Mathe Group commissions new tyre recycling plant in Hammarsdale


The 2 500 sq/m factory and 1 000 sq/m warehouse that came on stream in February are equipped with approximately R20 million worth of cutting edge equipment that was brought in from China last year. Based on sophisticated American technology, it is the first of its kind in South Africa.

“It has the capacity to manufacture two tons of truck tyres per hour and up to 24 tons per day. At present, we are feeding in a truck tyre every 1 ½ minutes,” said Vusumuzi Mathe, the entrepreneur who set up Mathe Group in 2010.

Mathe Group began reprocessing used and legacy truck tyres into rubber crumb (or granulate) in very limited quantities in late 2011. In 2013, the company obtained a licence to manufacture rubber crumb without restriction on quantities and set up a small 850 sq/m factory in New Germany.

Construction of the new Hammarsdale facility began in early 2015 as a means of relocating and updating the very constrained operation in New Germany.

“The new operation is four times larger than its predecessor. It is a completely different plant and far more advanced,” Mathe said.

The new factory is highly automated and has allowed Mathe Group to up skill the staff working at the New Germany operation to operate the new equipment. There is also potential to grow the workforce as the throughput and the number of end products grows.

The new Hammarsdale plant also includes improved dust extraction equipment that ensures the health and safety of workers.

The New Germany operation is in the process of being disassembled. Some of the equipment will be relocated to Hammarsdale for the manufacture of specialised products in smaller volumes.

The Hammarsdale ammarsdale expansion has been constructed alongside sister company PFE Extrusion which is a leading producer of polyolefin staple fibres. PFE International is the shareholder in South African carpet giant Van Dyck Carpets which uses large amounts of rubber crumb to manufacture acoustic underlays used under soft and resilient flooring and acoustic cradles used in the built environment to eliminate variations in the structural floor surface and to accommodate services.

According to Mathe, Mathe Group processed approximately 40 000 tyres during 2015. Over the next two years, this is expected to dramatically increase to approximately 150 000 tyres. These 150 000 tyres will produce approximately 7,000 tons of rubber crumb per annum.

The Hammarsdale plant currently processes radial truck tyres. The tyres are sorted and then undergo a three phase crushing process. Separators produce different sized particles suitable for different end uses and according to customer requirements.

Magnets remove the metal components from the reprocessed tyres. The new plant is expected to produce around 350 tons of high tensile steel per month. This will be passed on for recycling. Mathe said that, although they have been approached by steel recycling companies internationally, they are also looking at working with South African steel recyclers. This will be an important additional revenue stream for the business.

The number of uses for rubber crumb has grown exponentially within a very short space of time. In addition to the acoustic underlays and cradles produced by Van Dyck, it is also used as a foundation or infill for sports fields, public spaces and playgrounds utilising artificial turf or grass. Other uses include rubber flooring and paving, inclusion into asphalt, rubber landscaping and kerbing. Uses that are yet to come to South Africa include noise barriers placed between highways and residential areas, traffic bollards and flexible decking.

At present, 50 percent of the rubber crumb produced at Mathe Group Hammarsdale is exported. The remainder is sold locally with a large portion going into downstream exports through the manufacture of products that are sold globally.

Mathe said that Mathe Group enjoyed a strong working relationship with Redisa, through which it receives deliveries of used truck tyres daily. Most are trucked in from all over the country including the KZN area. The Hammarsdale factory consumes 350 truck tyres each shift.

The Redisa Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan was approved by parliament in November 2012. It supports and promotes tyre recycling, providing the collection and depot infrastructure required to collect waste tyres from across the entire country and deliver them to approved processors and recyclers.

This is funded via the tyre levy which is collected from tyre manufacturers in the form of a waste management fee charged on each kg of tyre rubber that is produced.

This initiative is intended to drastically reduce the stockpile of waste tyres that has accumulated in South Africa for decades. Each year, an estimated 11 million waste tyres are added to this.

As tyres are designed to be robust and durable, they are notoriously difficult to recycle and take extremely long periods to biodegrade. The mounting number of waste tyres in South Africa has become a health and environmental hazard.

Mathe said the company was pleased to be making a contribution to improving the environment and would work closely with Redisa on developing applications for the use of waste tyres going forward.

He said that the processors rebate paid to Mathe Group by Redisa for the processing of waste tyres is earmarked for development and training as well as investment in additional equipment such as laboratory equipment to ensure quality consistency and the high standards demanded by its clients.


