Are there dark times ahead for Eskom?

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Are there dark times ahead for Eskom?

You are either nodding in agreement or shaking your head, depending on how you perceive the current situation.

 

Christmas

 

Eskom is a state owned (SOE) company which provides virtually all of South Africa’s electricity and the load shedding crisis was felt deeply by all South Africans. Business and home owners were affected by random blackouts and limited access to systems. At first, we laughed and joked about the ambience, the candles and the romantic dinners, but then after a few months people started to lose their sense of humour and it became quite annoying to say the least. Rosters were stuck up on fridges, meals prepared before the time, washing planned for certain days etc. We prepared as best we could. But why should we have to? We are paying for this right! So if we are paying for electricity, then why do we not have electricity?

 

Eskom

 

Recently I read that the South African government had already been warned back in 1998 that the country was running out of electricity!! Despite these warnings, they decided not to invest in any new power stations. If they had listened, South Africa could have had a new power station up and running by 2006 and load shedding could have been prevented. But in 2007 as predicted, South Africa ran out of electricity, 8 years later the crisis has deepened.

South Africa’s infrastructure including our power plants are operating well beyond their lifespan and due to an increase in demand often break down and force Eskom to perform unplanned maintenance. As a result they have relied on diesel generators to make up for the shortfall when power plants are in for maintenance – At a huge expense!
Eskom has set up its own maintenance plan to ensure long term plant health and seem to be progressing well as the maintenance has resulted in a reduction in the number of breakdowns over the past 7 months which in turn means we haven’t had load shedding.

In their plans they have prepared for the higher demand in the winter months and are building new power plants to help shore up power reserves. Eskom expect to spend billions / trillions over the next 5 years to build these power stations….spend whose billions exactly?
Quote – “To meet its targeted nuclear generation capacity, SA’s Government have said they plan to build six new nuclear power plants by 2030 at a cost estimated between R400 Billion and R1 Trillion.”

Just this week, I read an article that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) announced that electricity prices will be increasing by 9.4 percent from April. So that’s how they are paying for their mistake! In other bad news it was said that this increase could have terrible consequences for businesses such as closing down and retrenchment. Jobs are already in the firing line and the tariff increase could be used as the excuse to start retrenching. The Chamber of Mines has already warned that if Eskom’s application is approved, over 40 000 jobs could be lost. Apparently the 9.4 percent hike is just the first of many, as Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe said prices will go up again. Already I can just see my news feed filling up with statuses such as #EskomFeesMustFall… But there may be a silver lining to the increase – the risk of load-shedding will be less, but at what cost?
The maintenance schedule is under Eskom’s own control and it only has itself to blame for the poor maintenance practices that we have had to suffer and pay for. Eskom has plans in place to ensure maintenance continues to stick to schedule and continues uninterrupted, well, so they say.
Being the optimist I am, I do have some good news as I prefer to see the good in everything, even Eskom. The good news is that as of April 2016, it has been approximately 207 days since the last load shedding, whoo hoo!! Plus Eskom has reassured us that this is the one count that will continue to rise, oh, and as it seems also the tariff hike…but anyway…Eskom say they “do not expect” load shedding in the future as the company has stabilised.

I have a dream…that one day we will have to explain in depth what the dreaded “Load Shedding” was when speaking to our grandchildren.In the same way that we would explain call boxes, polophonic ringtones, tape players and typewriters. But again, I say a dream.

 

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Many people still fear that SA is on the verge of disaster due to the most recent events such as firing of the finance minister, JZ’s admissions about Nkandla and the demonstrations at various university campuses where various items were burnt or destroyed. There are also concerns about a recession. But are they correct?
Keeping Eskom afloat is only part of the solution. Identifying where they went wrong and learning from their mistakes is another big part of the solution. Investigating viable alternatives is another part. One obvious lesson is that they should stop building large plants. Look at Medupi, it is already way more expensive than planned and even though its not operational yet, it is contributing to the rising cost of electricity and worsening our country’s problems. If they had decided to build a smaller plant, it may have been operational by now.

Mr James-Brent Styan, a journalist, has been writing about Eskom since 2008. He was there from the first load shedding and is still writing and tweeting about Eskom today. For those interested to read about Eskom’s journey, their ups and downs along with future predictions, look up the book “Blackout: The Eskom Crisis”.

 

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Maybe we could also look at having different suppliers besides just Eskom, have a choice in who we prefer to supply our electricity. In the UK they have “The Big Six Energy Suppliers” namely British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE. They have an option to decide who they think would be best suited to them. This might not be such a bad idea. There are also options such as going off the grid etc that one could look into.
The bottom line is, that if the Eskom ship sinks, we all sink. There is no doubt that Eskom must be fixed, but we mustn’t hold our breath that this will happen any time soon. Eskom does seem to have a plan of some sort and have had a wake up call and are taking drastic steps to ensure this does not happen again, but we have not been given a time frame and most of us don’t trust that Eskom will do as they say.

So I don’t have a clear answer as to whether we will or won’t have to deal with load shedding again, or if there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. All we can do is shed some light on the current situation, it’s then up to you to decide.

