LATEST ARTICLES

Why The South African State Should Not Subsidise Minibus Taxi Owners

Andrew Kerr, University of Cape Town Millions of South Africans rely on minibus taxis to get around. Without these vehicles, people wouldn’t be able to get to work, school or simply visit friends and family. Data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force surveys suggest that there are around 250,000 minibus taxi drivers in the country; there are likely about the same number of minibus taxis. Statistics South Africa’s 2020 National Household Travel Survey, meanwhile, indicates that 60% of households report taxis as their main mode of transport and the 2014/5 Living Conditions Survey showed that 79% of households reported spending money on taxi fares in the last year. The 2020 Travel Survey also shows that households’ most common complaint about public transport centred on the cost of taxis: they were too expensive. As an example, someone living in Khayelitsha, and working an eight-hour day at the minimum wage in central Cape Town, 27km away, would earn R184 a day and pay R48 for a return trip on a taxi – 26% of their gross earnings. Rising petrol costs, because of the war in Ukraine and trade disruptions, have amplified calls by taxi associations, the Competition Commission and others for the state to increase subsidies to minibus taxis. The only direct subsidies paid to minibus taxi owners is the scrapping allowance, which they receive if they scrap old taxis. Taxi operators complain that this is unfair, and that taxis should be subsidised like buses and trains. I am an associate professor in economics who has studied the taxi industry and transport costs for 10 years. I’ve taken hundreds of taxis over this time, partly to set up the site Taximap, which helps taxi commuters find taxis. But I do not believe that minibus taxi operators should receive new operating or capital subsidies. That’s because minibus taxi owners already benefit from two implicit but extremely valuable subsidies.

Flouting labour laws

The first is that most taxi owners do not abide by labour laws when employing drivers. That substantially reduces owners’ operating costs. The second is that while taxi associations seem to be de facto cartels, the state does not enforce competition law in the taxi industry. The industry’s prices and profits would be lower if laws were enforced. My analysis of Statistics SA’s 2019 Quarterly Labour Force Survey data shows that 70% of taxi drivers earned less than the national minimum wage of R20 an hour and 75% work more than the legal maximum of 55 hours per week. If all drivers earning below the minimum wage were paid the minimum wage but worked the same number of hours as they did before, the estimated taxi driver yearly wage bill would increase by about 30-40%. So, ignoring labour laws substantially reduces the cost of operating taxis. Train and bus companies, meanwhile, are almost all formal. They are required to pay their drivers and other employees’ wages that are determined in bargaining councils and which, at R50 per hour for bus drivers, are two and a half times the national minimum wage. Bus drivers may also work only the maximum number of hours permitted by law before qualifying for overtime pay. They’re also entitled to paid leave and various conditions of service that do not exist in the taxi industry.

Cartel-like behaviour

Taxi associations are groupings of independent business owners that get together and fix one price for each route that they control, which all members must charge. This is the textbook definition of a cartel and is illegal under the Competition Act The Competition Commission’s recent market enquiry into land-based passenger transport acknowledged the Department of Transport’s concern that taxi associations fixed prices. Yet in the report’s findings about price setting, price fixing was not even mentioned. Instead the commission suggested that taxis should receive more subsidies. This failure to apply competition law is a very important implicit subsidy. Taxi associations maintain and grow their power for two reasons. First, they enforce each taxi owner charging the same price. Second, they actively work to prevent the entry onto routes of non-association members, who in a freer market would enter to take advantage of the high profits and eventually drive down profits and prices – to the benefit of taxi users. The threat of, and actual, violence is the main way in which associations prevent entry. But they also work with public officials, who in many cases have decided that taxi associations should have the final say on who can get a license for the route they control.

