Category Archives: South Africa

Government education and school infrastructure spending increases

Yet again, education will receive the biggest slice of the 2013 National Budget. The government promises to spend more than R23-billion to make improvements to school infrastructure as well as increase the number of no-fee schools this year. Of the country’s R1.06-trillion 2013 National Budget, R232.5-billion will go towards education.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan stated in his Budget speech that over the medium term, the Basic Education Department is expected to make use of its budget to boost numeracy and literacy, expand enrolment in Grade R and reduce the school infrastructure backlog.

R1-billion is going to be shared by the nne provinces to promote teaching as a career and increase the number of teachers. A furtherR700-million is going to be directed towards the technical secondary schools recapitalisation grant. “This will finance construction and refurbishment of 259 workshops and training of over 1 500 technology teachers,” Gordhan said.

The education infrastructure grant is vital to government’s plans of removing unsafe and poor quality school structures, The grant, in addition, supplements the infrastructure programme in provinces to accelerate the construction, maintenance and upgrading of new and existing schools.

Approximately R8-billion is going to be assigned to the school infrastructure backlog grant. The primary objectives of the grant is to be sure that schools have basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.

 

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

R24.6-billion for universities, colleges

The government will also increase the 2013 budget for higher education institutions. Spending allocation will increase from roughly R20-billion to R24.6-billion over the next three years.

Due to the authorities expectation of an increase in student enrolment at South Africa’s higher education institutions from 910 000 to 990 000 by 2015; Minister Gordhan announced that 2 new universities would be established in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. Construction will commence this year.

In recent times, government has increased substantially funding to assist students from poor backgrounds obtain tertiary education and vocational training.

The Student Financial Aid Scheme is expected to grant loans and bursaries to 288 188 students from poor backgrounds in 2013/14, up from just over 118 000 in 2008/9.

To increase access to basic education, the Budget notes the expansion of no-fee schools in South Africa to 20 688 by the end of 2012.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

Who are South Africa’s top local businesses?

The inaugural SA Premier Business Awards, hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), put on show the very best South African businesses in a number of sectors of the economy.

The objective of the awards is to identify and recognise South African businesses that invest in human and technical resources in a variety of projects and promote job creation. The awards were held in partnership with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies stressed the additional value of these awards to recognise and pay tribute to these companies which hopefully is transformed into tangible commercial reputational benefits and in so doing further enhancing their brand and position in market.

 

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies

 

The Lifetime Achievement Award, the top award, went to business mogul Richard Maponya who is well known for developing a business empire in spite of the limitations and restrictions of apartheid.

Maponya stated that this award was a great honour and at the same time congratulated all the young people who received awards…..” South Africa is making history.”

The winners, per category, were announced as follows:

1. Rural Development Award: Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT)

2. SMME Award: Malcom – Ezindaleni Hydraulics & Engineering

3. Young Entrepreneur Award: Miss Earth South Africa

4. Women-Owned Enterprise Award: Segakweng Enterprise And Strategy Consulting

5. Quality Award: Coega Dairy

6. Technology Award: Tshwane University of Technology

7. Green Award: MTN SA

8. Media Award: Talk Radio 702/567 Cape Talk

9. Proudly South African Enterprise Award: G.U.D Holdings

10. Most Empowered Enterprise Award: MTN SA

11. Investor Award: Nestle (South Africa)

12. Manufacturer Award: Powertech and Bell Equipment Company SA

13. Exporter Award: Abagold and Saab Grintek Defence

14. Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Richard Maponya

Anthea Davids-Thames, executive director of Social Change Assistance Trust (Scat), was ecstatic to receive this acknowledgment for all the work they have done in contributing to rural development. “We are proud as an organisation in terms of our contribution to our beloved country but more so proud of the communities we support,” she said.

 

More entrepreneurship encouragement

Davies stated that these awards were a combination of previous award ceremonies, and also that these awards and accolades can assist to inspire considerably more entrepreneurial efforts for the entire country and society.

As many as 159 entries were received and were assessed by a 12 member panel consisting of a variety of role players from business and labour in addition to the Department of Trade and Industry.

The fifth iteration of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) is going to be unveiled next week and will outline government’s intended plans to industrialise the South African economy. IPAP now falls under the New Growth Path, an economic framework for 2010-2020, with the primary goal and objective of creating employment.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

South Africa is the leading emerging economy in Africa

South Africa tourism 2

 

In terms of potential investment, South Africa has emerged as the leading economy in Africa according to recent report – Emerging Markets Opportunity Index: High Growth Economies – released by Grant Thornton International.