A selection of photographs is available. Please advise if you would like more photographs

1776 – An overhead photograph of the new tyre shredding equipment installed in the Mathe Group factory in Hammarsdale.

1780 – The finish line of the equipment installed in the new Mathe Group Hammarsdale factory. In front on the right are stacks of rubber crumb packed into 25kg bags ready for delivery.

365, 366 & 373 – Rubber crumbing awaiting further grinding into fine powder.

0371 – Milling machines that reduce the size of the particles

368 – The stock of tyres for shredding and recycling in the new Mathe Group factory

061 – Mr Vusumuzi Mathe with one of the truck tyres



Gauteng set to double target for housing


It’s the small deliverables such as clean cities, functioning traffic lights and smooth tarred roads that Gauteng local government and housing MEC Paul Mashatile is expecting from the province’s mayors, with his department taking over the driving seat in pushing big housing development projects.

He has set an ambitious target of doubling the number of houses delivered this financial year from 25,000 to 50,000. He also wants the housing waiting list to be cleaned up and digitalised.

Mr Mashatile returned to the province last month to bolster delivery ahead of a critical and tough local government election. The African National Congress did not do well in the last elections in 2014, punished at the polls largely by the unpopularity of the electronic tolling system and perceptions of corruption in government.

Mr Mashatile’s return provides the party with a heavyweight in charge of municipalities as he is the Gauteng party chairman.

Shortly after taking office, Mr Mashatile’s plans for housing development in the province hit a snag when the Treasury took back R1.2bn of its finances because the department had not spent the money fast enough.

Ultimately, R938m was reallocated from Gauteng’s housing grant to other provinces — a major blow to a province with a huge backlog in housing delivery.

Mr Mashatile admitted the department had spent too much time on planning and too little time on implementing those plans. The focus would now have to shift to implementation. He would slash the planning budget by half and hoped to see Gauteng become a “construction site” in the coming months, he said.

Housing was a “burning issue” and he conceded it was a “setback” to have lost the money, but hoped his turnaround plan would help.

Municipalities also receive a housing grant that will now be used for services, while his department will handle the “top structures” in housing development.

On the local government side, Premier David Makhura’s Ntirisano (“working together”) service delivery roadshows and a war room have led to a drop in service delivery protests. Delivering on the basics is the key message he has left with mayors, who he will be meeting every quarter. Whether the turnaround will be enough to reverse the party’s electoral fortunes in the province will be clearer after the local government polls.

Donning his Gauteng ANC chairman’s hat, Mr Mashatile explained that the province was preparing “very hard and not leaving anything to chance”.

National issues such as e-tolls and the debate on state capture were also likely to affect the party’s performance, he said. “Gauteng is the home of the middle class. They are concerned about issues of state capture and those things do impact on us in Gauteng — it’s not just the local issues.

“Our posture is very clear. We want an organisation that is going to tackle these issues and we are going to continue to do so.”

It would not be an easy election, but the ANC in the province was ready to listen to the concerns of residents, Mr Mashatile said.

“When wrong things happen, people think it’s the whole of the ANC, (that) we are all captured by the Guptas or whoever is capturing. But we are not,” he said.

source" Business Day



Construction of Leratong City in Mogale City – to commence shortly


Situated across the road from the existing Leratong Hospital, the first phase will consist of 15,000 residential units, an intermodal transport hub, a government precinct as well as a 30,000 m2 regional mall. The total development extends over 400 ha and construction of the bulk infrastructure is expected to commence by June 2016.

Located on two major regional movement routes that form part of the primary movement network of Gauteng Province, the Leratong City project has been selected as an area for Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG) investment. It forms an integral part of a larger regional node set in the context of a previously disadvantage township area, which has the potential to transform into a high intensity regional node.

The project will include the following units:

  • 4,200 fully subsidised BNG (Breaking New Ground) units;
  • 8,300 GAP (Grass Roots Affordable housing), FLISP (Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme) and Social Housing (subsidised rental) units; and
  • 2,500 freehold housing units aimed at the affordable housing market.

Units will be available for families qualifying for fully subsidised units to families earning over R15, 000 a month, resulting in a housing solution based on a wide range of financial capacity. Affordability and a variety of products were important considerations during the design process.