Taxi owner profits

Given these two valuable implicit subsidies it shouldn’t be surprising that owning a taxi is generally extremely lucrative. The City of Cape Town conducted its own surveys of taxis from 12 associations 11 years ago, finding that annual profits were around R70,000 a year ($9000 in 2012), when vehicle values were probably around R100,000- R200,000 ($12000-$24000 in 2012). This represents a 30-70% annual rate of return on capital invested. Taxi associations often charge extremely high joining fees. The Competition Commission’s report mentions fees from R10,000 to more than R200,000. When I talked to taxi drivers in Cape Town during my journeys, many were desperate to become owners despite these high fees. Why would someone want to pay such a large amount of money to be able to operate an apparently unprofitable business? The obvious answer is that many taxi owners actually make large profits. Transport planners, policy makers, taxi representatives and commentators ignore or deny this. They often argue that there is an “oversupply” of taxis. They then conclude that taxis operate at very low profit levels and should be subsidised. But subsidising taxi owners who belong to associations that resemble cartels is likely to lead to higher profits for owners, with little benefit to taxi users. Minibus taxi operators provide a valuable service to many people in South Africa, which the state has been unable to provide. They receive little direct subsidy but two very substantial implicit subsidies. Instead of the state further subsidising taxi owners, policy makers should be thinking creatively about ways to enhance competition, reduce violence and enforce existing regulations.The Conversation Andrew Kerr, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Minister Gwede Mantashe Announces Fuel Hikes From Wednesday

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday announced fuel price hikes amid fears that the cost of food and other goods will be affected. The minister said that based “on current local and international factors”, the fuel prices for July 2022 will be adjusted as follows: ❖ Petrol (both 93 ULP and LRP): two hundred and thirty seven cents per litre (R2.37 per/l) increase; ❖ Petrol (both 95 ULP and LRP): two hundred and fifty seven cents per litre (R2.57 per/l) increase; ❖ Diesel (0.05% sulphur): two hundred and thirty one cents per litre (R2.31 per/l) increase; ❖ Diesel (0.005% sulphur): two hundred and thirty cents per litre (R2.30 per/l) increase; ❖ Illuminating Paraffin (wholesale): one hundred and sixty six cents per litre (R1.66 per/l) increase; ❖ SMNRP for IP: two hundred and twenty one cents per litre (R2.21 per/l) increase; ❖ Maximum LPGas Retail Price: two hundred and eighteen cents per kilogram (R2.18 per/kg) decrease. The fuel prices schedule for the different zones will be published on Tuesday, 5 July 2022.
Before the announcement, the Democratic Alliance said it, “believes that further fuel price hikes, such as the one anticipated this Wednesday, will push tens of millions of South Africans even deeper into a financial and humanitarian crisis”. However, Mantashe said the adjustment of fuel prices effective on Wednesday was based on current local and international factors.

XRP Price Prediction 2026 – Will it Continue To Boom 4 Years From Now?

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All crypto assets have a very bleak future. Our projection, on the other hand, aims to provide the most accurate future cryptocurrency values. It’s fascinating to observe how XRP has progressed throughout the years

What Makes XRP Different From Others?

Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, Ripple (XRP) has made its only aim to provide revolutionary financial services that benefit customers directly and help people and businesses grow.

PayID is now available.

Ripple (XRPPayID )’s feature allows customers to transfer and buy XRP across several regions in South Africa. For example, we can send an email from our email address to any other email account, such as Yahoo or Gmail. However, a Venmo user can’t send money to someone using Cash App or Zelle via the internet, and you can’t even send money to such applications through a bank’s website. Ripple PayID comes in handy here, since it provides users with a unique, easy-to-read ID that can be used with any service provider.

RippleX

This is an open-source project that provides developer tools and open-source code to help speed the development of efficient and interoperable blockchain technology.

FX Solution with Only One Payment

Companies like Santander are helping the XRP (Ripple) team create its One Pay FX solution. This service enables clients to make low-cost overseas payments instantly or same-day, while also letting them know how much money the recipient will receive and when they will receive it.

Is XRP Safe To Use?

“Is XRP secure?” is a simple question with a simple answer. This is due to XRP unique strategy, which sets it apart from other cryptocurrency players. Consider XRP to be the tortoise in “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Ripple has a clear purpose in mind. And, once there, it has the potential to dominate the internet payment sector.

Is It Wise To Invest in XRP?

Ripple has manifested as a fast and secure payment channel, allowing users all over the world to transact without the interference of the government or any other financial institution, making it fully customer-oriented. And, based on previous price movements, it may soon show a significant rise, making it a favorable time to hold XRP coins and purchase XRP.

