Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Parliament says that there will be no more blank cheques for Eskom, as it lays out 28 conditions tied to the bailout money promised to the struggling power utility. If Eskom wants the money needed to keep in business, it will have to do things like collect the debt owed to it, and provide detailed reports on the Medupi and Kusile power projects that have spiralled out of control. [ENCA]
- President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he will set up two more advisory councils – one focused on investment, and the other on state-owned companies. These two councils will operate alongside the economic advisory council which he hopes will provide practical solutions to the problems facing South Africa. Some solutions were already taking shape through the e-visa and youth employment programmes, he said. [TimesLive]
- Deputy minister of finance David Masondo has proposed a state wage freeze to curb government spending. Masondo noted that government wages account for 35% of spend, while tax revenue remains low due to a lack of economic growth. He said raising taxes further is not an option, so a solution is to cut spending – starting with a wage freeze for all public-bearing officers, including himself. [Media24]
- Sanral is looking at ways that e-toll accounts can be used for other services, like renewing licences and paying for parking. While the group is not looking to replace any of the current services (ie, the controversial e-tolls in Gauteng), the technology behind the e-toll transaction clearing system can be adapted and used in other areas. [Moneyweb]
- South Africa’s rand firmed on Wednesday as global market sentiment improved, with investors hopeful that a trade agreement can be reached between United States and China. On Thursday the rand was at R15.13 to the dollar, R18.50 to the pound and R16.62 to the euro.