Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Eskom has announced that load shedding on Friday will be reduced to stage 1, and will apply from 08h00 to 23h00. However, the power utility said that rolling blackouts may be suspended after today, as more generating units come back online. Eskom CEO Jabu Mabuza said that while the grid remains severely constrained, South Africans could get a load-shedding-free weekend. [Reuters]
- A sale of over R1 billion worth of the Gupta family’s assets is set to take place, as business rescue practitioners move to find revenue sources to cover the family’s debts. However, the state is unlikely to recover any money from the sale, as it will be used to pay back other creditors, and there are no formal charges against the family. The sale includes the family’s properties in Saxonwold, and other properties in La Lucia and Constantia, as well as two private jets. [M&G]
- South Africans could see electricity prices increase by almost 17% for two years in a row, if Eskom’s court bid to recover R70 billion and raise a further R34 billion through tariff hikes goes through. The utility has filed a court bid to force the energy regulator to open the process to allow Eskom to hike prices. It would have the effect of hiking prices by 16.6% and 16.7% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. [Daily Maverick]
- Big changes are afoot at the DA as former party leader Helen Zille is said to be the font runner in the fight to be the party’s new federal chair – while its current CEO, Paul Boughey, has resigned. The winner of the race will be decided on Saturday, where Zille’s main contender is former NMB mayor Athol Trollip. In his resignation letter, Boughey said that with the party in a new phase of change, it was time for him to go, too. [IOL, DM]
- South Africa’s rand firmed on Thursday after the country’s cabinet approved the promulgation of its long-delayed plan for electricity generation amid nationwide power cuts by state utility Eskom. On Friday, the rand was at R14.85 to the dollar, R19.09 to the pound and R16.52 to the euro.