In its report, Independent consulting and accounting firm Grant Thornton, positioned South Africa in front of Nigeria when it comes to potential investment countries. According to the research and outcomes of the study South Africa emerged as the only country to be placed in the top 15 emerging economies throughout the world. In spite of the recent industrial action and horrific events throughout the mining sector of the nation there continues to be numerous and considerable advantages that the country can provide to draw in investors.

“Although recent events in the mining sector have hurt our country’s reputation as a destination of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI), there are significant benefits that continue to attract investors,” Grant Thornton South Africa chairman Deepak Nagar pointed out.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu pointed out that the government continues and is wholly committed to creating stability in the moning sector and is actively dealing with the challenges encountered by the mining industry.

Earlier this year, Anglo American Platinum, publicly expressed its intention and was considering retrenching 14 000 workers. Since this announcement the company has decided to place this decision on hold for further review. The shocking traumatic events that occured at Marikana towards the end of last year followed by industrial action has also contributed to the uncertainty of the industry and placed pressure on the currency and future investment opportunities.

Shabangu has made an effort to assure investors that the government addressing the challenges within the mining sector and that the country continues to be a good investment destination. The government is constantly engaging with all stakeholders with the goal of a positive and balanced end result.

The emerging markets opportunity index draws together a variety of key indicators, making use of the company’s International Business Report (IBR) data with the emerging markets research and studies coming from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) along with the United Nations Human Development Report.

With regards to global ranking, South Africa moved up one spot to 14 in the Emerging Economies survey, preserving its place as the highest ranked African economy, in front of Nigeria, which climbed nine places to 17th globally.

Examples of the indicators utilized to rank the 27 largest emerging economies in relation to their prospects for business investment include population, economy size, wealth, involvement in world trade as well as levels of development.

The market research did highlight the fact that over the past decade inflows of foreign direct investment into the country’s local economy have been volatile. Foreign direct investment peaked in 2008 at US$9billion ahead of the global financial crisis struck, and recovering to US$6 billion in 2011. Inflows over the first half of 2012 were down 44% in comparison to the exact same period the previous year. South Africa’s banking sector has always been perceived as being among the list of top 10 globally along with its financial system, just about the most developed in Africa which keeps growing.

“It is a well-known fact internationally that SA’s financial systems are sophisticated, robust and well-regulated, while its economy boasts a world-class securities exchange. The government has identified massive infrastructure projects as key to boosting the economic growth rate, as well as creating employment, and it is spending billions of rands on getting the investment ball rolling,” said Nagar.

President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address recently the fact that the country is planning to invest billions over the coming years on new infrastructure wiht a primary focus on building rail, road, and economic links in five regions in the country.

Based on the survey, another key attraction for international investors is the country’s key strategic geographic location, serving as the gateway to Africa. The nation also provides world-class ICT and transport infrastructure which was enhanced as a result of investment prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Based on the report, a forecast of 2013 showed that 71% of local businesses anticipate a rise in revenue over the next 12 months. When it comes to global expansion by SA business owners, 80% of South African businesses are contemplating other regions of Africa for investment.

Having said that, considering the fact that Nigeria considerably improved its ranking by a whopping nine places since the last survey, South Africa will probably need to greatly improve its competitive edge if it wants to maintain its leading position in the foreseeable future. .

When examining other countries included in the survey, mainland China continues to be, without a doubt, the leading country in the emerging economies index, due to its strong economic growth rates and huge consumer market. India placed in second place. The only other African countries to be ranked were Egypt (22nd) and Algeria (26th).

The International Business Report is a survey which includes both listed and privately held businesses. The comprehensive data for this report originated from interviews carried out between May and September 2012 with more than 6000 businesses coming from all industry sectors.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

South Africa global reputation remains steady

For the second consecutive year, South Africa’s all round global reputation has remained steady, maintaining its position at 36 in the latest review by Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI). NBI is an yearly survey measuring global thoughts and opinions of several developing and developed countries throughout the world.

This is actually a major accomplishment for South Africa given that the results come at a time when two thirds of the countries in the survey, a handful of which happen to be regarded as the world’s most respectable nations, experienced declines in their reputation over the last 12 months.

 

 

South Africa’s stable position as a nation brand is essential for the reason that the way a country is thought of can produce a significant impact on the prosperity of its business, trade and tourism initiatives, along with its diplomatic and cultural relations with other nations around the world.

Dr Petrus de Kock, research manager at Brand South Africa, suggests the fact that the country’s inclusion in the report is worldwide recognition of South Africa’s position in international economic and political systems. De Kock proceeded to express that promoting the nation is not only the responsibility of the government. “The way South Africans speak about their country and relate to others also plays a role when shaping perceptions,”.