To complement the housing and other facilities, essential social amenities such as crèches, a community centre, educational facilities and healthcare facilities will be developed. Other amenities will include mixed-use business centres, religious sites, various recreational parks and green spaces, as well as public sports facilities. Proximity of the residential units to the amenities has been taken into consideration in the spatial arrangement.

A major benefit of this development lies in its location. Positioned across the road from the regional Leratong Hospital and at the intersection of major roads linking Mogale City, Soweto, Randfontein, Merafong, Roodepoort, Florida and Johannesburg, Leratong allows generous access to these business nodes.

The reduction in travelling time and costs, and resulting increasing residents’ disposable income and leisure time is in line with Government’s drive to locate people in and around areas of work. This is further strengthened by the development of the significant commercial precinct within the development.

To make provision for the predicted increase in traffic, the project will provide for the construction and improvements of major road upgrades, as well as opening up critical links to connecting suburbs. Plans are in place for the execution of a major sewer and water supply upgrade, in addition to the construction of a new electrical substation to support the development and surrounds.

Calgro M3, together with local partner, Sasuka, has assumed a variety of roles in the project, including that of implementing agent and turnkey developer, contractor and marketer.

“The project is facilitated by Calgro M3’s turnkey business model, where the work involved will be performed in-house, which keeps costs contained. A wide range of quality, well-priced residential products will be offered to a range of income earners. In addition, the implementation of this project will stimulate the local economy through the participation of the local community in the different phases of the project, in terms of Calgro M3’s local community-based employment philosophy,” explains Calgro M3 MD, Wikus Lategan.

South Africa’s steadily rising population, combined with an influx of people from rural to urban areas, as well as a general inflow into Gauteng, means it is increasingly challenging to provide sufficient housing. Leratong City will go some way to meeting that demand.

“Sasuka, a Mogale City-based black-owned and managed property development company is delighted to partner with Calgro M3 and McCormick Property in this ground-breaking development. The project is aimed at transforming a disadvantaged former mining area into a more vibrant community where housing, shops, schools, and places of work are integrated in a single, mixed-use neighbourhood,” comments Thamsanqa Mfundisi, Executive Chairman of Sasuka.

“This development will focus on quality walk-ups with a secure attractive living environment. It will capitalise on the location and become a trendsetter in a very large residential and commercial development project along the new Main Reef Corridor. The McCormick Property, CalgroM3 and Sasuka partnership has an unquestionable pedigree to deliver within the set timeframes.”

“McCormick Property is pleased to have partnered with Calgro M3 and Sasuka for the roll-out of this significant housing development that will not only provide housing for thousands of families, but also provide increasing support to our development of the Leratong City Mall which remains a cornerstone of this exciting development. The project has taken an immense amount of planning and coordination and we are thrilled to see it finally take off,” notes Jason McCormick, the MD of McCormick Property.

“The project also aims to revive the Chamdor Industrial area, making it accessible and attractive to potential investments. This will create more jobs, converting the unemployed into income earners and providing a market for rental and bonded housing units,” adds Mfundisi.

The project heralds a new area within the West Rand region by providing a creative human settlement solution that is strategically aligned to National and Provincial Government policy framework. It further seeks to positively impact on socio-economic transformation challenges not only by providing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, but also revitalising industry within the region.

“Housing is central to a person’s existence and quality of life,” adds Lategan. “Shelter is one of the most basic human needs. Stable, quality housing is essential to raising and educating future generations. We see this as both an opportunity and at the same time a responsibility to ending the cycle of poverty, and we are proud to be associated with this initiative.”



Building Africa’s biggest data centre


Gys Geyser, Head of Operations – Teraco, says the build is not just an extension of services and white space, but a milestone for Teraco and the African data centre industry: “In this expansion of our footprint, we are achieving what few companies have; building the largest data centre in Africa in accordance with modern international standards.”

Geyser says that the build brings the total size of the Isando facility to 9000sqm of white space and 18 500sqm of utility space. He says that the volume of data centre space is directly related to the power feed negotiated with the local council: “We now have a total of 16MVA of power, which will ensure that we can adequately power the all the data centres, as well as ensure that they are properly cooled and maintained.”

Initially launched seven years ago, Teraco has quickly established itself as the leader in terms of data centre operations in Africa. “We have seen an increase in demand based on the number of local and international cloud, content and network providers coming into Africa, as well as from existing clients. Teraco has also seen growth in the ICT sector, particularly from within the managed service provider segment.”

With an estimated 18-month build time, Geyser says Teraco’s new site should be operational towards the end of 2016. He says that there are some unique elements included in this build such as the approach to cooling.

