S. Africa Calms Y2K Fear After Cargill Warning

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From Yahoo Y2K News dated Sept 6 <:)=

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa Friday dismissed concern about its Y2K readiness after a major U.S. company said it would avoid trading in the country from mid-December to mid-January.

``Ratings by the IMF, World Bank and the Global Council on 2000 show South Africa is on the verge of being given a green rating, which means that it will be highly ready for Y2K,'' said Allim Milazi, spokesman at the government's National Y2K Center.

U.S. commodity giant Cargill earlier confirmed it would avoid doing business in the country over the millennium period, though it said this did not mean it would cut all contact with South Africa during the period.

In a letter to South Africa's Department of Agriculture in July, managing director of Cargill South Africa Mike Davies said the lack of confidence stemmed from the risk the millennium bug posed to communications, bank settlement and other sectors.

``We plan to avoid entering into or executing trades in maize, oil seed, wheat or any other commodity from December 15 to January 15,'' Davies confirmed the letter had said.

But the National Y2K Center said Cargill stood alone in making such a definitive move to avoid South Africa's perceived risk, and analysts suggested the agricultural trading multinational may have overestimated South Africa's problems.

``We haven't received any queries from any other companies asking what's going to happen as a result of the Cargill issue,'' Milazi said.

The Y2K problem -- or the millennium bug -- is the fear that computers based on a double-digit numeric system for registering the year will read ``00'' as 1900 instead of 2000 and cause mass disruption in computer networks.

Cargill said its decision was based largely on a report by the Gartner Group, an information technology firm specializing in Y2K compliance, which last year ranked South Africa as a medium to high risk.

``The concerns are that one cannot be 100 percent sure that all the utilities and support systems in South Africa will continue to operate,'' Cargill's Davies told Reuters Friday.

``We've taken the worst-case scenario as presented by the Gartner group but will continue to monitor and adjust.''

Gartner said Friday South Africa had been upgraded since last year, and its Web site now ranks it as one of 17 countries in the world, including the U.S. and Switzerland, that have made ``significant progress'' with Y2K compliance.

Cargill Friday clarified its position toward South Africa, saying it was one of many countries the Minnesota-based company had decided to avoid during what is generally a quiet trading period anyway.

``Certainly what we've never said is that we will not trade with South Africa,'' Davies said. ``We've taken a conservative approach...but South Africa is no more risky than many other countries.''

The National Y2K Center says all the country's critical services -- water supply, electricity, waste disposal, telecommunications, health and emergency services -- are Y2K ready, as are all 18 government departments.

The central bank said in June that all banking and financial systems were ready for the millennium and that the biggest fear was ill-informed humans who might decide to make irrational withdrawals of cash from banks during the end-year period.

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 07, 1999


"...the biggest fear was ill-informed humans who might decide to make irrational withdrawals of cash from banks during the end-year period."

Don't you just love that quote!? Actually it's the informed that will take their money out, the "ill-informed humans" will do nothing until panic time.

-- dw (y2k@outhere.com), September 07, 1999.

Besides, where's that leper list State was to hand out on Friday??


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), September 07, 1999.

"Ill-informed humans"? Who else do they have making deposits in their banks? Ostriches? Aliens perhaps?

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), September 07, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