Mmusi Maimane of DA speaks out about the value of small traders :”Small businesses, informal-business people and entrepreneurs are the basis of a growing economy that can create jobs and opportunities for people in Gauteng and in the country as a whole. And being an entrepreneur, or a trader, or small-business owner is a volatile and difficult space in the scheme of things. The last thing that people who are minding their own business need is for government to come in and destroy their livelihood.
Few appreciate the challenges and risk of going it alone in business. I have run my own small business, where everything was staked on that enterprise finding a way to bring in customers and deliver what they need. Like the traders of Johannesburg, I have felt the sharp discomfort of unpredictable times. But when that unpredictability comes from the very government meant to help you get ahead, then something is fundamentally wrong.
Over the years we have witnessed the roll-out of improved services and improved infrastructure to places where there was so much need.
Under former presidents of this country we saw things start to improve. And from these basic improvements we saw people start to take opportunities to improve their lives, to start businesses and to put food on the table. This includes the small-business owners and traders of the Johannesburg metro.”
“My party’s track record where we govern is one that stands in stark contrast to that of Zuma’s ANC in Johannesburg, in fact it is the exact opposite of “Clean Sweeping” informal traders away – instead we work to support and accommodate traders in every way we can.
Every DA local government has set out to build relations with traders and to hand them licences to trade where they capture the market. In addition, traders in our local governments are protected through by-laws that set out their trading tenure and allow them freedom to trade within it. But most importantly, every single DA local government has an ever-increasing number of dedicated spaces in high-traffic corridors given to informal traders, with the necessary infrastructure and equipment to help them succeed.
Where we govern, we establish informal traders’ associations, and assist in the election of leaders to liaise on their behalf. And then we ensure that their voice is always heard and is included in planning that affects them. We invite them to small-business forums and facilitate their involvement. We roll out small-business hubs, where they are most needed by traders, and bring in private funding to support them in partnership. We open the doors to one-stop shops where small-business owners can come for business advice and make use of internet facilities, free of charge.
Recently we saw an ANC-led protest through the City of Cape Town that resulted in violent attacks on traders and small businesses, destroying some of them, looting stock and injuring many people. It was the DA-led City of Cape Town who went to court to fight for these traders and to stop such violence happening again. We will always stand up for the people who are out there each day, making a living and growing our economy.”
I hope that this support remains and that a more enabling environment is created.
Property investment in Africa provides opportunities for high returns, writes Nick Hedley
"In sub-Saharan Africa, the most well developed and sophisticated retail market by far is South Africa, with numerous large shopping centres across the country. Interestingly, in 2000, South Africa had 240 shopping centres, while today the figure is over 1,500," Knight Frank says.
Also, South African retailers are credited with “leading the way into the continent”, with those expanding north including MTN, Shoprite, Woolworths, Game, Standard Bank and Pick n Pay.”
At least 25 new malls, each one exceeding 30,000m², are expected to be added to the market in the next 2-3 years
That will bring South Africa’s tally of large, regional and super-regional malls to an estimated 180 — more than double the number five years ago.
More supermarket expansion in SA
From Business Day (Link)
"IN A sluggish consumer environment, South Africa’s supermarket groups are ploughing ahead with the opening of new stores as part of aggressive expansion plans to gain market share and promote sales growth.
Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Woolworths opened premium-style concept stores in Cape Town on Thursday. Woolworths also announced its intention to roll out 45 more Foodstops on Engen forecourts over three years.
Consumer confidence, which is at a 20-year low, is indicative of pressures such as a slowing in income growth and unsecured credit, poor job prospects, and a rise in the cost of living. All of these factors are weighing on the ability of consumers to spend.
This has intensified competition as retailers continue to vie for prime locations in a race for space. Pick n Pay, which is planning an additional 64 stores in the six months to the end of February, opened two premium stores — one at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, and the other at Cavendish shopping centre.
Once the leading retailer in South Africa, Pick n Pay has fallen behind rivals such as Checkers and Woolworths — both of whom have upped their game to lure middle- to higher-income consumers.
But with new CEO Richard Brasher at the helm, Pick n Pay has hastened to slash costs and streamline its supply chain.
According to Mr Brasher the store openings represented a key element of the turnaround strategy for the business. In the six months to September 1, Pick n Pay opened 44 new stores across all formats, amounting to about 34,000m² of additional space — the highest number of new stores opened by the group over a six-month period in the last decade.
Retail analyst at Noah Capital Markets Roger Tejwan, said: “There is a bit of a space race, the market is becoming increasingly well penetrated. The forecast space growth from developers over the next few years is pretty much below historical trends so everyone is competing a lot more aggressively for new sites …
"I’m struggling to see how Pick n Pay are going to get that market share ramping up again, because they are not putting enough space into the pipeline. They’re aiming for 4.5% space growth, but Woolworths is planning 9% in their food business and Shoprite is planning 7%."