“Teraco has implemented a Dynamic Free Cooling system. We have taken what has worked in our previous deployments and applied the latest technology and best practices. Additional support services have been added, such as a water supply system to ensure that our environment can operate independently from council for a period of time, guaranteeing uptime and availability. Aiming for a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, the new cooling systems will definitely assist Teraco to achieve greater efficiencies,” says Geyser.

After completing an Environmental Impact Assessment, Teraco was granted permission to store 210 000 litres of diesel on site. Geyser says that this is a significant achievement and will enable Teraco to run all the data centres for a minimum period of 40 hours at maximum load, again guaranteeing uptime.

“The overall design and build of the new data centre is focused on achieving international data centre design, build and operating standards but with our clients’ current and future needs in mind,” concludes Geyser.



Turner & Townsend provides project services on major Horn of Africa pipeline project


The 550km pipeline is a critical infrastructure project being undertaken by the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti.

To be developed at a total cost of approximately $1.55 billion by Black Rhino Group and South African-based MOGS, which together form Black Rhino MOGS (BRM), the Horn of Africa pipeline will transport diesel, petrol and jet fuel from the port of Djibouti to Awash in central Ethiopia. This will help cater for both countries’ rapidly increasing demand for refined products, alleviating the huge pressure on Djibouti and Ethiopia’s current fuel transportation system via road.

“The project is now in the set-up phase, with the design and procurement processes taking place over the coming months. The project will address both the planned growth in demand and the short and long term fuel delivery problems in Ethiopia,” says Mark Haselau, Turner & Townsend director: Energy.

As part of the owner’s team, Turner & Townsend is providing full project controls services – including estimating; cost, schedule, risk and change management; performance measurement and reporting and document control, in addition to contracts administration and procurement management.

“We have been guiding and supporting BRM on this project since inception and assisted with the project set-up, consultants’ appointments, and EPC consultant (engineering, procurement, and construction) procurement and planning. As this is a cost-driven project, the developers require an end-to-end solution delivered on time and within budget.

“The challenge in this groundbreaking project lies in overcoming the logistical, infrastructural and regulatory issues presented on the African continent – for example, the physical importation and transportation of materials to the various sites and laydown areas,” says Haselau.

Set to help boost economic growth, the Horn of Africa pipeline, ship-offloading facilities and storage will have a transporting capability of more than 240 000 barrels of fuel per day.

The pipeline will include a 20 inch steel overland pipeline from Damerjog through to Awash in Ethiopia, complete with pump and monitoring stations, as well as a buffer storage tank farm at Damerjog. This is linked to a terminal bulk storage tank farm and truck loading facility at Awash as well as offloading infrastructure in Djibouti.

As a result of their services provided to date on the project, Turner & Townsend has also been engaged by Black Rhino to assist with due diligence and set-up on other projects in Africa, including Nigeria.



R865.4bn to be spent on public sector infrastructure

R865.4bn to be spent on public sector infrastructure

This as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday tabled the 2016 Budget.

“Over the next three years, government and state-owned companies have committed R865.4 billion for investments in housing, roads, rail, public transport, water, electricity and community infrastructure,” said the 2016 Budget Review.

It said government is strengthening its collaboration with the private sector, labour and civil society, to speed up implementation of the structural reforms set out in the National Development Plan. Public-sector infrastructure spending over the medium term is expected to total R865.4 billion.

According to the budget, public-sector infrastructure spending remains a cornerstone of government’s commitment to building a more agile, competitive economy.

Tabling the budget in Parliament, Minister Gordhan said investment in energy will amount to R70 billion in 2016 and over R180 billion over the next three years, as construction of the Medupi, Ingula and Kusile power plants is completed.

Transport and logistics infrastructure will account for nearly R292 billion over the next three years.

State-owned company, Transnet, is acquiring 232 diesel locomotives for its general freight business and 100 locomotives for its coal lines.

In addition, there is R3.7 billion set aside to upgrade the Moloto Road, R30 billion for provincial roads maintenance, R18 billion for bus rapid transit projects in cities and the refurbishment of over 1700 Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl coaches.

Minister Gordhan added that R62 billion is allocated for the housing subsidy programmes of the Department of Human Settlements and R34 billion for bulk infrastructure and residential services in metropolitan municipalities.

Also, R28 billion will be spent over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) on improving health facilities and R54 billion on education infrastructure.

