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Thu, 01 Aug 2019
S.Africa: App enables investors to benefit from rising global beef demand...

Cattle have long been considered a measure of wealth across Africa but it is not just farmers cashing in.

A pioneering app in South Africa allows investors, eager to benefit from rising global beef demand, buy shares in a cow from their mobile phone for as little as ($41).

Launched in 2015 with 26 cows, the project now includes more than 2,000 cows and has taken in 50 million rand, with 10 percent of investors coming from outside South Africa.

“We started off on this farm four years ago with just 26 cows. Across the platform now we have more than 2,000 cows that people have invested in. Some people own 26 cows, one person, and others own a fraction of the cow where we group 20 people around one cow. So we see this growth into us being an international company where people can invest from anywhere in the world; Founder and CEO, Ntuthujo Shezi.

Launched in 2015 with 26 cows, the project now includes more than 2,000 cows and has taken in above $3 million , with 10 percent of investors coming from outside South Africa.

“An investor coming into Live Stock Wealth can invest in an unborn baby of a pregnant cow for 18,000 rand. After that baby is born and sold, that process takes 12 months, that person’s 18,000 rand has earned an income of 2,000 rand so that he gets 20,000 rand. So that becomes an 11% per annum return on investment,” Shezi explained.

“Innovations happen year in year out in agriculture, but I do think that this is one of the things that will continue to see. I think with the changes in technology, with the changes of behavior, with the age of the people who are actually getting to participate on farms, this is one of the key things that will happen,” An Economy Analyst, Wandile Sihlobo.

As with any investment, however, risks exist. Both the impact of weather on feed costs and fluctuations in global demand for beef can affect the cow investments.

Shezi now hopes to expand his business into the produce market after launching a vegetable growing system this month that aims to give about $15 return per month over five years.


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Tue, 30 Jul 2019
Robben Island Museum booking system hamstrings tour operators...

Despite the Robben Island Museum’s work to improve its booking and refund systems, these still aren’t functioning optimally and are hamstringing tour operators.

“It’s just become more difficult to book tickets, and communication with the museum is non-existent,” says Hylton Ross Branch Manager, Jackie Mitchell.

Spokesperson for the museum, Morongoa Ramaboa, says the heritage site is engaging with its official ticket operator about how and if it’s possible to reduce the waiting period for refunds, given the concerns raised.

In May this year the Robben Island Museum announced a fee increase as well as a two-tier pricing structure for tickets for tours, which came into effect in June. The fee would delineate between local and international travellers, with locals being charged R380 per adult and R200 per child; and international travellers charged R550 per adult and R300 per child. This was an increase from the flat fee of R360 for adults and R200 for local and international travellers.

The drastic increase in fees for international travellers came as a shock to local tour operators however, Mitchell says.

Satsa Western Cape chairperson Ilana Clayton says the change left tour operators “exposed”, as they already marketed and accepted bookings from travellers well into June and charged them according to the original price structure. This left tour operators to pay the difference out of their own pockets.

In an email to the museum, which Tourism Update has seen, Clayton wrote: “We are not against a price increase, we are not against a two-tier model – our issue is about communication, respect for a channel and the international clients you and we offer the experience too etc. In a market with a long lead time, with brochures that are printed, and packages that are sold long in advance – a 29-day notice period of a massive increase with no will to honour bookings in the system is a very hard pill (and financial loss) to swallow.”

Clayton says that in subsequent meeting with the museum’s management, Satsa advocated for a price exemption to allow tour operators to recover from sudden price change.

On May 22 the museum responded in a statement to stakeholders that tour operators would be charged 22% (R120) less than the standard international South African rate for all bookings for June 1 to October 31 this year, which would then decrease to a 9% (R50) discount between November 1 and March 31 next year.

Clayton says she believes the pricing structure change announcement – and the short timeframe before it came into effect – was “an oversight” on the part of the museum. “While Robben Island Museum has experienced many difficulties in the past, Satsa is working with the landmark to improve its relationship with tour operators and travellers,” she says.

Mitchell says the museum has met the industry halfway after the May announcement of the price increase.  It still has a “long way to go” in improving its relationship with tour operators.

Despite the fees upheaval, Clayton says Satsa has been working closely with Robben Island Museum over the last year.

“There are still operational challenges, but we’re [...]

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Fri, 19 Jul 2019
Ford to add 1,200 jobs in South Africa from August

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) will employ 1,200 new employees from August 2019 to meet the growing international and local demand for the New Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest models.

Ford said that these additions will bring the company’s total employment in South Africa to approximately 5,500 employees.

At the same time, it will significantly bolster supplier companies by adding around 10,000 jobs in this sector.

“The R3 billion investment in our South African plants, announced in 2017, is now coming to fruition with the addition of a third shift to increase our production output,” says Ockert Berry, vice president operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.

“The investment enabled extensive reworks at the Silverton Assembly Plant to expand our production capacity from 124,000 vehicles per year to 168,000 units, which is 58,000 vehicles more than our original capacity when the current Ranger programme commenced in 2011,” Berry said.

“The third shift will allow us to ramp up our production from the current 506 vehicles assembled per day to a peak of 720 units to satisfy the strong demand from customers in South Africa, as well as for our crucial exports to 148 markets around the world,” Berry states.

Kicking off at the beginning of August, the Silverton Assembly Plant will run around the clock using a three-shift pattern from Monday to Thursday, with the additional Friday third shift available to address any potential shortfalls in the production schedule.

“In addition to the job opportunities created for hourly employees, the new shift makes provision for 104 skilled artisans and technicians who have been appointed as permanent employees, thus adding to the skills set of our staff complement in Silverton,” Berry said.

Growth in South Africa

Approximately two-thirds of Ford’s local production is exported to 148 global markets, with the balance sold in South Africa and Sub-Saharan African countries.

The Ranger leads the light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector exports, with the locally-built model consistently ranked as the top-selling pickup in Europe.

As demand for the New Ranger and the Ranger Raptor continues to grow in Europe, Ford began exporting vehicles through Port Elizabeth in April this year – a strategic move to address the high level of congestion at the Durban Harbour’s Roll On Roll Off (RORO) Terminal, which is the country’s primary import and export hub.

The multi-port strategy makes effective use of Transnet’s rail infrastructure to transport vehicles from the Silverton plant to the Port Elizabeth vehicle terminal. Approximately 1,000 Rangers are being exported via this new route each month, which has improved the efficiency and delivery timeframes to European markets.

Port Elizabeth is also home to Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant which supports two global diesel engine programmes.

Production commenced at the end of last year of the new-generation 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo and Single Turbo engines that are used in selected Ranger and Everest models, with an installed capacity of 120,000 engines per year – all of which are supplied to the Silverton Assembly Plant.

Additionally, the Struandale plant continues machining component sets, comprising the cylinder head, block and crankshaft, for the existing 2.2 [...]

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Mon, 01 Jul 2019
Relief for motorists as fuel price to drop for ‘first time in six months...

Cape Town – Motorists can expect a fuel price drop on Wednesday, the first in six months according to the Department of Energy. “On July 3, the price of 93 ULP petrol will drop by 96 cents a litre, while 95 ULP will cost 95 cents less a litre. “Diesel (0.05 percent sulphur) will decrease by 74.78 cents a litre and Diesel (0.005 percent sulphur) will cost 75.78 cents a litre less. “The price of paraffin will be reduced by 57 cents a litre.” The fuel price drop comes against a background of lower international oil prices throughout June. The Automobile Association (AA) said: “June was the weakest month for oil in the last quarter, with crude briefly slipping below $60 (R845) to the barrel at mid-month.” Economist Dawie Roodt said on Sunday: “I sense some relaxation in the markets. In fact, I would have expected more of a drop in the fuel price, considering recent factors, such as the rand that has recently done quite well on the market. “This as well as President Donald Trump’s recent last-minute pull back from military strikes on Iran and the fact that this weekend the US and China agreed to resume trade talks. “I predict that in fact the next move after Wednesday’s drop may be an even further drop.” The AA said: “Although the rand re-strengthened against the dollar towards month end, the exchange rate average for the month is negative by about 11 cents, meaning fuel users missed out on an even bigger drop. “Looking forward, the prime driver of fuel price movements for the third quarter of 2019 is likely to be the oil price.” Retreating oil prices have painted a rosier picture for South African fuel users than has been the case for much of 2019. This is according to the unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund, which in mid-June said: “At this stage of the month, we are predicting a decrease of 91 cents a litre to the petrol price, 70 cents to the diesel price, and 62 cents to illuminating paraffin.”


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