Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Eskom’s management team will attend an urgent meeting today to assess the current power situation, after the company was forced to implement stage 2 load shedding late last night. The company has been using its emergency reserves to keep the lights on during the day, but lost three additional generating units last night, forcing the return of load shedding. Management will determine whether load shedding will be required this weekend. [EWN]
- The looting of VBS Bank was even worse than initially thought, with liquidators now indicating that R2.7 billion was stolen from depositors. A year after the liquidation process started, still no arrests have been made. Five managers at the bank have had their assets seized to recover some of the stolen funds, but over 50 people have been implicated. [Daily Maverick]
- Virgin chairman and billionaire Richard Branson says that he would consider buying a stake in SAA – but only if the government asks. The businessman was speaking on a panel this week, and said that he struggles to say no to people. He said if the South African government were to ask him for help with SAA, which has been posting billion rand losses for year, he would consider it. [Business Day]
- Former president Jacob Zuma has lost his application to appeal the court ruling that he needs to withdraw a claim that former minister Derek Hanekom is a ‘known enemy agent’ and apologise – but he refuses to back down. Zuma said he will take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Zuma called Hanekom an enemy spy after it came to light the former minister approached other politicians to try band together to remove Zuma when he was still president. [Times Select]
- South Africa’s rand resumed its advance on Thursday, brushing off a batch of depressing economic data amid renewed expectations that China and the United States will reach a trade deal. An official from the Chinese commerce ministry said Washington and Beijing have agreed in the past two weeks to cancel tariffs in different phases. On Friday the rand was at R14.75 to the dollar, R18.90 to the pound and R16.30 to the euro.