XRP Price Analysis: Analyzing the Technicalities

XRP coin entered the crypto market with a low price of $0.0058 and stayed there for several months. Then, in 2017, the news of Ripple’s network partnering with Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank circulated, completely changing the trajectory of this historic platform. The end of December 2017 was a difficult time for the XRP price, as Bitcoin and other well-known cryptocurrencies weighed it down. XRP, on the other hand, returned after the February 2018 markets, exhibiting consistency in terms of price, market cap, and proactive market mood. In January 2020, the currency was trading at a market value of $0.25 and a market cap of $9,206,907,569, according to historical price movement and last year’s XRP price estimate. Later, the Ripple coin gained some traction. And the price of XRP rose above $0.25, approaching its resistance. Ripple’s price climbed dramatically from its initial performance and hovered around $0.35 until the beginning of March 2020. However, it did not last and began to fall after that by the end of the quarter, i.e., March, and its price went down to $0.15. Surprisingly, despite a global pandemic epidemic, the Ripple price regained its position in April 2020 and reached new highs. Throughout the year of 2020, Ripple has constantly fared well, with most of the trading being sideways from March to November. XRP, on the other hand, failed twice in August to break over the $0.312 resistance. However, on November 21, the price saw a bull run, rising from $0.32 to $0.69. The quick price rally of 2020 resulted in a considerable increase in trade volume in 2021. The candlesticks’ length grew as well, reflecting the trader’s interest in the cryptocurrency. The coin experienced another bull run after the end of the first quarter of 2021, and the price increased from $0.59 to $1.8 in just 10 days. However, the coin could not break the $2 resistance and took support at $0.5. Since the April 2021 bull run ended, the coin has traded in a range of $0.5 to $1.4. The coin is now trading at $0.8084. The critical resistance is $0.99, whereas the immediate resistance is $0.89. If the coin manages to break over these levels, it will run against significant resistance at $1.09 and $1.24. The immediate and essential support, on the other hand, is set around $0.69 and $0.59, respectively. It is still competing with top-ranked cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, BNB, and others. And, according to the XRP price prediction from last year, Ripple cryptocurrency may continue to manage its position, and its price may range in the short term, making it a solid investment option.

Price Prediction for Ripple (XRP): 2022-2026

Most experts blame Ripple for the spark token airdrop, and as a result, many investors have placed sell orders to enter another big coin like Bitcoin or Ethereum. “Is XRP a decent investment compared to Bitcoin or Ethereum?” most traders wonder. Ripple is unquestionably a better investment option, since it has only suffered minimal losses during the bear market compared to larger crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ripple, on the other hand, has been the talk of the town due to its technology, which is a bank-to-bank transfer mechanism that enables the primary highlight of cross-border transfer. The same mentality might help accomplish a lot of benefits on the market, as well as for the price of the coin XRP. As alliances and collaborations grow to new countries, the Ripple price projection (XRP) is likely to rise significantly in the coming years.

XRP Price in 2022-2023

Some of the world’s most powerful investors have backed the Ripple price prediction. The quantity of crypto-related collaborations and events demonstrates that many people believe in the currency. According to current XRP price predictions and price movement, it is expected to make a significant improvement before the end of the year, surpassing the $1.84 level, unlike other big coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to our long-term projection and price chart, the coin will continue to rise. The uptrend, on the other hand, is likely to grow slowly. Ripple’s price may rise in 2023 as a result of numerous developments and partnerships in the company’s plans. Ripple’s price is expected to hit $1.5, according to XRP price predictions.

XRP Price in 2024-2025

The XRP cryptocurrency price could be about $1.98 in 2024, according to our short and long-term technical analysis and Ripple price prediction. XRP was designed to replace most fiat currencies, and if it does, the coin may have a bull run. In the long run, the price of XRP might rise. According to the Ripple price prediction, the XRP price might be quite optimistic, with significant gains in the trading region of $2-$2.5. The most practical strategy is to anticipate a price level in the middle of these ranges. The future of XRP price forecast as an inexpensive and convenient digital asset could be triggered by widespread use.

