 2018. This will be followed by written responses to the heads of argument which are expected to be submitted by 17 September 2018,” the department said in a statement. The Section 32 hearing was set up to investigate the 14 October 2015 incident, which led to the death of two people and 19 others being injured. The inquiry, which resumed on 2 July following a nine-month respite, completed its work ahead of the 27 September target. Stakeholders in the inquiry include the City of Johannesburg as the client and the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) as the agent. It also included Royal Haskoning DHV, an engineering company appointed by JDA... Read More

CSIR contributes to notable global climate report

Several experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were involved in the development of a landmark report which looks at the link between forests, water, the climate and people. The report, titled “The Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities,” was compiled by over 50 scientists from 20 countries. Through the report , which was launched during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York this week, scientists responded to questions regarding what people can do for and with forests to ensure a sustainable quality and quantity of water to support the health and wellbeing of both forests and people. Contributions from the CSIR experts covered a broad range of topics across the report, including forest hydrology, climate and land-use change, and governance-related aspects, as well as multiple benefits and synergies in trade-offs. The council says the involvement of its experts in this landmark assessment demonstrates a... Read More

French treasury funds drought fighting project in the Western Cape

The French government and the Western Cape Province are set to partner on a R8.6million project aimed at assisting the water stressed region. Ministre d’État, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, M. Nicolas Hulot, and the Western Cape Government’s MEC for Finance, Dr Ivan Meyer, are set to announce the funding of the first solar powered desalination unit in South Africa next week. The highly cost-effective solar powered desalination plant will be commissioned by the end of October 2018 at Witsand in the Hessequa Municipality, Western Cape. In Hessequa, 250km east of Cape Town, several coastal villages suffer from a structural water deficit, even outside of drought periods. Part of Witsand village, suffering from critical water shortages, was designated for the implementation of this solar powered desalination unit. The R8.6million grant from the French Treasury is aimed at implementing innovative green technologies. A first for South Africa The OSMOSUN® technology, which was developed French company Mascara Renewable Water... Read More

Coke’s Cape Water Fund Investment keeps Atlantis aquifer clear

The Greater Cape Town Water Fund is working with authorities, the private sector, NGOs and communities to restore the City’s largest aquifer. The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (PenBev), and the Nature Conservancy (TNC), along with other partners, this week celebrated the completion of a successful pilot project for the fund. The project saw 64 hectares of water-intensive invasive plants cleared in the Atlantis area as part of efforts to help recharge the Atlantis aquifer. By December 2019, the Water Fund will have replenished at least 10 000 000 litres of water to the Atlantis aquifer by clearing invasive plants in the aquifer’s primary recharge zone. Invasive plants, such as Australian Acacias, consume more water than the native Fynbos vegetation, limiting rainwater recharge to the aquifer. Skills transfer TCCF’s investment of US$150 000, as a founding investor in the Water Fund, has helped with the implementation of the project and empowered 12 females through skills transfer and employment. Dorcas Onyango,... Read More

POWER-GEN Africa gives students a platform to shine

In honour of Nelson Mandela Day Africa’s premier power industry event will give South African students an opportunity to showcase their work and engage with leaders in the power field this month. The Gen-X Theatre pioneered by POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa advisory board member Bertha Dlamini three years ago, gives the next generation of power sector professionals a unique opportunity to present their ideas and engage with industry leaders and VIPs from around the world. The event also creates a setting where aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators can be discovered by prospective funders and financiers. This year, the organisers have secured a partnership with European Utility Week taking place later this year, to enrol the top three Gen-X presenters in their Initiate! Young Talent Programme in Vienna. “This will be a lifetime experience for our young stars in energy,” says Dlamini. An expanding initiative                                                                        Since inception in 2015, Gen-X has received support from SAIEE, ABB South Africa, City Power... Read More

