The South African economy is expected to reverse downward growth trends in the run up to the 2010 FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup.
The African nationˇs economy is expected to pick up and to see a 4 percent growth in 2008 and into the near future, despite the global economic downturn and the local, unique challenges faced by the country, including power shortages, growing inflation rates, and skills shortages in the technical and engineering sectors. South Africaˇs macroeconomic fundamentals and growth prospects remain robust, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said in his May 2008 budget speech.
The sharp rise in global commodity prices is also a net benefit to the economy, according to the ABSA (Amalgamated Banks of South Africa) South African Economic Perspective 2008 Q2 report. The ABSA Capital Mining export price index for South Africa rose by 70 percent year-on-year in local currency (South African rand) terms, and by 50 percent in U.S. dollar terms. "Even as input prices are hit by higher oil and rand pass-through, this implies trade improvements for South Africa."
South Africa has the most advanced economy on the African continent. Its economy is classified as a middle-income emerging market, and it has an abundant supply of natural resources, including strategic metal and mineral resources. The countryˇs infrastructure supports an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. This makes it an attractive destination for multinational companies to invest in, and a base for expansion into the rest of Africa.
South Africa's four main metropolitan areas dominate its economic activity: Gauteng Province (Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounds), KwaZulu Natal Province, the Cape Peninsula (including Cape Town), and the Eastern Cape. According to statistics from official 2008 mid-year estimates, South Africa has a population of 48.7 million. More than 60 percent of this population is between 15 and 64 years of age and provides massive workforce potential.
FIFA World Cup Tournament Reveals Promising Prospects
There is strong interest in security needs and provisions for the 2010
FIFA World Cup tournament, which include security guarantees that the government has given to FIFA, as well as additional security needs that
South Africa deems important. "As host of the worldˇs most popular sporting event, South Africa is under tremendous pressure to stage a great tournament. While good results may not be guaranteed on the field, a safe and secure tournament can be guaranteed through the use of IP video surveillance systems," said Roy Alves, Country Manager of Axis Communications. Recent crowd control catastrophes and the threat of terrorist attacks around the world have placed even greater importance on safety and security for 2010. "The stadia hosting the World Cup will handle capacities in excess of 30,000 fans each, and a full overview of the venues and effective control of spectators is going to be the No. 1 priority."
"The scale of the World Cup event demands security policies and procedures at designated venues to conform to international best-practice standards," said Neil Cameron, Systems and Service Divisional Manager at Johnson Controls.
"FIFA has specified basic security requirements and these cannot be an afterthought they need to be built into the blueprints. The physical safety of attendees is paramount. High-traffic flows over short periods at these stadiums means high risk. Simply investing in a surveillance solution that is dependent on the level of alertness of the person watching the feed is not good enough. To be effective, a security system at a venue of this nature needs to be reliable, robust, scalable and integrated."
Wayne Clarke, Product Manager at i to i technologies, which is providing security to Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium, stressed that his company is fully aware of the responsibility that comes with such a task. "We are partnering with Dimension Data on this project and are responsible for installing the video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection systems at the stadium."
Demands for Unclogging the Roads
Vehicle security is a fast-growing market. Security requirements include traceability of vehicles and anti-hijacking solutions. The security sector has been very innovative in developing low-cost solutions applicable for the local market, and these have been imported into the rest of Africa.
The need for a fast and efficient transportation system in busy metropolitan areas is also a driver for electronic security demand. The N1 between Pretoria and Johannesburg carries more than 180,000 vehicles daily. Although South Africa is recognized as having the second best road system in the world, the traffic and congestion caused by the increase in vehicles in urban regions has led to a decline in the quality of life and the waste of valuable resources in the affected areas of the city.
"The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) shows that cash-in-transit heists and truck hijackings have increased," said Jack Edery, CEO of Elvey Security Technologies, of the notoriously high hijacking rates country. "This has led to a strong need for cameras and storage that not only monitor the roads for incidents that may affect traffic, but can also be used to identify safety and security problems. Systems of this nature offer three major benefits: Firstly, there is a deterrent factor. Secondly, such systems allow for real-time monitoring and accordingly better observation of those boarding vehicles, and of on-board activity. They also act as reliable channels for information which allows instant reaction to emergency situations. Lastly, recorded footage enables people to review incidents in hindsight and then put together evidence for use in hearings or court cases."
Safer Harbors and Construction
Harbors and shipping lines serving southern and sub-Saharan Africa have seen strong volumes of business, which has in turn led to growth in security requirements. According to Ports and Ships, which provides news and in-depth reporting from ports, July 2007 saw a 17-percent increase in volumes handled at South African ports compared with June 2007. "Containers and trucks are most vulnerable when they are at rest," said Gide on Wheeler, CCTV Technical Manager at Elvey. "The need to enhance security has led to breakthroughs in locking technology by specialist companies."
South Africa is also enjoying a boom in the construction of office parks, Smith pointed out. However, security is not yet part of the integrated planning in the construction process. Upgrading security has been identified as a top priority by businesses and homeowners, who are increasingly looking for external expertise and new digital technologies.
"South Africans tend to move into residential estates to access the security feel that comes with them," said Clarke. "When we are called in at a very late stage to upgrade security, it usually costs people thousands of rands extra because we would have to start from scratch."
The number of residential estates opting for an integrated solution from a single service provider is constantly increasing as more people realize that buying multiple solutions from multiple suppliers is not the optimal way to go, said Ian Downie, Mining Expert at i to i technologies. "The service provider will go the extra mile to make sure its implementation is well in place and operational staff well trained, and that its systems are of the highest quality."
A Complex and Demanding Mining Sector
The ore that the mining industry produces presents unique security challenges for the mining industry. Ensuring the safety of its employees, preventing theft of raw material and equipment, and keeping unauthorized people off the premises are some of the key elements driving the mining vertical. "There are huge challenges around monitoring the workforce and separating losses in terms of product theft and that lost during processing," said Edery. "In terms of professionalism, product knowledge, distribution and installation in the mining industry, South Africa is as good as anywhere in the world."
Internal crime is a major problem, continued Edery. According to the Institute for Security Studies monograph "Theft of Precious Metals from South African Mines and Refineries," 41 percent of offenders at gold mines are mine employees, while the figure for platinum mines is 73 percent.
Mining companies are also driven by the need to comply with new safety standards and to respond to specific situations that arise, and keep in mind ease of implementation and usage of security equipment, said Johann van Rooyen, Branch Manager, Northwest Mining Division, Saco Systems. These factors generate an ongoing cycle of evaluation within the mining sector. "One of the most obvious trends in recent years has been a major swing toward utilizing fingerprint readers," he said, while noting that biometrics will become standard for other sectors as well.
Getting Out of a Rut
South Africa has enjoyed a huge growth spurt in consumer spending. The proliferation of shopping malls has acted as a big driver for demand in electronic security services. Michael Broughton, Director of the Consumer Goods Council, said that employing the latest in security technology is now non-negotiable for retailers. "The shopping experience is about atmosphere and enjoyment; you cannot have a bank-like environment where people come into a shop one at a time and have their handbags searched."
All segments of the retail sector need to be regularly updated on available technologies with a proven track record that make economic sense and can be used in the effective management of risk in a retail/distribution environment, said Keith Alexander, Risk Manager of Retail Operations at supermarket group Spar Group S.A. High-quality video images are indispensable in the fight against violent crime, which poses the greatest threat in South Africa.