XRP Price Prediction 2026

According to our estimates, the price of Ripple (XRP) could reach $2.6. The revenue is estimated to be roughly +200 percent after a 5-year investment. In the long run, the price of XRP might reach a minimum average of $2.4 in the next few years. The buying opportunity will improve as a result of this!

Conclusion:

XRP like always is set to boom in the future as well according to our predictions. If you haven’t yet invested in XRP, you should start thinking about it at least. 10 years ago crypto was nothing and no one knew about it but within 10 years cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm with its awe inspiring and creative endeavors. It has opened up a concept of a decentralized economy for the world that has made transferring money easier and hassle free. We can’t say if we will be able to have commercial flights to Mars in the next 4-5 years but we can safely predict that XRP will be experiencing yet another peak in 2026.

European Insurance AI Startup BDEO Expands To South Africa

Bdeo, a provider of Visual Intelligence solutions for the insurance industry, announced that it has expanded its relationship with Hollard and officially launched in the South African market. The two companies entered into a strategic collaboration to help streamline Hollard’s entire end-to-end motor claims assessment and damage repair process. Bdeo’s Visual FNOL technology allows Hollard policyholders to gather evidence of motor insurance claims through a self-guided image and video capture solution and deliver the information to Hollard Assessors in real-time to perform remote assessments. Bdeo’s Visual Estimate technology also estimates damage costs, enabling Hollard Assessors to generate assessment reports and formally authorise the repair steps with panel beaters more quickly. In 2021, Bdeo’s Visual Intelligence technology helped Hollard Assessors expedite over 20,000 assessments for its customers. “Hollard is pleased to have partnered with Bdeo to bring this disruptive artificial intelligence assessment tool to the African market. We’re proud to be embracing technological enhancements, innovation and experimentation in line with our business imperatives,” says Arie de Ridder, Head of Claims for Hollard Insure, Hollard’s short-term insurance division. “This product will ultimately benefit our customers and brokers through the delivery of exceptional service standards. We remain committed to driving efficiencies in all Hollard Insure business units, regions and broker partners.” Bdeo is an Artificial Intelligence solutions company with offices in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Mexico and customers in more than 20 countries worldwide. The company’s mission is to transform the motor and home insurance industry through its Visual Intelligence solutions, changing the way policyholders interact with companies. Bdeo offers technology that assists in the digitalisation and automation of the underwriting and claims assessment processes. With this value proposition, Bdeo is revolutionising the underwriting and claims assessment processes by minimising friction for all stakeholders, increasing policyholder satisfaction, and reducing operational costs for insurance companies. “Our joint teams worked closely to examine and calibrate all aspects of the solution, to ensure Hollard can provide an efficient service to both customers and body repair shops,” said David Morris, Head of New Markets at Bdeo. “We are delighted to formally expand the global footprint of Bdeo to South Africa,” said Julio Pernia, CEO of Bdeo. “This confirms once again that Bdeo Visual Intelligence is a truly global solution that can be applied to local market specialities, enabling insurers to make great leaps in efficiency.”

Meet Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level – A Portable Wireless Home Speaker

Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level, a portable wireless home speaker that delivers impressive sound, unrivalled craftsmanship and a modular design that improves longevity. With its slim design and built-in recessed handle, portability is at the heart of Beosound Level. Whether standing upright in the kitchen, lying flat on a table or hanging gracefully on the wall, the speaker intelligently changes its tuning to deliver an exceptional music listening experience in any position, in any room. “Beosound Level is the ultimate speaker for people who want the flexibility and convenience of a portable speaker but don’t want to sacrifice on sound quality and multiroom connectivity for the ultimate music listening experience. It works effortlessly with Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast and because of Beosound Level’s modular design, we are future-proofing Beosound Level so that it can deliver our signature sound for decades to come”, says Christoffer Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Management at Bang & Olufsen.
Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level
Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level

