109 episodes

Peter Bruce, veteran South African newspaper editor and commentator, interviews the country's social and political leaders and experts in a weekly effort to explain what is actually going on in this complicated country. Bruce's interviews are about making events easy to understand for people with little time to listen.

Podcasts from the Edge TimesLIVE Podcasts

    • News
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Peter Bruce, veteran South African newspaper editor and commentator, interviews the country's social and political leaders and experts in a weekly effort to explain what is actually going on in this complicated country. Bruce's interviews are about making events easy to understand for people with little time to listen.

    Is that column doric or iconic?

    Is that column doric or iconic?

    Peter Bruce talks about being a columnist in this latest edition of Podcasts from the Edge. He approves of the notion that while columnists are nominally journalists they are driven by their own opinions and a powerful drive to grab the attention of their audience. Citing London Times columnist Matthew Parr’s he describes writing a column for a living as “striking poses which will only convince others if you yourself can temporarily inhabit the belief … (you) take a brief, elbow ambiguity aside, an go full pelt”.It also means trouble. Bruce reads a letter about him in The Sunday Times from foreign minister Naledi Pandor in which she suggests the editors remove him. This after she felt, after months of praise directed at her, that she was on the wrong end of a column he wrote a week earlier. His response? “Well done minister, fire the journalist. You’d be perfectly comfortable among your friends in Moscow and Tehran.”.

    • 19 min
    When business stops trying

    When business stops trying

    Most of the import tariffs protecting South African companies in their home market have been in place for more than 20 years, trade expert Donald Mackay tells Peter Bruce in this episode of Podcasts from the Edge. That implies that in two decades the protected companies still have not become competitive enough to stand on their own two feet. It is given the trade instruments in the hands of trade, industry and competition minister Ebrahim Patel a bad name and business is increasingly loath to use them. If you do Patel will protect you if you promise to create jobs. And if you want to import something that isn’t made in South Africa, he’ll give you permission provided you undertake in writing to buy from a local producer if someone starts making the product you want. And all the while the minister to “creating” heavily subsidies black industrialists who will one day substitute all your imports for you. The State doth wheel and deal in South Africa and by the looks of it a swathe of business has had enough.ends

    • 39 min
    Time to step on the gas?

    Time to step on the gas?

    On July 1 2026, just more than 28 months from now, a vast swathe of South African industry — from manufacturers of car windscreens, beer bottles, industrial powders and even bakeries — will grind to a sudden stop unless the government rapidly intervenes to encourage the construction in Mozambique of a new liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal. Jaco Human, CEO of the Industrial Gas Users Association of Southern African tells Peter Bruce in this edition of Podcasts From the Edge that now that Sasol, for the last 20 years the monopoly supplier of LNG to industry for heating has given notice that it will stop supplies from its Mozambique fields in 2026, industries using gas in their furnaces don’t use enough to justify the construction of a new import terminal. They need Eskom or something like it to guarantee an off take from a new terminal of at least 50 petajoules (that’s roughly 50m 19kg LPG bottles in volume of LNG). The industrial users already use 50 petajoules a year. They employ 100 000 people. But the scary thing is that Eskom has no gas-fired power plants and the debate about using gas-to-power as a transition from coal in SA is still raging. Critics argue that new installing new LNG infrastructure now would quickly leave it stranded as other greener technologies become more efficient and cost-effective. Human says work needs to start on a new terminal in the next four months! Two years from then, gas-laden Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRUs) Ships which transport, store and regasify Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) on board would need to dock at a new terminal at Maputo’s Matola port and pump it into the existing Romco pipeline that Sasol has been using. There is literally no time and there is literally no chance of the SA government making a decision in time.

    • 51 min
    Why the ANC might be happy polling 40% — it's not even trying yet.

    Why the ANC might be happy polling 40% — it's not even trying yet.

    Opinion polls giving the ANC just 45% of the vote ahead of the coming general election are “good for the ANC”, veteran political writer and keen observer Sam Mkokeli tells Peter Bruce in this edition of Podcasts from the Edge. Just wait until the ruling party’s election machine gets going. At 45% percent (or 40% 0r 48% depending on the poll) given its performance in government the only way forward when it actually starts campaigning is up. Mkokeli takes a dim view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address last week but sees no threat from the established opposition. He says the Multi-Party Charter, the centre-right election “coalition” of the Democratic Alliance, Inkhatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front +, ActionSA and smaller parties may not even survive the campaign intact, let alone threaten even if it manages to stay intact.

    • 37 min
    Gwede Mantashe’s quiet race to build a gas-fired rival to Eskom

    Gwede Mantashe’s quiet race to build a gas-fired rival to Eskom

    Largely hidden by the desperate public discourse over the future of Eskom and electricity in South Africa, Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been patiently building not only a case for supplanting coal with another fossil-fuel, LNG, but has now begun to lay down plans and actual tenders for an entire new cast powered infrastructure. It is all still a bit disjointed but in prospect is a vast new industrial undertaking, with new infrastructure and new rules. Peter Bruce talks to amaBhungane journalist Susan Comrie in this episode of Podcasts from the Edge — she has doggedly and brilliantly stuck with the unfolding gas extravaganza in a series of revealing reports over the past three years. What she reveals is staggering.

    • 53 min
    And now for something all too familiar

    And now for something all too familiar

    Peter Bruce talks to trade and industry expert Donald MacKay in this first edition of Podcasts from the Edge for 2024. Why are our grand master plans failing? Because we’re trying to pick winners, says Mackay, and where you make winners in a market economy, there’ll also be losers. Steelmaker Arcelor Mittal, just two years ago the centre-piece of ANC government’s promised new re-industrialisation dream, founded on localisation, has just announced it is shutting down half its business. At the department of trade, industry and competition the process of creating or extending or rebating import duties is now almost completely off the rails and no longer trusted by business. Is it just a case of good policies being smothered by a State unable to implement them. Or is it plain bad policy? Listen to hear the answer...

    • 36 min

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