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About Michelle Hosford

I work full time, study part time and now am the proud owner of the cutest puppy. Sleep...? What is that?

A Few Quick Tips to Help You Find the Best Tender Resources

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The Most Useful Tools for A Few Quick Tips To Help You Find The Best Tender Resources…

Many businesses in South Africa rely on Tenders as a gateway to landing contracts. To qualify as a bidder, there are requirements that need to be met before tenderers can submit their bids. Another very important aspect of the tender process is knowing where tender notices, and any supporting information or documentation, can be found.

The resources that I am about to tell you about could make your tendering experience much simpler, and more rewarding.

 

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) – “The role of the CIDB is to facilitate and promote the improved contribution of the construction industry to SA’s economy and society.” – www.cidb.org.za
The law states that contractors are required to register on the CIDB database (Register of Contractors), should they wish to tender for contracts advertised by government establishments.
Clients undertaking construction developments, which are valued at more than R200 000 in the public sector or above R10 million for state-owned entities or private sector contracts, must register their contracts on the CIDB Register of Projects. This guideline excludes home building, as these contracts are regulated by the National Home Builders Regulatory Council (NHBRC)

 

For entities that wish to tender for contracts, as well as those entities who wish to advertise invitations to submit bids, there are certain requirements (e.g. tax clearance certificate requirements) that need to be followed, and certain documents that need to be completed (e.g. invitation to bid or declaration of interest). These important documents can be found on the eTenderPublication website.

 

As of 01 April 2016, the Central Supplier Database will be the single source of supplier information for the South African Government. Prospective suppliers who are interested in supplying goods and/or services to the government are encouraged to register on the CSD. Entities’ details will first be assessed, before being added to the database.

To register, please click here.

 

“The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) will modernise and oversee the South African public procurement system to ensure that the procurement of goods, services and construction works is conducted in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective manner in line with the Constitution and all relevant legislation.” – Kenneth Brown
The OCOP is made up of two functional areas – policy strategy and client support. The OCOP refers to the core principles of behaviour – the five Pillars of Procurement, which are followed in order to uphold the procurement system.

These five pillars are: value for money; open and effective competition; ethics and fair dealing; accountability and reporting; and equity.
Legislation which applies to procurement, as well as standard bidding forms, can be found on the OCOP website.

 

Saving the best for last, the Leads 2 Business system is certainly one of the most user-friendly, convenient and up-to-date websites for Tender notices. Our tender department works tirelessly to source and publish tender notices for our clients in the construction industry. The notices are conveniently delivered to our clients’ via email at the end of each working day, saving them valuable time and resources. Our “tender ladies” also communicate any changes to the tender details, and follow up on the award information.

 

I hope that the above-mentioned resources will answer a few of the questions that you might have had about the procurement system in South Africa.

Happy Tendering!

 

If you are not already subscribed to Leads 2 Business, I would be happy to provide you with more information about the benefits of the system.

Contact me via email (BiancaT@L2B.co.za) or give me a call on +27 33 343 1130.

www.cidb.org.za
www.westerncape.gov.za/public-entity/construction-industry-development-board
secure.csd.gov.za/
ocpo.treasury.gov.za/Buyers_Area/Legislation/Pages/default.aspx
www.l2b.co.za

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About Bianca Warwick

I had the privilege of joining the Leads 2 Business content team in January 2012. I work in the exciting Projects department, following the progress of construction developments in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

Mine! Mine! Mine!

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So….here we are… 2016…. and how’s it going?

To be perfectly honest this year has already started to kick my butt all over the place, some good …. some badish, but mainly just so much change, and even more prospect of change, but don’t get me wrong, [tweetthis]I love change just as much as the next butterfly, but man it’s exhausting!!![/tweetthis]

 

But here, here is something that hasn’t change…. My knowledge about African Mining!! lol! Yip and this is what I am blessed to be blogging about today! Buckle up friends, its going to be a “blast”… get it? Blast? Mining? ye…..

 

African Mining

 

Anyhoo, here is the “411” on Mining in general right now…. we may get to Africa later… hopefully!

Well as I write this, the biggest mining gathering in the world has just taken place, More than 6,000 delegates from 100 nations gathered at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town , from the 8th – 11th Feb 2016.

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Why? Well, with commodity prices plummeting as they are, the struggle to retain or obtain foreign investment is a real one  #TheStruggleIsReal

Let me start by saying….The feeling is not good thus far.

[tweetthis]In South Africa alone 47,000 jobs were lost between 2012 and 2015.[/tweetthis]

Half of the coal mines and iron ore mines and 80% of the Platinum industry is losing money – not exactly a good investment for anyone I’m afraid.

I found this very interesting and really just horrifying! …..South Africa is ranked number 11th in Africa as one of the “most attractive investment countries”?????  What? am I the only one who feels like we should be number 1!?!

 

 

 

One of the Presentations of the Indaba came as a “bail out plan”, and was presented by 474615293 Nikolai Zelenski, Chief Executive Officer of Nordgold, he claims Nordgold has a Proven Strategy in a Lower Price Environment.

nordgold

So Who is Nordgold?