HONEST MATERIALS THAT SOFTEN TECHNOLOGY

A pure expression of timeless design by Torsten Valeur and crafted at Factory 5 in Struer, Denmark, Beosound Level showcases Bang & Olufsen’s unrivalled expertise in aluminium manufacturing with its pearl blasted aluminium frame. Using materials that soften technology whilst suiting any interior, the speaker covers are available in a natural oak veneer, which has been treated to highlight the natural grains and texture of the wood, reminiscent of luxury Scandinavian furniture, and a seamless knitted dark grey Kvadrat textile which makes Beosound Level inviting to touch and visually appealing from any angle. Beosound Level can easily be carried around the home and even taken into the garden thanks to its wireless technologies and IP54 Dust and Splash Water Resistant Rating. The speaker’s user interface is seamlessly integrated into its aluminium frame and the buttons can be activated through soft touch, allowing you to reach your favourite song or radio station effortlessly. When approaching the speaker, Beosound Level lights up to greet you through integrated proximity sensors adjusting its brightness to suit day or night. After you are finished interacting with the speaker, the light slowly dims, allowing the minimal design to take centre stage.

AN ELEGANT CHARGING EXPERIENCE

When it is time to charge, Beosound Level has unique charging capabilities, including the easy charge solution, an aluminium magnetic plug which seamlessly clicks onto the back of the speaker. This innovative design makes charging easy, elegant, and as stylish as the speaker itself, so you can leave the charger on your tabletop with pride. Bang & Olufsen have also designed an optional wall bracket that allows you to charge the speaker whilst still listening to music and effortlessly detach the speaker when you want the music to move with you.

SUPERIOR SOUND THAT IS MADE TO MOVE

With 105 watts of music power, Beosound Level delivers excellent clarity and dynamic bass due to its powerful five-driver speaker setup with two 4” woofers, one 2” full range driver, two 0.8” tweeters and low distortion amplifiers which allows for adaptive sound staging and delivers 79dB bass capability and 96dB in mid-range loudness. Beosound Level has advanced multi-channel supporting acoustic features including next generation active room compensation and comes with industry leading 16 hours of playtime at typical listening volumes. This is made possible by intelligently analyzing the behavior and continuously adjusting the power consumption and tuning of the speaker. The audio architecture of Beosound Level has been created to automatically adjust its acoustic tuning from 180-degrees to 360-degrees based on the way it is positioned, optimising your listening experience.
Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level
Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level

IMPROVING LONGEVITY THROUGH DESIGN

Bang & Olufsen is renowned for its long-lasting products, and with Beosound Level the company is also introducing new solutions to fight technology obsolescence, enhance resource efficiency, and improve longevity. In addition to its timeless appearance, Beosound Level has been modularly designed for easy maintenance, service, and repair where customers can perform simple operations like replacing the battery and service partners can easily access vital parts of the speaker. Beosound Level comes with Bang & Olufsen’s replaceable streaming module, which will power all the company’s future home speakers. The module has been frontloaded with enough processing power and connectivity technology to receive new performance updates and features for many years to come, and the module can easily be accessed for exchange and reconnection to the main board as a service solution. In case connectivity and streaming technology should become outdated over time, the module can be replaced with the latest version. This means that the speaker can be future proofed by updating to the latest technology standards to deliver decades of great sound experiences. Bang & Olufsen will continue to produce the easily exchangeable front covers in new materials and colourways so that the speaker can evolve with your personal style and identity, whilst also delivering an element of luxury to any interior. Adding to the resource efficient profile of Beosound Level, the body of the speaker is created from a high- performance recirculated polymer material.

Audi Connect, Which Turns The Car Into Connected Vehicle, Is Now Available On Older Models