The Department of Water and Sanitation’s work on the next phase of the Olifants River water scheme is in progress, completion of the supply to Lukhanji Municipality in the Eastern Cape, completion of the Wolmaransstad waste water treatment works and construction of the Polihali Dam as part of the Lesotho Highlands project, is also in progress.

Minister Gordhan said the Industrial Development Corporation continues to play a leading role in financing manufacturing and beneficiation. It plans to invest R100 billion over the next five years, including R23 billion set aside to support black industrialists.

Government has also completed a R7.9 billion capital transfer to the Development Bank of Southern Africa, approved in 2013, which enables it to expand lending and implementation support to municipalities, and to complement private sector funding of strategic infrastructure projects.

The Minister announced that the New Development Bank will open its Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg, in March.

South Africa’s first instalment of R2 billion was paid in December last year, and the Budget makes provision for further commitments over the medium term.

“This initiative gives impetus to our role as a financial centre for Africa, and will facilitate access to global finance by African investors and institutions,” said Minister Gordhan.


Government has a range of targeted incentives to support industrialisation.

“A total of R10.2 billion over the medium term has been allocated to manufacturing development incentives and R3.4 billion to the special economic zones programme, largely for bulk infrastructure,” noted the budget review.

The infrastructure programmes in industrial parks will receive additional funding of R260 million in 2016/17 and 2017/18 through reprioritisation.

SA News



R576m to upgrade William Nicol

R576m to upgrade William Nicol

Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the project, MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi said the multi-million rand road construction project will expand the road capacity and improve mobility and safety on what is an extremely busy arterial road.

The project which is jointly funded by the developer Steyn City Development and the Department of Roads and Transport, is scheduled to be completed by September 2017.

“The K46 will be expanded from a single carriageway road to a dual carriageway in order to improve access and increase mobility to Diepsloot, Fourways, Dainfern and southwards towards Randburg and the N14 freeway.

“Included in the project scope is the upgrading of several interchanges, including Rose Interchange; the construction of pedestrian and cycle lanes; and the installation of road safety furniture and storm water drainage systems along the route,” MEC Vadi said.

He said the development and expansion of the transport infrastructure and road network is critical for further economic growth, particularly at a time when developing economies are experiencing a downturn.

The principal contractor will implement labour-intensive construction methods for the installing of concrete kerbing, drains, gabions, storm water outlet head walls and inlets and road signs.

A key component of the project is the engagement of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) as sub-contractors; the employment of local labour, particularly youth and women, and the training and skilling of employees involved in the project.



Positive update gives WBHO investors something to smile about


Headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the interim period ended December 2015 will come in somewhere in the 622c to 649c range. That implies a 15%-20% rise. Enchanted, not least after the group’s poor fiscal 2015, investors rewarded it handsomely on the news – lifting its stock 8% to end just above R124 per share on the session following the update. Interim results are due on February 24.

Notwithstanding a R37.4 billion-strong order book, the titan, one of the contractors behind the Mall of Africa, in Midrand, flopped last year partly because of poor management problems it encountered in Australia, where it owns Probuild Construction. Its other subsidiaries and associates are Edwin Construction, Insitu-Pipelines, Kalcon and Roadspan.

WBHO’s return on capital employed plummeted and profit margins contracted markedly on the back of a surge in revenues. HEPS came in at1105c, a 13.5% plunge which in turn returned the stock to its losing days.

Argon head of equities Junaid Bray, who lauds WBHO’s for its “arguably best management team” among its local peers, links the growth signaled by the update to a turnaround in a loss-making unit Down Under. “During the prior period up to December 2014, Australian profits were wiped out by loss-making contracts in [that country’s] civils division, so profits are basically reverting to 2013 levels.

While WBHO’s order book has been growing slightly, the higher margin roads & earthworks division continues to decline due to depressed mining markets and the resultant mining capex cuts.”

Choosing to focus on the bright side, but without downplaying the Australian malaise, WBHO CEO Louwtjie Nel described 2015 as “another year of sound achievement” amid persistent tough economic conditions and subdued activity in the mining sector.

The climate prompted the fir to “right-size” certain businesses and shift focus to “key areas offering opportunities”. The group, which has become a renowned player in the hinterland, has entered almost a dozen African countries including Zambia and Mozambique, where it built the Ressano Garcia power station. Growth from other African countries, adding a hefty 30% to group profits to Australia’s 25%, as Bray notes, is solid.