To compile the annual report roughly 20 000 individuals are interviewed in 20 core panel countries, one of which is South Africa. They include major developed and developing nations that perform an integral function in international relations, trade, the flow of business, cultural and tourism activities.

The respondents rate 50 countries on questions divided into six categories, namely exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and immigration/investment. The index measures the power and appeal of each country’s ‘brand image’ by evaluating and analysing its competence in these categories.

 

 

 

Top achievers

 

Once again, the US held on to the top position for the 4th year in a row, as the nation with the best all round reputation, followed by Germany (2nd), UK (3rd), France (4th), Canada (5th), Japan (6th), Italy (7th), Switzerland (8th), Australia (9th) and Sweden in 10th position.

In a statement, NBI founder Simon Anholt, in his analysis of the results, mentioned that with a couple of exceptions, developed countries, ranking among the top 20, have recorded some of the most significant score losses. “Put simply, the world likes the world a bit less than it did last year,” Anholt said.

The majority of countries that attained higher scores in 2012 have come from emerging regions, with the greatest advances for the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kenya, and Poland.

 

No small accomplishment for South Africa

 

South Africans furnished high rankings in the people, tourism and culture categories, however they are a lot more critical regarding areas such as governance and immigration/Investment.

The latter describes a country’s capability to entice talent and capital, its economic prosperity, equal opportunity, and the perception that it is a location having a high quality of life. The country’s economic and business environment are at the same time assessed.

 

 

 

Governance

 

The survey details the fact that South Africa is faced with the most significant challenges in the area of governance, with South Africans becoming a lot more critical of their government this year.

Despite the fact that South Africans’ all round score for their own country in this area decreased, the country registered some improvement in this area, outdoing its Brics partners, India and Russia, within this category.

 

 

Tourism, culture, people

 

South Africa shifted in front of Russia, South Korea and China in the people category, which is the measurement of people’s friendliness by whether respondents would feel welcome when visiting the country.

Based on the report South Africans are respected across most panel countries regarding their welcoming nature, specifically when you are considering someone from South Africa as a close friend.

The cultural reputation of a nation is recognized as one of the most volatile of all indices, however South Africa’s standing in the culture category continues to be its strongest asset, ranking at 28th. In this particular category the country scored highly on sporting excellence (16th), but is somewhat less renowned for its culture – both contemporary (34th) and historic (33th).

South Africa’s rank of 34 for tourism matches last year. The country, which happens to be particularly famous for its natural beauty (15th), attained its best ranking from 11 out of the 20 panel countries on this particular measure.

The research discovered that international travelers, thought of as individuals who have visited no less than one foreign country, are definitely the most positive toward South Africa. Travelers consider South Africa as a tourist destination, which just happens to be an attractive place to live and work.

However, they also identify that it is a creative place that contributes to technology, produces quality products and provides both investment and educational opportunities.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, gfkamerica.com

SA government cautions general public of 419 scams

The Minister of Finance along with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) have released an alert to South Africans pertaining to fraudulent letters and emails which profess to be originating from the Minister and various other senior public officials.

The letters appear to be real and have fake logos of the FIC and other state institutions in the the letterheads.

The FIC has for a long time been aware of these 419 scams and has for a long time issued a warning on its website (www.fic.gov.za) cautioning the public about these fraudulent schemes that allege to have the authority of the FIC, the Minister of Finance along with other public officials.

The FIC would like to remind the public that they do request any payments for its services, nor do they pay out funds to anyone.

The sources of these scam letters and exactly how individuals are targeted was constantly changing and evolving.

The treasury is asking all members of the public who receive these letters and scams claiming to be from the FIC (or any other government department) that makes reference to payments to be made or to be received, not respond to them. Rather report these scams to the nearest police station.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reports directly to the Ministry of Finance and is mandated to guarantee the stability and integrity of the country’s financial system. In addition they manage South Africa’s framework to fight money laundering as well as the financing of terrorism; and it also supplies the financial intelligence that is increasingly coming to the fore in the investigation of priority crimes.

Guidelines to identify a scam:

* The e-mail requestor asks for bank account information, credit card numbers, driver’s licence number, passport number, information about members of your family, and other personal information.
* The e-mail advises that you have won a prize – even though you are not aware of having entered any competition run by the prize promoters.
* The e-mail may be personally addressed to you but it has been posted using bulk mail sending facilities to many others locally and internationally.
* Check the wording of the letter; you may notice spelling errors and exaggerations, which should alert you to the offer being too good to be true.
* Logos of the organisations mentioned in the letter (such as the prize-givers) may not seem correct or professionally drafted.
* The names of persons used as senders of the e-mails are common.

Source: SAnews.gov.za