5 years ago

Northern Cape Business 2018-19 edition

  • Text
  • Africa
  • Africa
  • Zone
  • Solar
  • Energy
  • Development
  • Technology
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Economic
  • Sectors
  • Array
  • Northern
  • Cape
  • Mining
  • Province
  • Kimberley
  • Provincial
  • Municipality
Officially supported and used by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Northern Cape Business is unique as a business and investment guide that focuses exclusively on the Northern Cape Province. In addition to comprehensive overviews of sectors of the economy, this publication has several special articles which focus on transformative projects, such as the solar and wind farms rapidly coming on line and the massive potential represented by the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, a multi-billion rand international project already taking shape in the vast open plains of the Karoo. Updated information on Northern Cape is also available through our monthly e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to online at, in addition to our complementary business-to-business titles that cover all nine provinces as well as our flagship South African Business title.


SPECIAL FEATURE Flash across the pan on track The Bloodhound land speed record attempt is set for October 2018. CREDIT: STEFAN MARJORAM/FLICKR The countdown to October 2018 is on. The Bloodhound supersonic car that will be propelled across the sandy flats of Hakskeen Pan by a rocket, three jet engines and a V8 engine in pursuit of the world land speed record is set to blast off in that month. The Bloodhound team is still raising money for this expensive exercise, but indications are good. Countless tests have been done at the base of the Bloodhound project in the UK. One of them proved that the carbon fibre disk brakes can heat up to 1 000 degrees Celsius. Trials at Newquay Airport in Cornwall saw the 7.5-ton vehicle reach 322km/h but conditions in the UK don’t allow for the kinds of speeds that the Bloodhound team want to achieve on the even ground where the record attempt will take place, about 200km north of Upington. Further tests on the Northern Cape track will be done in the 800km/h range, before launching the final push for the record. The current land speed record of 1 227.98km/h was set in 1997 by the same man who wants to better it in 2018. Wing Commander Andy Green is a British Royal Air Force pilot and he wants to take the new record out to 1 600km/h. A 450kg rocket will fire the vehicle and the car will be fitted with a further three jet engines and a V8 motor vehicle engine: it will have power equivalent of 180 Formula 1 motor cars. Design tweaks that have been made along the way include a revised layout for the floor mounting system, testing of the best jet-start procedures, and making the electronics as robust as possible so that the cockpit messages are easy to read. Legacy The Northern Cape Provincial Government has enrolled 50 schools in the Bloodhound Project, creating many opportunities for learning about science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The schools chosen include the province’s 17 Dinaledi schools, which already specialise in mathematics and science. In Britain, the project is linked to STEM schools (Science, Technology and Mathematics Schools). There are more than 500 sensors built into the supersonic car, sending out millions of pieces of NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2018/19 22

SPECIAL FEATURE data that is stored and analysed in search of optimal performance. All the work done by the engineers on the Bloodhound projects can be seen by the pupils and they can look at and try to solve some exciting problems in real-life engineering, science and mathematics. A concrete legacy of the Bloodhound project is the provision of water to the 10 000 residents of the municipality of Mier, a dry rural area. Rietfontein, the biggest of nine towns in the district, is about 280km north-west of Upington. The !Khomani San community live on the borders of Mier. The existing Kalahari East water pipeline is being extended in two phases, which will eventually extend to Rietfontein and Philanderbron. GWI Consulting is one of the firms involved in the project. Askham, Big Ant and Noeniput are among the other settlements that will receive piped water. The track Hakskeen Pan is about 400km from Verneukpan where British daredevil Sir Malcolm Campbell made a similar attempt in 1929. The surface is not only flat, but also relatively hard for a sandy desert terrain. The sand allows for a softer ride but the ground is still strong enough to carry the leviathan. Several tracks will be prepared as the vehicle won’t be able to go over the same ground twice. A team of previously unemployed people in Loubos and Rietfontein have been assisting the Bloodhound team in making the site ready for the record. So far, they have removed 16 000 metric tons of stones to create a surface as flat and as safe as possible. This work was done as part of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and employed 315 workers who received the necessary equipment to do the work and appropriate clothing, including wide-brimmed hats: open pans in this part of the world can get very hot. The site will be divided into Trackside (to be controlled by the Bloodhound Project) and Landside (the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape). The logistics are complicated. Issues include: accommodation; RV parking and hook-up area; toilets, waste management; and emergency services; public viewing area alignment with the measured mile; transportation services between Hakskeenpan, Upington and Rietfontein airstrip; non-run day entertainments such as safari outings, astronomy classes, concerts; and potable drinking water. This is a long list, but it could present good opportunities for willing and able entrepreneurs. The huge technical team that will descend on the Northern Cape to support the project will boost the accommodation, food and beverage, and business support and engineering sectors. Television images of the unspoilt beauty of the Northern Cape will boost the efforts of the tourism authority to market the province’s assets. MTN has erected five 70m mobile phone towers in the area, which will enable three video feeds and 300 data channels to bring the attempt to the wider world. Flying movements over the area are going to be suspended for the duration of the land speed record attempt, with aeroplanes to be diverted to the airport at Upington or the airstrip at Rietfontein. 23 NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2018/19

Other recent publications by Global Africa Network: