Hammarsdale, KZN, 24 January 2019. Scientists attending the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II meeting in Durban, on Wednesday (January 23) visited Mathe Group, South Africa’s largest radial truck tyre recycling plant. Based in Hammarsdale, the factory has been a trailblazer in the recycling of the millions of used radial truck tyres that had been building up in the country. Intense product development and changing mind sets to create demand for the resulting rubber crumb were key to Mathe’s ongoing success, explained Dr Mehran Zarrebini, head of British investment group PFE International, which bought a major stake in the group three years ago. Until 2012, South Africa had no tyre recycling strategy. Dr Zarrebini explained that, because tyres are robust and durable, they are notoriously difficult to recycle and take ages to biodegrade. Up until now, they either accumulated in landfills or were dumped on vacant land. Often, impoverished communities burnt them for warmth or to remove scrap metal. The resulting dioxins and carbon monoxide were both an environmental and a health hazard. Mathe Group began operating from a mini factory in New Germany, Pinetown in 2012. The joint venture with PFE International ensured a ready supply of rubber crumb for the manufacture of acoustic underlays for carpets manufactured at PFE’s Van Dyck Floors factory. When the new R20 million processing plant in Hammarsdale came on stream in 2016, the number of tyres processed shot up from 8 500 in 2012 to over 170 000 in 2018 and rubber crumb output grew from 400 T to 6200 T. Dr Marlies Craig, Science Officer for the IPCC Working Group II pointed out that operations like Mathe Group were important in light of the dire warnings in the latest IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. “Without wide ranging, unprecedented and immediate transformation in the way we do things, we are heading for extremely dangerous levels of global warming, . . .
Durban, 14 January 2019. Full order books, business already coming in for 2019 and a positive outlook generally for the new year - that’s the good news from leading South African trailer and truck building company, Serco. Managing Director Clinton Holcroft attributes the continued impressive business performance to tight cost control and the company’s Protec Steel refrigerated vehicles “People in the industry continue to be impressed with the durability of the coated steel panels. Added to that they also like the newly introduced rice grain aluminium floor which has proved to be a popular high wearing feature,” said Holcroft. Other features include fully welded aluminium scuffs which create a durable, waterproof and high strength structure; and new door seals made of an extruded rubber material, providing an excellent thermal barrier preventing the leakage of cold air. Another advantage is that repair costs to the coated steel vehicles are relatively low. Holcroft said the slow economy and volatile rand had put a lot of pressure on Serco in 2018 but there had been positive growth for the company thanks to its advanced panel manufacturing technology. “Serco has also created new positions for a Process Improvement Manager and a Quality Engineer to build on the continuous improvement culture in the company. “Serco is ending the year on a positive note with full order books while orders for the New Year are looking positive. “We expect next year to be similar to 2018 and are well placed, well equipped and determined to make a success of it. The economic forecast for the South African economy for 2019 is another year of marginal growth, but we remain optimistic, especially with efforts being made to root out government corruption and the recent investment summit which I believe will combine to help create a more enabling relationship between business and government,” he said. “Serco will continue working with customers to find tangible solutions for . . .
2019 will be a year of consolidation for British Investment Group, PFE International and the companies within its group - Durban-based Van Dyck Floors and Hammarsdale based truck tyre recycler, Mathe Group and PFE Extrusion, which produces polypropylene fibre and bulk continuous filament yarn. For managing director, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, and the approximately 700 employees across the group, it will be business as usual with further major investments still on the table but likely to materialise only in the longer term. “We’ve done quite a bit of investment over the past five years, so it’s a matter of leveraging off this and trying to ensure that whatever capacities we’ve brought on stream can be fully utilized. During 2019, we’ll be taking a consolidative approach and focusing on improving efficiency and productivity, Zarrebini explained. He pointed out that, during 2018, economic difficulties that impacted negatively on the manufacturing sector as a whole. These were a continuation of a downward trend from previous years. While some issues that had contributed towards a volatile rand and spiraling raw material and production costs had been locally instigated, global geo political issues that had impacted on emerging markets and over which South Africa had no control had also increased pressure on local producers. He cautioned that there were no quick fixes and 2019 promised to be another challenging year. However, he remains cautiously optimistic and noted that both international investors such as PFE International and local manufacturers needed to take a longer term view of recovery. “Both existing investors and those considering coming into this country can’t be myopic. There may be challenges but there are also a lot of opportunities to generate growth. We are in a similar position to 2008/9 and we need to take a 10 to 20-year view rather than a shorter, five- year approach. Right now, it is a question of mitigating risks in a turbulent landscape. . . .
Corobrik invests in the future Corobrik’s ongoing investment in new production facilities, new technologies, new products and the architects of the future have combined to open a whole world of new possibilities in brick architecture. The 32nd Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award, which will be announced in Johannesburg in May 2019, is one such commitment to innovation and the future of South Africa’s built environment. Ruan Jansen van Rensburg from the Tshwane University of Technology, is this year’s regional winner. In addition to his prize of R10 0000, he will go on to compete against seven other talents from tertiary institutions countrywide for the national award. Kyle Coulson, who collected a cheque worth R8 000, was placed second. Carla Schmidt, collected a third prize of R6000 while Siyanda Nkosi received R6 000 for the best use of clay masonry. Ruan Jansen van Rensburg dissertation is entitled ‘The design of an innovation farm’ – an experiential facility for Cannabis plants as an alternative resource in Eerste Fabrieke, Mamelodi. Jansen van Rensburg says the project proposes an innovation farm adjacent to the Eerste Fabrieke train station in Mamelodi. This farm is an attempt to contribute responsibly to the dilapidated socio-economic structures and provide the community with educational platforms to strengthen self-sufficiency while contributing to micro-economies in the area. The investigation deals with two core ideas and the Innovation farm mediates between them. On the one side, the project investigates Mamelodi, specifically Eerste fabrieke station and its surrounding neighbourhoods as experimental ground for this study, and on the other side, the positive attributes of Cannabis plants specifically cannabis sativa (industrial hemp), as an accessible and affordable alternative resource, predominantly as a construction material in an underdeveloped context. In second place Kyle Coulson project is titled Space Lab. It . . .
Durban, 12 December 2018. TOURISM into markets where airlines establish direct flights historically experience a 30-40% growth within the first year of the route’s establishment, according to research released by Dube TradePort (DTP). The news comes as Durban welcomed three weekly direct British Airways (BA) flights per week into King Shaka International Airport from October with the city making its inaugural appearance on the airline’s Top 19 Must-See Destinations for 2019. BA announced in May that it would include Durban on its direct service as the airline rolled out a ?4.5 billion five-year customer investment plan. The service will complement Durban’s growing connectivity to global hub airports and the route will be serviced by the airline’s newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Currently, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air Mauritius, Pro-flight Zambia and Airlink all provide direct international air connectivity to and from King Shaka International Airport. Earlier this year KwaZulu-Natal economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said international cargo routed through the Dube Cargo Terminal had experienced continuous year-on-year growth since 2010, translating into a 138% hike in volumes. Introducing new passenger flights previously has shown a 25% hike in cargo volumes, and it is expected that the introduction of the direct BA flight will provide additional bi-directional capacity of approximately 20 tons per flight, into the key markets for cargo into and out of KZN. In breaking the news, BA chairman and CEO Álex Cruz said Durban’s warm water, hot summers and laid-back atmosphere made the coastal city “the perfect holiday destination” and a gateway to nature reserves, parks and historic sites. “Durban has a thriving food, drink and art scene, defining the city as a must-visit for culture and adventure. It is also home to the busiest port in South Africa and is a large manufacturing hub, . . .