While WBHO – which built Moses Mabhida, Peter Mokaba and Cape Town stadia pre-2010 – rebounds, Calgro M3, a low-cost housing specialist, is shooting up the pecking order. It vaulted more than a third on the JSE to trade just above R18/share now (or R2.3 billion in market cap).

That was in a space of 12 months – a period when many in the construction, and other industries, middled at best. The much larger, and entrenched WBHO, has seesawed but also rebounded to exactly where it was 12 months ago. That returns the titan’s market cap to R7.8 billion but price:earnings ratio sits at a relatively higher 11 (to Calgro’s14).The question is whether WBHO’s price tag is justifiable and, regardless of the answer to that, sustainable.

Bray cites the group’s margins that “are relatively more stable” than those of its peers for starters. The difference lies in the fact that, comparatively, WBHO derives a higher proportion of earnings from its building division. Buildings are generally lower margin but less risky, asserts Argon’s head of equities. “This also explains why peers trade at lower multiples due to a higher contribution from more risky contracts.”

Zero-sum game notwithstanding, it fared better than Group Five, a joint venture partner in the R2.2 billion Mall of Africa project, and other rivals. Group Five has lost a quarter of its value during this period, with its market cap shrinking to R2.2 billion while M&R’s value has halved in the past 12 months. None of this compares with Aveng, which lunged from HEPS to headline loss per share last year, which has erased a hefty 80% to fetch a lousy 325c/share now, is a fraction of what it was worth last February.

The latter’s market cap is now R1.3 billion to M&R’s equally unbelievable R4.4 billion, as punters cut their losses and exit. The Big Five, which includes Basil Read, is valued a combined R16.5 billion on the JSE today – markedly lower than the R41 billion the quintet boasted in 2010 (WBHO is the only one that’s grown during this period).

That was amid government’s multibillion rand infrastructure bonanza but before construction firms were exposed for decades-long collusion, a scandal that still haunts their reputations.

The stock market isn’t the only place where the group, under the guidance of Nel, a WBHO lifer and engineer who assumed the hot seat in 2008, distinguishes itself. It has also grown its net assets at a faster pace than Aveng and Group Five, notes PSG Wealth Chief Investment Officer Adriaan Pask in The Investor. Separately, the Michael Wylie-chaired firm, whose board includes CFO Charles Henwood and Nonhlanhla Mjoli-Mncube, an independent, is rated a progressive Level 2 for its empowerment efforts.

Studying the horizon, Oxford Business Group says public spending on construction activity is seen increasing. But, right there is another point of discussion for large firms in the Big Five league. “(A) tightly competitive procurement environment is prompting larger JSE-listed construction and engineering groups to shift away from government contracts,” the business group asserts, adding that market leaders are considering more selectively bidding for public works projects.

While referring to what he felt was unwarranted pessimism towards the contractors, Pask also cites attractive valuations of these counters. “Earnings have shown a downward trend for a number of years and are currently at, or close to, all-time lows. The industry’s prospects remain largely reliant on government and mining infrastructure spending. Despite the South African government’s large infrastructure plans, we expect the rate of delivery to be low,” he writes.

In addition to the iconic Mall of Africa, an Atterbury project, there is ongoing construction at various locations at home especially in Gauteng. These include the 90000m² seven-storey mixed use Menlyn Maine Central Square, a R950 million project in Tshwane. Newtown Junction, another mixed use project which includes 40000m² retail space, was completed in 2014.

According to WBHO, recent awards of major projects include commercial offices in Sandton, KwaZulu Natal’s Ballito shopping centre and additional phases at the V&A Waterfront. Convinced of “a strong horizon” to 2017, the firm feels that activity levels and margins are likely to be sustained in the near term.

Beyond the Limpopo, opportunities are being explored in Namibia. Further, the building and civil engineering division is “the preferred contractor” for two retail developments in Mozambique, and Ghana where WBHO constructed the West Hills and Junction malls and handed them over during fiscal 2015. The construction at the Achimota Retail Centre – on a prime 4ha site in Accra – is also complete. The 15000m² Achimota, Atterbury latest shopping centre development in the West African state (and valued at US$60 million), opened to much fanfare and warm reception in October.

