Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the anger and frustration that the power cuts have caused is understandable. In a series of tweets on Monday evening, Ramaphosa said that government was working hard to get Eskom back on track, but that the fix would not happen overnight. [Twitter]
- Despite these efforts, Eskom has warned that the country could experience two more years of power cuts, said spokesperson Dikatso Mothae. “We are working around, making sure that in the long term we have a more predictable system. But it will take some time to get to that point. We’re talking about two years and we’d have to live with potential load shedding,” she said. [EWN]
- Government is considering implementing drastic spending cuts across the public service – including extending a pay freeze to all public servants. Presenting the revised national ministerial handbook on Monday (9 December), the Department of Public Service & Administration said that it would look at extending the new restrictions on cabinet ministers to all public-sector employees. [BusinessDay]
- South African consumers are desperate to access their retirement savings as the economy tanks, says Alexander Forbes. Employees take the cash rather than transfer it to preservation vehicles on resigning and retiring, the financial services company said. [Alexander Forbes]
- Eskom once again dominated local headlines after announcing an unheard of stage 6 load shedding, resulting in up to nine hours of blackouts per day for most households, although the utility reverted to stage 4 after only a few hours. While the rand held steady in the face of the power crisis, the latest rolling blackouts will add additional pressure to the already struggling economy, said Bianca Botes, treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions. On Tuesday, the rand is trading at R14.67 to the dollar, R19.20 to the pound and R16.23 to the euro.