Audi South Africa has introduced the national availability of its new Audi connect plug and play device. This innovative technology solution is freely available to all customers whose vehicles have a model year introduction from 2008 onwards and that doesn’t currently offer Audi’s latest connected integrated technology. The Audi connect plug and play app (available on iOS/Android) lets your smartphone use Bluetooth and the Audi connect plug and play hardware to connect to your vehicle, turning it into a connected car in no time at all. “We understand that Audi customers are keeping their vehicles for a longer period of time and attempting to get the most out of their vehicles through the latest technological and convenience offerings. The Audi connect plug and play device is part of our ongoing commitment to help bring digital innovation to all our customers, through the driving experience” says Hassan Salie Head of Aftersales and Dealer Development at Audi South Africa. With real time vehicle data, Audi connect plug and play turns the car into a connected vehicle. The retrofit solution offers diverse connectivity features and benefits for older vehicles. Once the hardware is installed and the app is downloaded, customers can expect to experience several benefits with the Audi connect plug and play device and application. This includes an overview of the most important car data (mileage, fuel levels, vehicle identification number); evaluation of their driving style; service appointments; roadside assistance in the case of a breakdown; automated recording of car location; as well as an automated connection to their selected Dealer partner. The Audi connect plug and play device (hardware) and mobile phone app (software) is required to digitally connect customers with their vehicles, and in turn connect them to their preferred service providers. The registered Audi Dealership will then be digitally equipped to communicate with the Audi driver timeously about service intervals and potentially other offers on hand. The installation of the Audi connect plug and play hardware is a value added initiative (free of charge) and customers are encouraged to contact their preferred Audi Dealership for a booking and to assess the opportunity for compatibility and installation

New Volkswagen T-Roc To Retail From The First Week Of July

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Volkswagen’s new T-Roc will retail from Volkswagen dealers on 5 July 2022. The T-Roc is positioned between the recently launched Taigo and the Tiguan in Volkswagen’s T SUV model range. Since market introduction in 2020, the Volkswagen T-Roc has sold 4 490 units in South Africa. The Design equipment line (available in the 1.4 TSI with 110kW and 2.0 TSI with 140kW) is offered with two-tone paintwork, chrome elements, background interior lighting and convenience seats. Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, a leather-wrapped multi-functional steering wheel (with paddle shift, Adaptive Cruise Control, High-Beam Control Light Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Front Assist), multi-colour Digital Cockpit, 2-zone climatronic air-conditioner, Comfort Package with keyless entry, Composition Media Radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, Park Assist with Park Distance Control and silver anodised roof rails. The T-Roc R-Line features a striking, sporty bumper design and multi-function sports steering wheel with touch control. In addition to the standard features in the Design equipment line, the T-Roc R-Line also comes available with the Sports Comfort Package (Sport suspension, progressive steering and keyless entry), Nappa leather seats, Driver Assistance System with lane keeping system and lane change assist, 19-inch Misano alloy wheels, Digital Cockpit Pro, IQ.Drive Package for R-Line (Autonomous Emergency Braking with Front Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with speed limiter and Proactive passenger protection system for Front Assist and Side Assist) and a Lava Stone dashboard, centre console and front door trim panel inserts. The entry-level engine offering in the new Volkswagen T-Roc range is the four-cylinder 1.4 TSI with maximum output of 110kW and 250 Nm of torque. It is coupled with an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, with the top speed being 205km/h. Fuel consumption is 6.3 l/100km and it takes 8.4 seconds to reach 100 km/h. The T-Roc range is rounded off with the 2.0 TSI engine with 140 kW of power and 320Nm of torque. The 2.0 TSI engine, which is combined with 4MOTION as standard, is coupled with a 7-speed DSG® transmission. The top speed is 216 km/h. Fuel consumption is 7.3 l/100km and it takes just 7.2 seconds to reach 100 km/h. Recommended Retail Price (VAT and emissions tax included)
T-Roc Design 1.4 TSI 110kW Tiptronic R563 800
T-Roc Design 2.0 TSI 140kW 4MOTION DSG® R627 300
T-Roc R-Line 2.0 TSI 140kW 4MOTION DSG® R660 400
 