Shoprite on Thursday opened its 1,000th supermarket on the continent. Located in the group’s newly developed shopping centre Langverwacht Plein in Kuils River, the new-generation Checkers store is one of the 129 new supermarkets that it has planned to open across Africa between July this year and June next year. Twenty will be outside South Africa.
Also on Thursday, Woolworths opened its 50th Foodstop at Engen in Sea Point, Cape Town.
"The opening at the Sea Point forecourt is the start of an accelerated plan to open 45 additional Woolworths at Engen forecourts by June 2016," the retailer said.
Turnover is expected to grow from about R600m to more than R1bn in 2016. Retailers such as Spar and Pick n Pay have partnered with petroleum players as the changing lifestyles of time-poor consumers have boosted the demand for convenience stores.
By expanding the forecourt model, Woolworths products are made available at new locations, particularly outside the larger urban areas. It also opened a food market at the Waterstone Village in Somerset West on Thursday.
"Retailers have fought for a lot of space growth and market share over the past few years. They are continuing their space growth because they can’t put a halt on plans from 18 months or two years ago … where they’ve committed to new shopping centres and new space. " said director at 36One Asset Management Cy Jacobs"
On getting any data on the food system in SA.: The simple answer is that nobody knows anything
Today the Times has an article that asks about the long term outcome of the bread price fixing debacle on the SA baking industry (Link)
“It is now more than six years since the first announcement by the commission, and nearly three years since its investigation and the tribunal hearings were completed. Did the Competition Commission achieve equity and efficiency in the bread industry as it is required to do in terms of its objectives? Has the market become more competitive? And have those poorest South Africans benefited?
The simple answer to all these questions is that no one knows.
That is because the one and only definitive consequence of the commission’s investigation is that no one is willing, any longer, to share information, for fear of being in contravention of the Competition Act.
The executive director of the Chamber of Baking, Geoff Penny, says there has been no meaningful information on the bread industry since 2008. “The industry associations used to play a huge role and used to collect a lot of useful information. That has fallen away as the Competition Commission considered that a risk that could lead to anticompetitive behaviour.”
We have just submitted the draft of a Food System and Food Security Study for the City of Cape Town and had similar problems. The food system in SA is increasingly concentrated in the hands of Big Food, and none of them will share data.
The demise of the Marketing Boards has had a major impact on data flows. Additionally, the fear of the Competition Commission means that companies won’t share the data they do have. We have a massive data void and a system that nobody governs.
Paul Seabright wrote: “
“About two years after the breakup of the Soviet Union I was in discussion with a senior Russian official whose job it was to direct the production of bread in St. Petersburg. “Please understand that we are keen to move towards a market system”, he told me. “But we need to understand the fundamental details of how such a system works. Tell me, for example: who is in charge of the supply of bread to the population of London?” There was nothing naive about his question, because the answer (“nobody is in charge”), when one thinks carefully about it, is astonishingly hard to believe. Only in the industrialised West have we forgotten just how strange it is.” (Seabright 2010, 10)
That is all well and good when the system works, but it doesn’t in SA and increasingly doesn’t work in the US or UK. But how can you fix it in the absence of data? How can you monitor a food system and develop policies and strategies when there is a massive black hole swallowing the data?
I have heard (anonymously) that the resale of food from feeding schemes is far from unusual.
EU bans import of SA citrus
As expected the EU has banned SA citrus imports due to blackspot.
Has our agricultural sector become too dependent on export-driven agriculture? When the Province assesses the value of agricultural land, one of the key components is the potential of the land to produce export crops. Producing crops for food security is generally neglected.
The NDP calls for greater investment in the agricultural and agro-processing sectors, a need to increase fruit and vegetable production is identified in order to better align the sector to the nutritional intake guidelines (p. 145). This is a marked divergence from generally received agricultural development plans that have focused on grains and crops for export. Will it make a difference to agricultural practice?
Full article (link)
"The European Union on Thursday banned most imports of South African citrus for the remainder of this year over fears that a fungal disease found in dozens of shipments could spread to the 28-nation bloc.
The ban follows the interception of 36 citrus consignments this year from the EU’s chief summer supplier that were contaminated with the fungal black spot disease, which is not currently found in Europe.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the European Commission was set to propose the ban following pressure from citrus growers in southern Europe.
"The introduction of citrus black spot into the EU territory would pose a serious threat to the EU’s citrus-producing areas. For that reason, it is necessary to further restrict the import of citrus fruit from South Africa," the Commission said in a statement confirming the move.
The ban will apply to all South African citrus shipments from regions where the disease is present, which covers the bulk of the country’s production.
Initially the ban will apply only to the 2012-2013 harvest, which ended in October. It will, therefore, have little immediate impact because the exports to Europe dry up around October anyway.
