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October 2015
Sawmilling South Africa News
Here we are almost at the end of another year and this newsletter we know is a little late and that is because the good lady who was helping us out with the news had to stop assisting us as she is just to busy these days. So we are trying ourselves again and you will just have to put up with me once more.
We start this months news with some sad news and that is to report the passing of Abie Steers’s wife. Almost all sawmillers from the Cape to Limpopo know or have dealt with Abie over the years and it is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Daphne on the 8th October. Our thoughts and prayers are with Abie and his family at this sad time.
Good news now for Sawmillers, is that we (SSA) have been successful in negotiating substantial support for skills development from the FP&M Seta. We have already started with work on developing qualifications for four aspects of sawmilling, namely Wetmill machine operator, Drymill machine operator, Kiln & Boiler operator, SawDoctor, Wood Treatment plant operator, and Log Yard operator. These six qualifications are just the start and soon once the courses have been registered and the material developed trainning will start to be offered through aproved service providers. Your Exco has stressed that the Saw Doctor trainning must receive the lions share of the attention and so it shall. 
We will be looking for assistance from qualified sawdoctors in the new year for help putting the manuals together so if there are any sawdoctores out there who are willing to assist please get in touch with us here at SSA.
Talking about sawdoctors, this week saw the annual gathering in JHB of the SASDEA and we (SSA) had the privilage of making a presentation on the opening day. There were altogether 48 delegates at the conference which is a record and demonstrates the value of SASDEA and the enthusiasm of sawdoctors to promote their trade.
This week also saw the gathering of your Executive for its second meeting of 2015, at which time issues and challenges affecting the industry were discussed, none more so than the funding of the association. You will remember that at the AGM held in June an alternative funding proposal was tabled which was accepted in principal subject to the Exco re-drafting the discount structure for the smaller millers and which went with the proposal.
The Exco has since, aplied its collective mind to the problem and has indeed come up with a slightly revamped variation to the original proposal which not only addresses the discount structure but indeed the entire schedule and which we feel is a much improved and far more equitable solution.
The final finishing touches to the proposal are currently being made whereafter each member sawmill will be contacted for their final aporoval.
Another issue discussed at the meeting was SSA’s continued involvement in the two research projects initiated by us, namly the planting espacement study and the additional specification to SANS 1783 which will allow for mill specific grading. Both projects are in their final phases and we hope to have practical, implimentable results by early next year.
The past few months have seen a lot of  interaction between the association and the DTI and we are pleased to inform you that we have been successful in getting “Sawmilling’s Profile” raised in that department. Support and developmemnt of sawmilling now enjoys considerable mention in the redrafted IPAP document which in turn forms the basis of Government policy towards industry and its future development in the country.
By now you should all be aware of the fact that the Forest Sector Charter Council (FSCC) has been re-constituted for its second term with slight changes to the representatives from the various subsectors of the combined forest industry. Sawmilling is still represented by Roy Southey and Lulamile Xate. The first work of the new Council is to ensure that the codes of good practice that accompany the revised BBB-EE Act which come into effect on the 30th November 2015  and which were redrafted by the old council are finally accepted by both the ministers of  the DAFF and the DTI.
That is I am sure, enough information for the moment and so it remains only for us to say keep cutting straight and drying flat and we will talk again next month.
National News

Local honey businesses expanding rapidly in Central Africa
Developed by missionary philanthropist John Enright, Bee Sweet Honey, a co-op style honey initiative, is taking off in Zambia, and is improving lives for the 10,000 individuals already more

Construction of affordable housing in South Africa gets a new lease of life
Construction of affordable housing in South Africa has received the much needed impetus, after the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) said that they are currently working on a memorandum of understanding to help deal with housing backlog in the country. read more