Mapula Bodibe Named CEO Of MTN Rwanda

MTN South Africa Chief Consumer Officer Mapula Bodibe takes the helm at MTN Rwanda, bringing with her more than 15 years’ experience with MTN, including in Uganda. She has a strong background in commercial strategy, consumer marketing, customer strategy, brand management and communications, product management and customer analytics. Sylvia Mulinge becomes MTN Uganda CEO, joining from Safaricom, where she served as Chief Consumer Business Officer for the Group. A seasoned executive, she brings with her a passion for transforming customers’ lives using technology. Mulinge replaces Wim Vanhelleputte, who will take on the new MTN Group role of Operations Executive: Markets. In this position, he will leverage his experience in furthering financial inclusion and strengthening MTN’s position as a market leader. Vanhelleputte is a former MTN Côte d’Ivoire CEO and has extensive operational experience across Africa.
MTN
MTN
To support the accelerated execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy, MTN Group is pleased to announce the appointment of new CEOs for operations in Cameroon, Rwanda and Uganda effective 1 September 2022. MTN also announces the creation of a new senior MTN Group post; that of Operations Executive for Liberia, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, and Congo-Brazzaville effective 1 August 2022, reporting to the Senior Vice President: Markets, Ebenezer Asante -Twum. “The appointment of these executives, all with strong track records of execution and results, adds to our confidence on delivery of our Ambition 2025 strategy”.  says MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita. MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng’ambi becomes CEO of MTN Cameroon, replacing Stephen Blewett, who is leaving the Group. Ng’ambi oversaw the listing of MTN Rwanda as well as the establishment of its fintech subsidiary. She was instrumental in strengthening the business’s stakeholder engagement and has also worked in MTN’s Benin and Zambian operations. “My thanks to Stephen for his valuable contribution to the MTN Group over the years and wish him well as he journeys to new opportunities outside of the African continent. I welcome Sylvia to the Y’ello family and look forward to working with her, as well as with Mitwa, Mapula and Wim in their new roles, as we continue to execute on our Ambition 2025 strategy,” says Mupita.

MTN, Huawei To Build Southern Africa’s First 5G Enabled Metal Mine

Nkwe Platinum and South Africa Zijin Platinum, a wholly owned subsidiaries of mining company Zijin Mining Group, have joined hands with African telecommunications giant MTN and global ICT provider Huawei together, and signed a collaboration agreement to build the Southern Africa region’s first 5G-enabled smart metal mine. MTN and Huawei are to provide 5G-based ICT solutions for the smart mining requirements including, not only high-speed 5G broadband access, but also smart mining solutions like vehicle remote control, IoT, and enterprise digital transformation. Once complete, the mine will mark a significant step forward in the digital transformation of the local mining industry.  It will effectively demonstrate how a number of emerging technologies can be combined with 5G to improve functions across the mine. This kind of advancement will become increasingly important as South Africa looks to remain competitive in the global mineral and resources space. The country is the world’s top platinum producer and mining accounts for eight percent of South African GDP.

Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine, Limpopo

 “For more than 20 years, the Zijin Mining Group has regarded scientific and technological innovation as its primary driving force, becoming one of the few multinational mining companies in the world to be equipped with autonomous system technology and engineering management capabilities, with a well-established scientific research system and practice platform.” Fan Zhiyu, MD and CEO of Nkwe Platinum Limited, said. “In May 2021, at the mine launch, we stated that we would build the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine into a project with advanced technology, solid safety, and environmental protection practices. The adoption of this 5G smart mining solution will certainly enable the Zijin Mining Group to deliver on that promise, and to establish the mine’s technology-led global competitiveness.” “The development of metal minerals is laborious and technical work. Therefore, the Zijin Mining Group regards informatisation and intelligence as key strategic directions, and actively explores technical solutions that can improve the safety, process automation, and benefits of mining,” he added. “The Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine in South Africa is one of the Zijin Mining Group’s major overseas projects. The collaboration with MTN and Huawei will help the Zijin Mining Group build its first high-tech and safe overseas smart mine, brimming with socio-economic value, from the initial stage of construction. We will also work hard to promote sustainable development in Africa.” Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Officer at MTN Business said “Smart mining continues to a buzzword in South Africa. At MTN Business, we are excited to be playing a leading role in this space by using our world-class network and systems to promote the growth and sustainability of our enterprise customers. 5G technology is a game changer that will transform old mining processes.” “We have invested over R50bn in modernizing our network for the past five years, this investment has put MTN in a greater position to offer cutting edge, faster and seamless connectivity to its customers. The partnership will see all parties involved reaping the benefits of our best network,” said Matandela. “Digital transformation has become a global trend across numerous industries, and 5G has undoubtedly accelerated this,” Mr. Peng Song, president of Huawei Global Carrier Marketing & Solution said, “we feel very excited to work with Zijin and MTN to open Southern Africa’s first 5G metal smart mine.” “Huawei is currently bringing its 5G-based ICT solutions into the mining industry and building a cross-industry ecosystem to continuously improve network connectivity to help Telcos maximize network value, and also help the mining industry build safe and smart mining projects through the capabilities of 5GtoB,” he concluded. This project coincides with a critical period of digital transformation in Africa’s mining industry. All the three parties are happy to build the strategic partnership to support the success of the project and make in-depth contribution to the mining industry for South Africa.