But EU officials have warned that the restrictions could be extended into next year if an ongoing study by the bloc’s food safety watchdog finds that the disease could take hold in Europe’s estimated 500 000 hectares of citrus groves.
That would threaten South Africa’s 600 000 tonnes of citrus fruit exports to Europe each year - mainly oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines - worth more than €1bn.
South Africa supplies about a third of the bloc’s total citrus imports and is the main source of oranges for the juice drunk by consumers in Britain, Germany and France during the European summer months.
The ban comes at a sensitive time, because the European Union is seeking South Africa’s support to unlock stalled trade deals with sub-Saharan Africa.
While harmless to humans, citrus black spot causes unsightly lesions on the fruit and leaves, reducing both harvest quality and quantity.
There is no known cure, but fungicides can be used to control the spread of the disease.
It is found in many citrus-growing regions in the southern hemisphere as well as in China and the United States but has never established itself in Europe.
In a draft scientific opinion published in July, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the chance of citrus black spot taking in hold in Europe was “moderately likely”.
But it added there was a high level of uncertainty due to a lack of knowledge over how the disease would respond to the EU climate.”
Shoprite expansion continues
"Shoprite Checkers celebrated the opening of its 1 000th supermarket in Africa when a new generation Checkers store opened its doors at Zevenwacht in Kuils River, Cape Town, on Thursday.
This supermarket is one of the 129 new supermarkets that the group will open across Africa between July 2013 and June 2014. Twenty of them will be outside South Africa’s borders” (link)
The expansion of the sector is fundamentally changing all points in the food system. Why does the State stay so silent on their impact?
Hailstorm wipes out Cape’s Fruit Crops - IOL
The heavy storms we had over the weekend have taken out a lot of local farm produce - From the IOL website (Link)
Cape Town - Hail has caused havoc in the biggest fruit-growing areas in the Western Cape, wiping out fruit crops on scores of farms in the Witzenberg, Ceres and Koue Bokkeveld areas.
One farmer on Monday told the Cape Times he had probably lost his entire R70 million annual turnover…
Apples, pears, stonefruit and onions were among the crops affected as heavy hailstorms hit the prime fruit-producing areas.
On Monday, Agri Wes-Cape chief executive Carl Opperman said 90 percent of farms in the Ceres and Witzenberg area and half the farms in the Koue Bokkeveld and Warm Bokkeveld area had suffered between 50 percent and 100 percent damage.
He said in Wolseley, some farms had experienced between 80 and 100 percent damage.
Opperman said aside from fruit, vegetable plantings had also been damaged. But he said as warmer weather continued and the land dried out, damages could be reduced.
He was unable to say exactly how many farms had been affected as farmers were still assessing the hail aftermath.
Darius Willemse, the financial manager at the farm Doornkraal outside Ceres which produces mainly apples, said the farm had been severely affected.
“It’s a 100 percent write-off. From what I hear, everyone in the valley is affected. It’s very, very bad. Our whole revenue for next year is wiped out.
“We’re only expecting money to come in in April 2015,” he said.
Willemse said about 150 temporary workers hired only about a month ago had on Monday been told there was no longer work for them.
More workers were expected to be affected.
Fruit intended for export would have to be made into juice and Willemse was worried juicing facilities would become overburdened.
“Everyone’s going to go for juice,” he said.
Gysbert du Toit, a manager at the Koue Bokkeveld fruit and vegetable producer Dutoit Group, said “the whole region” had been affected.
He said while farmers were used to having to deal with weather fluctuations, they were “not used to this widespread hail”.
“We’ve had severe damage,” he said. Du Toit said a lot of fruit had broken as a result of the hail and this would result in fewer workers being hired.
Du Toit said it would take roughly another two weeks to determine the full financial implications of the storms.
Other farmers said because of damaged fruit, packing facilities would be affected as there would be much less to pack for exporting.
Wouter Kriel, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry’s spokesman, said the department was still waiting to determine the overall damages caused by the hail. Some farmers were so upset that they had not yet reported the damages they had suffered.
“Just last week, farmers were saying it’s going to be a fantastic harvest,” he said.”
Lungisile Nogwanya, a mine worker in Marikana who lives in Nkaneng informal settlement, says, “The main reasons we go to the mashonisas is to try to balance life, as there in not enough money for one to survive.”
“Mashonisas operate in different ways, depending on the market. They keep IDs [or] bank cards [if debtors default].”
The more sophisticated mashonisas, of course, opt for garnishee orders.
“Every R100 you borrow has to be returned as R150, so you pay back more than 50% of everything,” Nogwanya says.
With consumers that are fundamentally uneducated about the perils of debt, the lenders’ business is brisk and easy, and often on the wrong side of the law. But with so many people driven to desperation, how many more Marikanas lurk in SA’s future
University of Cape Town