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Port Elizabeth-based Michael Straton was elected ECA(SA) president at the association’s AGM on 14 November 2013. He says the ECA will now consolidate its service to its members… (more)

In 2012, South Africa produced 80 000 tonnes of copper but export permit applications were lodged for 119 000 tonnes of the metal that year. This year, these figures for up to June were 60 000 and 92 000 tonnes respectively. According to Evert Swanepoel of the Copper Development Association Africa, underlying and in fact driving this ongoing increase in copper theft is a lack of adequate control on the export of this metal. As of last year, copper dealers are required to register in terms of the Second Hand Goods Act but very few have complied so far… (more)

The 2013 Presidential Excellence Awards of the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa were conferred during a formal banquet to showcase the quality of work done by the association’s member companies over the past year… (more)

New Beka MD Carl Watson speaks to Vector about, among others, his immediate priorities, today’s drivers in the lighting industry, the effects of the recession and the lack of understanding of LEDs. Luminaire and GRP pole manufacturer Beka became an international player in the world lighting market when founder and former MD Johann Schleritzko recently sold his shareholding in the company to the Belgian Schréder Group… (more)

The incandescent lamp, which has famously been used in general lighting for over a century, is on its way out. In recent years, some 18 countries the world-over have introduced measures effectively banning manufacture, import or sale of the energy hungry bulb and now, it seems, South Africa is about to join their ranks… (more)

Delegates at the ninth annual conference of the Ilumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) heard that competition from lighting manufacturers in the Far East does not pose a real threat to the local industry as many industry doomsayers seem to think. Addressing an open panel discussion, EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland said the real danger in terms of the influx of product from abroad lies with South Africa’s regulatory mechanisms which are failing us… (more)

Increasingly, the electrical contracting industry in South Africa has no alternative but to resort to the media to demand solutions to problems that are being ignored by the regulatory authorities. Needless to say, this is a sad, unhealthy state of affairs and most likely indicative of an erosion of accountability and a growing sense of indifference among those who make the laws and supposedly enforce them… (more)

A 20% import duty was imposed on LED lamps and fittings as of 1 January 2013, and a further application by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for another duty increase is currently pending. How this would impact the SA LED manufacturing and distribution industry, the local energy efficiency drive and the influx of inferior product from abroad was discussed at a recent meeting of members of the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA)… (more)

A 20% import duty was imposed on LED lamps and fittings as of 1 January 2013 with a further application by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for another duty increase currently pending. How this would impact the SA LED manufacturing and distribution industry, the local energy efficiency drive and the influx of inferior product from abroad was discussed at a recent meeting of members of the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA)… (more)

The South African Electrical Installation Regulations require registered electrical contractors to issue certificates of compliance (CoCs) in accordance with the Wiring Code (SANS10142-1) on completion of work on an electrical installation. An Accredited Inspection Authority (AIA), acting as agent of the Department of Labour (DoL), may be called in to inspect the electrical installation if there is any doubt of the validity of the CoC and/or the compliance of the electrical installation with the Wiring Code.It was against this backdrop that Mark Palmer of the Gauteng Accredited Inspection Authority (GAIA) became aware of some 2000 cases of invalid CoCs and sub-standard installations reported to the Department of Labour (DoL) since 2005. None of these cases, says Palmer, had been responded to by the Chief Inspector as dictated by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, prompting Palmer to conduct an exercise of his own… (more)

According to the new Electrical Machinery Regulations promulgated on 25 March 2011, all new electric fences installed after that date will need additional certificates of compliance (CoCs). As of 1 October 2012, this also holds true for the purchase and sale of all immovable property with installed electrical fencing systems… (more)

How long have you been associated with the ECA(SA)?

Some 35 years ago, I travelled to Johannesburg for a formal interview to see if I was considered “ECA material”. The interview was conducted by about five people – and they weren’t very friendly either. They asked all sorts of questions, some of which didn’t even pertain to the electrical industry! After about an hour of interrogation they excused me. The next morning, they let me know that I had been accepted and I have been a member of the ECA(SA) ever since. I was elected vice chairperson of the then Pretoria branch in the late 1980s and kept the position throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s…  (more)

In this, the first “lead editorial” for 2013, we take a look at the events of 2012 and highlight the challenges, opportunities and threats to the local market and our industry over the past year… (more)

Eskom, Metrorail, Telkom, Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) have collectively lost R3,12-billion to copper theft between April 2006 and December last year. This is according to transport minister Ben Martins in reply to a series of Democratic Party parliamentary questions by Pieter van Dalen MP… (more)

In 2011, the global lighting market was estimated to be worth between R799-billion and R924-billion. The high-intensity LED market alone was worth just over R106-billion and is expected, researchers say, to reach a staggering R1173-billion over the next two years. The same researchers predict a 20% market growth for LED lighting (indoor and outdoor) until “at least 2016″… (more)

Africa is emerging from the world-wide recession as an attractive destination for international investment, not only for its natural resources and the global demand for them, but also because of economic and political reforms creating a more conducive business and investment climate. The International Monetary Fund reports that seven out of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are found on this continent while the African Development Bank estimates an annual expenditure by 2030 of up to $2,2-trillion for Africa at a growth rate greater than 5%… (more)

