Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Despite comments from Finance minister Tito Mboweni that a public wage bill cut needs to happen to stabilise government spending, National Treasury says this doesn’t have to happen ‘urgently’ – as in before the February 2020 budget – and can be addressed at a later stage. The aim is to reduce the public wage bill by R150 billion over five years. Analysts have cast some doubt on Treasury’s capacity to do so. [Business Day]
- Eskom says that it has managed to recover some of its operations over the weekend and is no longer operating on emergency power reserves; however, the group did warn that the threat of load shedding was an ever-present risk in the country, as was shown last week. The probability of load shedding remains low this week. Consumers are encouraged to keep saving power where they can. [ENCA]
- A new investigative report has found that R42 billion worth of unpaid benefits of pension funds – which is owed to millions of beneficiaries – are instead sitting under the control of private administrators, who are charging a fee to oversee them. Whistleblowers lifted the lid on the saga, where thousands of supposedly dormant pension funds were cancelled. However it was found that these funds still had assets, and owed beneficiaries. [Daily Maverick]
- The South African Weather Service has warned that the country’s drought conditions are going to persist over the medium-term. Large parts of the country have already been crippled by high temperatures, dry conditions and abnormal rainfall patterns for the past two years. The weather service warned that current forecasts show that high temperatures and low rainfall will continue, and urged South Africans to conserve water. [Times Live]
- The rand held up well this weekend, trading at levels between R14.80 and R14.87/$. South Africa’s rand weakened on Friday, after nationwide electricity blackouts overnight by ailing state utility Eskom spooked investors and reignited worries about the economy. On Monday the rand was at R14.89 to the dollar, R19.05 to the pound and R16.42 to the euro.