“Nordgold (LSE: NORD) is an internationally diversified low-cost gold producer established in 2007 and publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. The Company has expanded rapidly through carefully targeted acquisitions and organic growth, achieving a rate of growth unmatched in the industry during that period. In 2015, Nordgold produced 950 thousand ounces of gold. The Company operates 9 mines and has 2 development projects, 4 advanced exploration projects and a diverse portfolio of early-stage exploration projects and licenses in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Russia, Kazakhstan, French Guiana and Canada. Nordgold employs more than 8,000 people.”

Now to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t have what it takes to break down and unpack a strategy of this magnitude to anyone, so I’m not even going to try, but I do know how to copy and paste, so go wild;)

www.nordgold.com/investors-and-media/presentations/

 

Mining in Africa… well here it is, I have searched high and low and here is the low down….

Commodities dropped sharply last year, and news from Matthew Davies of BBC Africa is that there will be no recovery this year, he reported that In Zambia, the country’s main export, copper, now sells for less than half than it did just three years ago, now my math is not great, but that sounds terrible!!!

And I’m right because some mining companies have even halted production all together and miners are losing their jobs at the rate of knots.

This has led to a plunge in the currency, and a rise in inflation which is expected to continue…….

And as fate would have it several other African countries are in the same boat, including big oil producers like Nigeria and Angola!

[tweetthis]I’m starting to think mining is at fault for everything bad in my life![/tweetthis]

Ridiculous Avo prices, cellulite and rising fuel prices!…. I know they are at fault for at least one of those.rolling eyes

 

But I am an eternal optimist, romantic and impossible dreamer, so I believe the cellulite will pass…. lol! no really, I have hope that yes, maybe not this year, but in the future our Mining economy will rise once more, the fact that people are talking about it, must mean it’s important and is being made a priority so I will not need to fret another moment about this!

Relief, the pressure was really getting to me!

 

 

But apparently pressure in the mining industry is a good thing…. fbfffaa05b0bec0317176754817d40f8

 

Well this has been real… thanks. If you find the time and want to get in touch with any of the mining projects we currently following at

Leads 2 Business, please feel free to contact myself, SherinaS@L2B.co.za or Support@L2b.co.za and we will be more than happy to oblige!

 

 

I look forward to hearing from you 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

Human Resources & Human Capital Tips

Say what now????

This topic is definitely not something I sit around on the weekend bantering about, so believe me when I say I was not 100% excited to write about it…. well at first anyway, then I gave myself the “Knowledge is Power” pep talk and took to Google for some inspiration!

So Human Resources vs Human Capital….

Human resources is the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or economy.

Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. (not limited to the work place)
So from what I can gather, Human capital is the development of your work force, this in theory gives them a feel good feeling, encouraging performance and in turn grows your company revenue. 😉

This seems like the most logical way to run an organization right?

Well, I remember being in my early 20s and going to my first few interviews and being shot down right after them asking “So what experience do you have?”… “ummmm well I’m 20… so anything more than waiting tables and a killer coinage hand… not much!”

Where exactly would I acquire this experience they were all talking about?

Yes I understand its important to hire employees who can come into your organization and pick up right where possibly the last person left, but…. wouldn’t it be more important to hire some one who WANTS to do that? Eager and ready to learn, grow, develop and improve their skills?
So what I’m getting at is, Attitude has to trump experience! Surely? Right?

Now for obvious reasons, this strategy is only going to work if you follow through and actually grow your newbies.
Hiring someone with zero experience followed by no development is going to break your business!
So where do you start? How do you improve your companies Human Capital?

  • Don’t let employees become complacent or stagnant.
  • Offer and encourage education in terms of in-house courses, training, webinars and literature.
  • Reward – this will inspire your workforce to do more and be more.

Now Human capital goes both ways, it is not solely the employers responsibility.
As an employee, you need to initiate development with in yourself.

  • know the philosophy of the company you work for, this will give you an idea of where your employer is striving to take his company, giving you an advantage over the rest of your colleagues that are only interested in collecting their monthly pay cheque.
  • Don’t limit yourself, further your education where possible, this doesn’t have to be formal if finances don’t permit it, but use the resource the world-wide-web so readily provides us with.
    “Wear more than one hat” meaning don’t be scared to learn every aspect of what your company does.

Ultimately realise that Human Capital is personal, better yourself where ever possible, learn a new language, a new skill, read about a topic you would not usually read about, broaden your vocabulary, start a blog, get involved in a community sport or fund raising activity, get creative!

Learning something new has to be one of the most rewarding feelings and very seldom goes unnoticed not to mention, more often than not this will inspire the next person:)

So here’s my final food for thought.

Something for the employer to think about:
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people & then they leave us?” CEO: ‘What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
And something for the employee to think about:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss,

And look…. I just wrote about something I started out knowing NOTHING about, and now I think I may possibly have the ability to hold a 2 minute uninterrupted conversation about it…. ahhhh look at me grow!

🙂 😉

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About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

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