TransNet has just signed a R35 billion order from China for 1 064 locomotives, seemingly diesel, forming part of a R300bn, seven-year expansion plan. Transnet being a state entity, one must assume that this is going to be taxpayers’ money and therefore the deal should be made public, particularly with respect to the technical due diligence of performance.

What needs to be in the public domain is the supposed track record of this Chinese manufacturer ,in terms of the locomotives that are in operation, where, over what time and in particular what time span can be expected before such engines will have to be replaced. Will a full set of spares be available?

Where are these diesel locomotives likely to operate here in South Africa and will they be supported within the location of the locomotives. What training will be required and will the signage be Chinese or English? These are the type of questions that need to be answered.

Of greater concern is the fact that these locomotives are being imported once again at the expense of South African manufacturing and more importantly, job creation.

It has been said through the media, that 10 of these locomotives will be Chinese assembled and the “remainder made in South Africa”. What does this mean and who will monitor this?

Once again, it is certainly very difficult to understand that a vast majority of South African people think that China is the best thing since sliced bread. It would seem that price rules are at the expense of the South African manufacturing industry and job creation requirement. What are the chances that the public will be given the background of both the commercial and technical aspects of this contract?

Bryan E Bailey


Salaries for rock drillers do not add up

Having read Jo Seoka’s emotional but challenging speech published in Business Report, I have a question.

If 4 200 rock drillers earn R44 million a year in total, then Jo is saying they earn an average of R10 477 each per year or R873 a month. Is this correct or is it bad editing or is it back to the simple truth that very few socialists can do simple arithmetic?

I suspect the latter is correct. While this does not diminish the abhorrent truths of the abuses prevalent in our present economic system that he brings to light, it does make one despair for the possibility of any socialist-led alternative system ever becoming a viable economic alternative.

Dave Williams


Bad weather may save Obama’s seat

Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama’s deft handling of the current weather crisis, unlike his predecessor during the Katrina storms, should garner additional votes as election time nears.

Lending support at the Red Cross Centre, and consoling the many who lost loved ones, the president’s mere presence meant much for Americans, with even a Republican “surrogate” praising him.

The president’s thumping of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a recent debate, should settle who will be the occupant at the White House come 2013

A tempest that could swing an election!

AR Modak


Chief says Chevron is fully committed to SA

We read with interest Keith Bryer’s recent piece “SA’s elderly refineries may be beyond salvage” in Business Report on October 31.

As the newly-appointed chief executive of Chevron South Africa, I want to make it absolutely clear to our customers, employees, industry and government partners that Chevron is fully committed to South Africa, one of the global group’s best performing businesses.

Chevron is proud to be one of South Africa’s top four petroleum brands with more than 800 Caltex service stations across the country, dedicated to keeping our customers moving. Chevron is also enormously proud of our 100 000 barrel a day Cape Town refinery, which produces petrol, diesel, jet fuel, liquefied gas and other products that help keep the South African economy running.

Chevron continually reinvests in the refinery, not only through a regular maintenance programme, but also with the installation of new, cutting-edge technology, ensuring we operate to the highest environmental standards.

Chevron believes in the power of human energy and values the rich diversity of ideas, experience and skills our South African employees bring to the company.

That is also why Chevron South Africa devotes so much time, energy and resources to promoting health, education and economic development in this country.

Our 1 500 employees in South Africa work hard to earn the admiration of all our stakeholders – not only for the goals we achieve, but how we achieve them.

Stephen King

Chief executive, Chevron South Africa