The European Union is the developing world’s largest trading partner and one of the key investors in the global economy. It is a major source of remittances and an important donor to developing countries – poorer “third-world” countries depend on Europe for roughly half their international aid. Will this, the second European financial crisis, lead to the predicted (and dreaded) “paradox of thrift” and impact our industry negatively as markets around the world reduce demand?… (more)

In her budget speech to parliament on 17 May 2012, energy minister Dipuo Peters noted that, while the implementation of the solar water heater (SWH) programme was making headway, the majority of the systems installed were imported. This is especially true of low-pressure systems used in the RDP housing drive and in the medium-income residential sector… (more)

The ongoing saga of the statutory registration of electrical contractors took another turn with the announcement by the Electrical Contracting Board (ECB) that its function of registering contractors had been extended until 31 August 2012 or to a later date determined by the chief inspector. This announcement contradicts the announcement by the Department of Labour (DoL) in March this year that it would assume responsibility directly for contractor registration as of 1 June 2012. It is the latest in a series of contradicting announcements by the DoL and the ECB regarding contractor registration, sowing considerable confusion in the industry… (more)

A glance through Vector this month tells us that skills shortages in this country are fast becoming a serious threat to industry and economy alike. Industry players are exasperated, calling, as does ECA(SA) president Mark Mfikoe, the inability to develop skills “the biggest scandal in this country”… (more)

Barlow Logistics has released its annual survey, “Supply chain foresight 2012”, which provides an in-depth look at South Africa’s somewhat precarious position as a trade and logistics gateway into the rest of the continent. Noted contenders for this position are Egypt, Nigeria and the Maputo corridor… (more)

Converting conventional fluorescent luminaires with magnetic ballasts and T8 tubes to luminaires with electronic ballasts and T5 tubes by means of so-called “conversion kits” is claimed to provide technical advantages, energy efficiency improvements, and much needed energy savings. In most cases, however, the reality is quite different, several problems… (more)

In her article, “Solar heater rules eclipse local firms” (Mail & Guardian, 11 November 2011), Lynley Donnelly reports that solar water heater (SWH) makers in the Western Cape are “shutting their doors after decades in business”… (more)

Vector is officially 35 years old this year! Founded in 1977 by Ray Beaumont and Tom Beattie (no relation to our Carrol Beattie) as a publication for the drives sector, the magazine has a long and eventful history of keeping firstly the electrical and process engineering industry and now, of course, the electrical contracting industry, abreast of news, views, events and technology… (more)

A senior associate and counterfeiting expert at law firm Adams & Adams recently stated to the media that global confiscation of counterfeit goods currently increases by 46% per year. This makes the manufacture of counterfeit product one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. In South Africa, the trade in counterfeits amounts to some R362-billion a year. This impacts on all aspects of the economy and the electrical contracting industry is no exception. What, then, can industry do to help weather this storm?… (more)

Some changes are taking place in the Vector editorial staff. After being editor for nearly ten years, Peter Adams is handing the baton over to Mark Botha who, in the meantime, has the title of acting editor. Mark, who has been features editor on Vector and Energize magazines over the past 12 months, has been navigating a “vertical learning curve”, coming to grips with the complexities and the “who’s who” of the electrical and electrical contracting industries… (more)

Heat resulting from power losses generated by equipment under load must be dissipated through the assembly enclosure cooling surface areas for non-ventilated arrangements to maintain temperature equilibrium at or below specified operating temperatures… (more)

by Chris Yelland and Mark Botha, EE Publishers

The policing of electrical installation work to ensure the integrity of workmanship and the safety of residents, occupants and workers within domestic dwellings, buildings and factories has a long and torturous history in South Africa. While electrical contractors clearly need independent oversight to ensure there is no danger to life or property, this oversight surely should not be provided by external agents of the Department of Labour operating with exemptions from the competency and accreditation requirements of the Electrical Installation Regulations… (more)

by Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past… (more)

Silicon anode materials have a much higher capacity for lithium than carbon and, as a result, are capable of almost ten times the gravimetre capacity per gram (mAh/g). They deliver extended cycle life without degradation of capacity… (more)

Advocate Neville Melville says the Consumer Protection Act will change the face of business in the very near future. He says it essentially requires businesses to ensure that all their dealings with consumers are “fair, reasonable and honest”… (more) He says it essentially requires businesses to ensure that all their dealings with consumers are “fair, reasonable and honest”… (more)

Both the positively and negatively-charged ends of lithium-ion batteries can now be created by means of genetically engineered viruses that coat themselves with iron phosphate and attach to carbon nanotubes to create a network of highly conductive material… (more)

by Mike Rycroft, Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
It is well known that the price of electricity in South Africa has been too low for years. The generation capacity crisis in 2008 prompted a review of Eskom’s build programme and associated funding plan. The original expectation was that there would be a short-duration adjustment to bring prices to the correct level, and thereafter electricity prices increases would follow inflation. But the adjustment did not develop in line with expectations, and price increases much higher than inflation are expected for many years to come… (more)

Using carbon nanotubes for one of the electrodes in a battery produces a significant increase (up to tenfold) in the amount of power it can deliver from a given weight of material, compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery. Nanotubes comprise a form of pure carbon in which sheets of carbon atoms are rolled up into tiny tubes… (more)

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