Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Eskom has done a complete 180 on its statement that its contracts with consultancy McKinsey and the Gupta-linked Trillian were unlawful and invalid – but it still wants the groups to pay back the R1.6 billion though. The move appears to be the power utility attempting to remove criminal liability, following the NPA’s move to treat the payments as criminal activity.
- Finance minister Malusi Gigaba says South Africa needs to prepare itself for a tough budget this year, where difficult decisions have to be made to stabilise the country’s debt issues and implement interventions to boost the economy.
- Western Cape premier Helen Zille says that if Cape Town’s day zero happens – which is looking more likely by the day – the plan is to get the SAPS and the national army into the city to monitor water distribution points across the region. 4000 people are expected to line up every day at the 200 distribution points, and security concerns have are at the top of many minds.
- Following the recent trends of officials and leaders shrugging off responsibility for the many scandals that have hit state-run companies, Eskom executive Matshela Koko has denied his role in any wrongdoing at the group, passing the blame onto others, or claiming he does not remember. Koko says other testimonies implicating him in corrupt activity is false.
- South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar on Wednesday, breaking through R12 per dollar for the first time since mid-2015, supported by a weaker greenback and expectations the new leader of the ruling ANC would rejuvenate the economy. On Thursday, the rand is trading at R11.89 to the dollar, R16.99 to the pound and R14.79 to the euro.