From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Our top stories this week: we look at the first phase of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system;
South Africa’s largest iron-ore producer has outperformed the mining industry with an astounding set of financial results in the eye of the global economic storm; and, the world’s largest platinum company, Anglo Platinum, is traditionally associated with lots of cash, but currently it has lots of debt.

Shannon O’Donnell:
The first phase of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system is to start operations on August 30. It promises to set new standards for public transport. Irma Venter went to see if this will truly be the case.

Irma Venter:
France has one. Colombia has. Even Australia has one. BRT systems are seen as a fresh answer to increasing inner-city congestion and pollution. Now the people of Johannesburg will have the opportunity to step into their own, home-grown BRT system on August 30. Much has been said and written about the system – but what makes it different than other forms of public transport? When using a taxi for example, commuters often have to wait for it to fill up before they can depart. Taxi drivers are also paid in relation to the number of trips they can manage in one day, often leading to speeding. The metrobus system can easily become stuck in the same traffic jams that slow down private cars. Will the BRT system just be more of the same, especially if it is to be operated by former minibus taxi drviers? City of Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee for transport, Rehana Moosajee, says this will most certainly not be the case. She explains why.

City of Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee for transport, Rehana Moosajee

Irma Venter:
Moosajee hopes the BRT operating company, made up from the 575 taxi drivers to be displaced by the BRT system, will be operational by the end of the year, or sooner, should negotiations prove successful. Phase 1A of the system will encompass 27 stations, 25,5 km of road network, and 143 buses running from Soweto to Ellis Park. Moosajee says the system will carry 70 000 passengers a day.

Shannon O’Donnell:
Mining Weekly editor Martin Creamer asked Kumba CEO Chris Griffith about his success recipe and the benefits of this full-steam-ahead approach, even while there is still economic fog obscuring market visibility.

Kumba Iron Ore, CEO, Chris Griffith

Martin Creamer:
Kumba exported 30% more of the 18-million tons of iron-ore it produced into a shrinking global market, selling to China what the traditional Sluggish European and Japanese markets were not prepared to take up.

Martin Creamer:
So, while others cut back and shrunk, Kumba Iron Ore produced more and prospered.

Martin Creamer:
Kumba’s enthusiasm has been infectious. It has stimulated support from State-owned rail and port authorities in both South Africa and China.

Chris Griffith

Shannon O’Donnell:
Mining Weekly editor Martin Creamer asked Anglo Platinum CEO Neville Nicolau how he is tackling the setback. Neville Nicolau:

Anglo Platinum, CEO, Neville Nicolau

Martin Creamer:
Whatever is measured, can be improved, and Angloplat has settled on a measure of productivity.

Neville Nicolau

Martin Creamer:
When times are tough, flexibility is crucial, and Angloplat’s big opepit mine is providing it.

Neville Nicolau

Martin Creamer:
That flexibility will allow Angloplat to supply more than the 2,4-million ounces that it has promised for 2009 should short-term demand suddenly arise, or to cut back if demand dips.

Shannon O’Donnell:
And now for a sneak preview of this week’s Engineering News magazine:

In our cover story, we attempt to discover what generating energy from sugar will mean for South Africa.

We report that about 6-billion-rand is needed to assist Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, with its water supply and sanitation requirements.

And, read about Gulf Oil Marine South Africa concluding a multimillion-rand BEE deal with prominent businessperson, Mohamed Kajee.

And in Mining Weekly this week:

Our cover focuses on how China’s investment in resources is changing the Australian mining landscape.

Former DA leader Tony Leon says that the South African government would not afford the cost of nationalising the country’s mining sector.

And, we report that Central Rand Gold has successfully smelted and poured its first in-house gold bullion bar from its carbon-in-leach concentrate treatment plant.

Shannon O’Donnell:
That’s Creamer Media’s Real Economy Report. Join us again next week for more news and insight into South Africa’s real economy.