There is no doubt that South Africa's retail arena is over-supplied. Of course, it’s unclear how the country – given its mix of low buying power and a largely tertiary economy – can achieve growth often seen to the north of the Limpopo. That part of Africa promises handsome rewards to companies, from across the spectrum, who spread their wings there. WBHO fits the bill. So, while the present looks iffy for the construction behemoth, its future prospects seem promising.

Still, homework and caution are always advisable, Bray explains, noting that WBHO faces “the usual contracting risks” and currency issues because it straddles different geographies. “More than that, it seems the building market could be frothy given the buoyant shopping centre and office building activity in Sandton and Cape Town, as well as residential towers in Australia.

A slowdown in building activity poses a risk to WBHO,” he says cautioning against venturing into new markets or outside key areas. “WBHO has tried to expand in civils in Australia, which has not been successful.”



Roadworks on the N2 between Borcherds Quarry Rd and R300


The work is expected to have been completed in mid-2017.

About 82 000 vehicles travel every day on the affected stretch of road. Traffic disruptions will be kept to a minimum, and two lanes will be open to vehicles at all times.

The upgrade will improve the carrying capacity of the road, especially for buses and taxis in peak periods.

The ride quality of the road will be improved and better street lighting will be installed.

The project includes piling and earthworks to prepare for the future construction of a bridge and interchange from Eisleben Rd onto the N2.

The contract has targets for job creation and economic empowerment. A proportion of the contract amount will be spent on employing and training locally sourced contract labour, and a proportion on procuring goods and services from targeted Western Cape enterprises.

A total of 25 000 person-days of work will be created for local labour from the City of Cape Town municipal area.

A total of R14,8 million of the contract value is expected to be spent on targeted Western Cape contractor businesses.



Altitec signs South African joint venture with Obelisk to deliver Wind Turbine Blade and Tower services


The deal enables the two businesses to deliver a range of high quality wind turbine blade and tower services to wind farm owners, operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) operating in the South African market.

The South African wind energy market has grown rapidly in recent years with 15 new wind farms totalling 1,200MW constructed in the last 3 years. The South African government has already committed to procuring energy from another 19 wind farms totalling 2,000MW, to help combat longstanding electricity shortages.

This rapid growth has created demand for a repair, inspection and maintenance market that can service approximately 4,000 operational blades. In turn, the development of such a market will enable turbines to perform as expected, and provide a base of regional service expertise in the South African sector able to quickly address blade or tower issues and minimise wind farm downtime.

As part of the joint venture agreement, Altitec is working alongside Obelisk to provide a range of high quality, regionally specific blade and tower services, while also training new South African rope access technicians to international standards.

The range of core certified services delivered within the joint venture includes rotor-based inspections based on the principles for the monitoring of wind turbines, composite blade repairs, cleaning and monitoring of equipment and wind turbine tower corrosion protection and repair.

Currently the partnership has seen the creation and development of four dedicated teams of technicians that work directly with wider project management personnel on the ground.

“As key emerging markets move from early stage planning and development and into the commissioning stage, it’s critical that prospective wind power projects remain on track and stay within budget,” said Tom Dyffort, Managing Director, Altitec.

“However, while the planning theory stacks up, the operational reality of working within new territories can quickly create unforeseen challenges. Moreover, with many European manufacturers keen to safeguard and protect their equipment during the critical transport and commissioning stage, it’s essential that those technicians working with the equipment on the ground can provide absolute confidence and assurance.”

Dyffort added, “Given these challenges, our joint venture with Obelisk provides absolute reassurance for developers, owners, operators and manufacturers working within South Africa. Obelisk already has a very good reputation and strong track record in delivering quality services to the wind industry in South Africa, and we look forward to building on that base together.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Obelisk and Altitec will work to Germanischer Lloyd certification standards, training local technicians to help develop an established regional workforce for long-term operations and maintenance.

Justin Burnett, Managing Director, Obelisk, added, “Altitec is well known and highly respected within the on and offshore wind market for its focus on continuing to set and raise international blade repair and inspection standards. This ambition makes Tom and his team the perfect partner to help train and develop the next generation of technicians within the South African market. We look forward to working alongside Altitec as our relationship develops both within South Africa and further afield.”

Since 2010, Altitec technicians have inspected over 2,000 blades, 660 turbines, throughout the UK, Europe and within key emerging markets further afield. The firm provides a full range of blade inspection, repair and maintenance services, as well as an established, industry certified training programme, known as The Altitec Academy. The Altitec Academy has the ability to train over 180 rope access blade repair and inspection technicians every year.