Work commences on Ruimsig’s collapsed culvert

The Johannesburg Roads Agency says repair work has started on the collapsed culvert along a portion of Peter Road near Walnut Street in Ruimsig. The agency was forced to close the road earlier this week after engineers identified the road as unsafe for travel. The JRA says work is being undertaken as per the conditions of the wayleave following the collapse of the culvert on the road. The agency has installed barricades along the road and erected signage closing off the road for the safety of road users. “A water tanker will deal with the dust along Walnut and Cypress streets as an interim measure for traffic diversions,” the agency adds. “JRA apologizes for the temporary inconvenience and we wish to reassure road users that the urgent reinstatement of the road is a top priority,” it concludes.... Read More

Construction and mining equipment sales rise

The first quarter of 2018 has proven to be a good one for the construction and mining equipment sector with sales of new equipment reaching levels last seen in the first quarter of 2015. According to figures released by the Construction and Mining Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CONMESA), a total of 1542 units were sold during the period, an improvement of nearly 100 machines during the same period last year. CONMESA Chairman, Lawrence Peters, says the move is in line with the association’s expectations and predictions at the beginning of the year. He adds that the second quarter should continue a similarly positive trend, but with the uncertainty of volatile exchange rates and rising fuel costs possibly weighing against a sharper increase in sales. Improvements across the board Along with other executive members of the association, who are elected from member companies within the association, Lawrence represents the large multiagency equipment distributor, ELB Equipment, which has exposure in nearly all... Read More

Zimborders Consortium secures billion rand Beitbridge expansion contract

The Zimborders Consortium has signed a concession agreement for the mega project to upgrade the Beitbridge border post. The expansion project, which is valued at US$240 million (approximately R3 billion), will include a major upgrade of roads to and from the border post, as well as all supporting infrastructure. In addition non-core works to improve the town’s critical infrastructure will also be included, such as sewer ponds and storage dumps. The Zimborders Consortium is made up of a group of individuals and investors including Zimbabwean, South African and international entrepreneurs and financial institutions that will provide the necessary foreign direct investment and financial backing to deliver the project. Once completed, the border post will be run as a public-private partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Zimborders Consortium, according to a long-term concession period. Supporting regional economic growth Commenting on the announcement Glynn Cohen, Executive Chairman of The Zimborders Consortium says the awarding of the project to The... Read More

SRK says goodbye to Dr Oskar Steffen

Dr Oskar Steffen, one of the three founders of SRK Consulting, has passed away the global engineering firm said in an announcement on Thursday.    Steffen, who was 77 years old at the time of his passing, has enjoyed a long, successful career in the engineering and sciences sector. In 1973 Steffen joined Andy Robertson and Hendrik Kirsten to establish Steffen, Robertson and Kirsten, the company known today as SRK. “Over the following decades, Steffen’s recognition and profile as a top-drawer consultant went from strength to strength, significantly contributing to SRK becoming a premium brand in the industry,” the firm said. A notable repertoire of skills Steffen’s  consulting activities included: open pit planning and design; rock and soil slope stability analysis and design for road and rail cuttings and open pit and strip mines; and general surface mining geotechnics, including tailings dam investigation and design. “His innovation and discovery activities included developing frameworks for pit optimisation, strategic mine planning,... Read More

There are no plans to privatise SAA – Jarana

South African Airways (SAA) CEO, Vuyani Jarana, says there are no plans to privatise the airline. He was replying to a question on the issue posed to him at the 2018 Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) currently underway at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. Jarana explained that trade union Solidarity had taken steps to place SAA into business rescue. He said that Solidarity had done this because it wanted a sustainable national airline that would not retrench staff and which included private sector participation. The labour union further desired an airline that is not a burden to the fiscus. “We have ongoing conversations with a number of unions, although Solidarity was not a part of the conversations initially. We brought them in to understand the context of what they are trying to achieve through the process of business rescue. We explained that what they want to achieve has already been stated by the government, so there is... Read More

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