South African banks ‘healthy, resilient’

first_img28 May 2013 The total assets of South Africa’s banks increased by 6.9% in 2012 as the sector “continued on a good growth trajectory while displaying increased signs of resilience”, the Reserve Bank said in its bank supervision report for 2012 on Monday. Gross loans and advances, making up around 74% of the banking sector’s assets, increased by 9.2% to R2 753-billion for the year to end December. According to the report, healthy levels of capitalisation and strong levels of liquidity were evidence of the resilience of South Africa’s banking system, whose average capital adequacy ratio, at 15.9%, was well above the minimum requirement of 9.5%. The average liquid assets held by the country’s banks expressed as a percentage of required liquid assets was 198.7% in December 2012, up from 193.5% in December 2011. “In addition to the improving levels of capital and liquidity, credit risk as the biggest risk area in the banking system has been declining and remained well managed,” the Reserve Bank said. “Total impaired advances declined 5.1% from R118.1-billion as at December 2011 to R112.1-billion as at December 2012.” The report also found that rates of growth in unsecured lending had begun to slow down, with total unsecured credit exposures – including revolving credit facilities and overdrafts – increasing by about 24% from R364-billion in March 2012 to R453-billion in March 2013. “Measured against the total banking assets of R3..6-trillion, banks’ exposure to unsecured loans does not pose a systemic risk to the stability of the banking system,” the Bank said. The report covered the transition from the Basel II to the Basel III framework, effective from January 2013, which revised banks’ capital and liquidity standards worldwide following the 2008-09 global financial crisis. South Africa is among the first 10 regulatory authorities to have implemented Basel III on schedule. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Gibela on track for South African factory

first_img2 July 2015The Gibela Rail Transport Consortium (Gibela) is gearing up to start the construction of its R1-billion, 85 000m² factory complex at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Construction is scheduled to start in the third quarter of this year.Once up and running, it will be building trains at a hitherto unheard-of peak rate of 62 trains a year – and South Africa will have taken a very visible and significant leap into the world of high-tech train manufacturing, according to Gibela. “South Africa’s 40-odd year gap when it comes to train-building technology is about to close,” it says.The factory is part of a contract signed by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with the Alstom-led consortium in October 2013. Work was meant to start on the factory in the beginning of this year, but delays in securing the site led to delays in construction.The R51-billion contract is to supply Prasa with 600 new trains over 10 years. The first 20 trains are being made in Brazil; the balance will be assembled at the Dunnottar complex. The last train is scheduled for delivery in 2027.This project will, in keeping with the mandate of Prasa, help to restore the viability of South Africa’s commuter rail system, says Gibela. But the expanded fleet of trains is only one of the benefits: others are the skills and technology transfer from Gibela’s French parent company, Alstom, as well as local sourcing of specialised components that will contribute to South Africa’s industrial growth.Job creationTrains are built by people, and once fully operational, the Dunnottar facility employ at least 1 500 people, the majority of whom will be skilled artisans. Recruitment is already at an advanced planning stage for permanent positions, with clear career paths for those selected.Preference will be given to those who have academic qualifications as well as artisanal skills. Most of those recruited will be drawn from the areas adjacent to the manufacturing facility but given the scarcity of the required skills, the net will be cast wider.However, Gibela will undertake training as well in various rail-related skills for possible jobs in the rail industry.At the outset, artisans possessing a range of skills, including leadership, will be selected for intensive training at Alstom’s Brazilian facility where the first 20 of the Prasa trains are being made. They will then be able to pass on their skills to their colleagues back in South Africa on their return.More than 20 Gibela employees, the majority of whom are engineers, are already in France, Italy, Belgium and Brazil, where they are receiving a cross-section of advanced skills that will be critical in supporting a manufacturing rate that will, according to Granger, “test the abilities of the most experienced and large original equipment manufacturer at its best manufacturing unit”.Gibela will ramp up from the current staff complement of 112 to 350 by the end of the company’s March 2016 financial year.Supplier networkParts and components needed to build the modern trains will need to be state of the art. New and established South African suppliers will be brought on board, some of whom will occupy premises at the Dunnottar factory site. A robust, sustainable local supplier base needs to be developed to achieve the company’s 65% local content obligations, it says.To build ties with local suppliers, Gibela has been interacting with local suppliers to leverage the company’s expertise and that of Alstom to equip them with capabilities to be competitive and to manufacture at the required rate and quality. “It is through these relationships and the transparent exchange of information that challenges such as lack of industrialisation and industrial capacity shortages can be overcome and the supply of long-lead items (on time, on budget and in the right quantities) assured,” says Gibela.Work on the first 20 trains in Brazil is well on track, and the first train with its six cars is in the testing phase. Shipment to South Africa is planned in September, with on-shore delivery in November. All six cars of train number two are in the fitting phase and production for the rest is on-going.“We are pleased with the progress made and our Brazilian colleagues are now getting ready to welcome South African artisans and to not only impart skills but also benefit from language and cross-cultural exchanges,” says Granger.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Use care with silage to maintain quality and safety

