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Don’t Forget the Infrastructure
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South Africa’s power crisis sheds light on a situation none of us can afford to ignore in the modern world. If you are not current on this subject, it is one you need to investigate. It appears both generation and transmission of electrical power has not kept up with growth in the South African economy.

PaperMoney obtained an exclusive comment from Sappi on this subject from Andre F. Oberholzer, Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Sappi Limited. Oberholzer provided the following comments to us on 29 January 2008:

“Dear Mr Thompson,

“No industry or individual in South Africa has been left untouched by the shortage of power. Sappi has, however, only been impacted during the past week to the extent that last week one mill was without power for a short period on one day due to load shedding (the power utility ESKOM’s word for limiting power availability during times of high demand) and another mill was requested to lower its power consumption also for a short period of one day.

“As was widely reported in the media, the power utility ESKOM had to deal with a very large power shortfall last Friday and thus to stabilise the power situation across the whole country it asked its 138 key industrial customers to effectively shut or curtail production. This impacted 4 of Sappi’s 8 mills in the region over the weekend. 2 to a larger degree and 2 to a much lesser degree. They are all operational again. The company has been in constant communication with ESKOM to ensure that such interruptions are kept to the absolute minimum and that our ability to generate power at our integrated mills is brought into the equation. Indeed, with the completion of the Amakhulu expansion project at our Saiccor Mill, that mill will be 70% self-sufficient and we will be over 50% self-sufficient across the region. In addition to this we are exploring various co-generation opportunities for consideration by ESKOM and we are exploring all other feasible options for power saving.”


Mr André F Oberholzer

Group Head Corporate Affairs

Sappi Limited

Chilling words for all of us to consider. How is the infrastructure you rely upon to conduct your daily business?


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