Vodacom Spends R460 million To Modernise Its Network In Limpopo

Vodacom Limpopo Region has invested more than R460 million into the network to increase coverage and meet the need for online access. This investment aims to boost socio-economic development in the region, as Vodacom strives to bridge the digital divide by making affordable connectivity accessible to all. “Our investment in network technology aims to expand broadband coverage and provide quality network service to our customers. As a result, we are enabling citizens across the region to reap the benefits of connectivity and not be left behind in a digitised society,” says Miguel Simoes, Managing Executive for Vodacom Limpopo Region. From this capital expenditure, R140 million has been spent on expanding broadband coverage, with 58 new base station sites deployed, including 17 in deep rural areas, accelerating digital inclusion. This brings the region’s 3G population coverage to 99.7%, while 4G stands at 94.3%. In 2021, Vodacom Limpopo switched on 5G mobile networks in Polokwane and Thohoyandou. The region also completed 642 LTE upgrades to accommodate the 46% increase in data traffic year on year. To prevent disruption to network services in the event of power outages, such as load shedding, Vodacom Limpopo Region invested more than R110 million in upgrading base station battery systems. In addition, Vodacom has been mitigating network challenges of theft and vandalism through the implementation of high-security infrastructure and armed response at sites across the region. As part of the technology company’s price transformation journey, Vodacom Limpopo launched customised Just 4 You discounted voice and data offers for customers. This includes social media bundles which start from as little as R5 to larger data offers such as 10GB at R99. “Through our efforts to reduce the cost to communicate while at the same time introduce connectivity to more areas and upgrade existing network services, we have grown our customer base by 19% in this past year. This means more than 3 million customers in the region can tap into the life-changing opportunities of digital technology, from essential services to employment and education,” says Simoes. For the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector – the backbone of the local economy – Vodacom Limpopo tailored flexible and affordable solutions to ensure these customers could remain connected and manage their businesses, despite the uncertainty of COVID-19. To help SME customers overcome the economic challenges of the pandemic, Vodacom Limpopo provided financial support through amortised payment plans. Bolstering youth employment in the region, Vodacom Limpopo partnered with the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) to provide over 200 graduates with work experience and skills training at Vodacom retail outlets and regional departments. Some of these graduates have been employed by business partners on a permanent basis. Access to online education material and competency in using digital technology can empower young people to find career success in the digital economy. Working with the Department of Education, Vodacom Limpopo donated 100 tablets to the top matric learners in the province to help them advance their academic ambitions. In addition, 50 tablets were awarded to students in the province who are brand ambassadors for anti-bullying in schools. The region also partnered with the University of Limpopo and University of Venda to offer reduced data bundles so that almost 20 000 students were able to study remotely during the pandemic. There is an increasing expectation on the private sector to use its core capabilities and resources to make a meaningful contribution to society. To this end, Vodacom Limpopo partnered with the provincial government to provide 25 laptops to social workers to capture and upload grant beneficiaries in rural areas, and donate 50 tablets to the Department of Health, which uses the devices to record COVID-19 vaccinations in local villages. To further address the barriers to connectivity and drive adoption of internet-enabled devices, Vodacom Limpopo collaborated with Google South Africa last year, to migrate customers from 2G to 4G by giving away Android-powered smartphones to residents of 11 villages across the province. The region continues to accelerate ICT integration in communities with regular digital skills training programmes offered at Vodacom’s ICT centres, schools and teacher training centres in the province. “At Vodacom, our purpose is to connect for a better future. I am delighted by the strides we have made as a region in network capabilities, customer growth and, most importantly, democratising access to the internet in this past financial year, as we support our company’s goal of harnessing technology to improve the lives of the next 100 million customers by 2025,” concludes Simoes.