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South African Business 2021

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Welcome to the ninth edition of the South African Business journal. First published in 2011, the publication has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to South Africa. This issue has a focus on economic recovery plans which have been put in place to tackle the challenges thrown up by the global Covid-19 pandemic. National government’s focus on infrastructure and the use of Special Economic Zones is highlighted, together with a feature on the nascent maritime economy. Regular pages cover all the main economic sectors of the South African economy and give a snapshot of each of the country’s provincial economies. South African Business is complemented by nine regional publications covering the business and investment environment in each of South Africa’s provinces. The e-book editions can be viewed online at

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OVERVIEW have been commissioned, but it is relatively expensive. Projects such as Kathu Solar Park (100MW), a concentrated solar power project, and the Roggeveld Wind Farm (147MW) are indicative of the large scale of most of the energy generation that is being rolled out. At Black Rock Mine solar power is being put to use on a smaller scale. To light the intersections leading to the mine, BEKA Schréder has installed solar-powered streetlights. All of Abengoa’s three plants in the Northern Cape use CSP which reflects the sun’s rays during the day into a molten salt storage system. The energy is then slowly released during the night. The 205m tower that collects the rays at the Khi Solar One site is one of the tallest structures in South Africa. Despite the emphasis on renewables in South Africa’s latest integrated resources plan (IRP), South Africa’s energy mix is still weighted towards coal. Two huge new power stations, Kusile and Medupi, are being built by Eskom and 1 000MW has been allocated to private producers to build coal-powered stations known as Thabametsi and Khanyisa. The IRP has attracted criticism for enabling an expansion of the coal industry. Koeberg nuclear power station is due to be decommissioned soon after 2045. A new centre has been established at Wits Business School to teach the new skills that are needed for new kinds of energy. The Africa Energy Leadership Centre (AELC) is supported by the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA). Another body active in energy training is the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA). Regulations in the energy sector are being keenly watched. The 2019 decision that power projects generating less than 10MW do not have to get licences from national departments has given hope to independent power producers and city governments across South Africa that a new era in energy policy has begun. These smaller projects can go ahead (up to a total of 500MW) outside of the country’s IRP but the next step – allowing companies to sell any excess power they generate to the grid – will be a real game-changer. Mining companies such as Sibanye-Stillwater and Gold Fields have made it clear that they want to marshall renewable energy resources to power their own operations, to the tune of 150MW and 40MW respectively, but clearance from government is still needed. An example of the potential that lies within companies is Tongaat Credit: Perdekraal East Wind Farm Hulett. This company’s sugar mills are producing between 12MW and 14MW of power. The company believes that the national sugar industry could generate between 700MW and 900MW. The managing director of South Africa’s other sugar major, Illovo Sugar SA, was quoted in the Sunday Times in March 2020, saying, “There are opportunities around how do we sell power into the grid, opportunities within the whole biofuel, bio-energy sphere.” Mamongae Mahlare also said that the key to the sugar industry’s future lay in diversifying into energy. Many of the same conditions exist for Sappi’s wood and fibre mills in Mpumalanga and SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2021 58

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