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Livestock producers need to take extra care when creating and maintaining stored silage piles to not only ensure they produce quality animal feed but also to lessen the risk of injury or even death from suffocation caused by an accidental silage avalanche.Creating safe and nutritional silage piles starts with making sure the height is never higher than what your loading or unloading equipment can safely reach, which is typically 12 to14 feet above the silage floor, said Rory Lewandowski, an Ohio State University Extension agriculture and natural resources educator.While that may sound intuitive, Lewandowski said, numerous silage avalanches have occurred nationwide in recent years that have resulted in several deaths, according to data compiled by Ruthie and Keith Bolsen, nationally known silage safety experts.“The biggest concern is that we can have these silage avalanches where silage will break off the face of the pile that you are drawing feed from, burying anyone beneath it,” he said. “These avalanches or pileups can occur in a second, creating a silent burial for anything that happens to be near, resulting in injury or death.”Maintaining silage piles is also key to preventing feed spoilage or silage quality degradation, Lewandowski said. Once silage is exposed to air, its quality begins to decline, he said.“Yeast begins to grow in the presence of oxygen and those yeast metabolize the lactic acid that was formed during silage fermentation,” he said. “As yeast metabolizes the lactic acid, silage pH begins to increase and this allows fungi and bacteria to grow, which results in silage quality degradation.”To better ensure nutritional silage, the goal should be to create sound silage piles and remove an adequate amount of silage each day from the bunker so that the face of the silage remains fresh and silage quality is maintained, Lewandowski said.“Producers should use equipment that allows for the silage pile to maintain a smooth face to try to minimize the penetration of air into the new silo face as silage is removed,” he said. “Silage face shavers, defacers and silage rakes are good tools to use for this purpose.”Other safety and management tips to follow when creating or maintaining silage piles include:• Never work in or near a bunker or pile alone. Suffocation is a major concern in the event of a silage avalanche and the minutes saved in a rescue attempt when not working alone could mean the difference between life and death.• Use proper removal and unloading techniques. Never dig the bucket of a loader into the bottom of the silage. Do not undercut the silage face. Shave the silage from the top down on the silage face and maintain a smooth silage face.• When collecting a silage sample for quality analysis, do not sample from the silage face. Collect silage in a loader bucket and sample from that loader bucket after it has been moved a safe distance from the silage face.• Post signs indicating pileup or suffocation warnings around the perimeter of bunkers and piles.“And remember, never stand closer to the silage face than three times its height,” Lewandowski said. “When a silage avalanche occurs, the silage falls down and runs out away from the silage face, potentially leaving you buried alive in seconds.“Silage safety is important in all seasons but needs to be stressed during winter months when cold working conditions may lessen awareness of potential hazards or lead to the temptation to take shortcuts that are not safe.”last_img read more