AZA2015 to focus on future of South Africa's cities
“New buildings are going vertical. After decades of sprawl, building structures are being pushed upwards by the new transport corridors, demands for spatial access, and power costs. In Johannesburg alone, the race to height is rapidly reshaping Sandton,” says Hannah le Roux, director of the architecture programme at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Witwatersrand. read more
R1.4tn for SA infrastructure
"What is more encouraging is that unlike previously; growth in the construction sector is no longer just a by-product of mining activity as we witness investments in mega projects in energy, Information and Communication Technology, rail, hospitality and transport infrastructure," MEC Maile said. read more
Green property index 2014 highlights higher returns
The IPD South Africa Annual Green Property Indicators 2014 show that properties with top-quartile energy and water efficiency delivered an ungeared total return of 12.1%. Less efficient buildings, however, delivered a total return of only 9.4%. Green buildings therefore outperformed their conventional counterparts by almost 30%. read more
York Timbers’ proposed R1.4bn biomass plant to feed national grid
Local timber group York Timbers has fleshed out ambitious plans to establish a R1.4-billion electrical biomass power plant at its timber plant, in Mpumalanga, which will deliver 25 MW into the national grid and allow the company to generate energy income from what would otherwise be discarded biomass waste produced by its six timber operations. read more
Energy war room a success
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says the work of the war room set up to tackle the country's energy challenges has led to Eskom going for over 25 days without implementing load shedding. Eskom's acting CEO Brian Molefe has also projected that the country is likely to go without load shedding until March next year. read more
International News
Timber buildings – evidence of lower costs emerge
So timber buildings really do cost less to build. New research appears to prove the case and the timber development sector is educating the rest of the industry.  Timely too, as the National Building Code has proposed that timber buildings up to eight storeys could fall under the deemed to satisfy provisions. read more
Chinese log and lumber imports lowest level since 2010
China imported softwood logs and lumber valued at just over 500 million dollars during the month of August this year. This was 28% lower than the same month in 2014 and the lowest level in five years. read more
UBC plans 18-storey wood building
The University of British Columbia plans to build what might be the world’s tallest wood building in B.C. — an 18-storey residence for students. It would be the tallest building made of wood in B.C. and very likely the tallest in the world, although there are plans for an even taller one in Austria. read more
Why Wood is Best for Building Explained at New Website
OLYMPIA, WA - Laying out the case for wood construction over steel, concrete and bricks, the Innovative Wood Products Collaborative notes that as timber grows, it soaks up carbon dioxide. That carbon is stored in wood products, a carbon sink that mitigates climate change. read more
Record export cargo of timber sets sail for India
The largest export shipment of logs and timber to leave New Zealand is on its way to India. On Saturday, the logging ship SBI Maia left Northport at Marsden Pt with more than 52,000 Japanese Agricultural Standard (jasm3) logs and timber products on board, bound for India.Northport chief executive Jon Moore said it was believed to be the largest shipment of logs and timber products to leave New Zealand. read more
Sawmilling robots? Hell yeah!
Canadian Forest Industries will be in Montreal early December at OptiSaw to hear, among other things, automation and robotic guru David McPhail talk about how the next gen of technology in his field can help sawmillers deal with the dual issues of labour constraints and unit cost. We caught up with David to ask him what he'll be bringing to the OptiSaw discussion. read more
Softwood lumber agreement expires, trade enters a grace period
With the expiration of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the U.S. on Oct. 12, lumber trade between the two nations is now governed by a “standstill provision” that precludes the U.S. from bringing trade action against Canadian softwood lumber producers for 12 months. read more
Job Vacancies
  • Assistant Drymill Manager
    White River Sawmills are looking for an assistant drymill manager for their sawmill in White River, Mpumalanga.
    Contact : Carel Jacobsz
    E-mail address:
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An Irishman who had a little too much to drink  
Is driving home from the city one night and,  
Of course, his car is weaving violently all 
over the road.
A cop pulls him over.  
"So," says the cop to the driver,  
Where have ya been?"  
" Why, I've been to the pub of course,"  
Slurs the drunk.  
" Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've 
had quite a few to drink this evening."  
"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.  
"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and  
Folding his arms across his chest,  
"that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"  
"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk.  
"For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf.”
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