Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Eskom says that it does not expect load shedding to hit on Monday, following a weekend free of rolling blackouts as engineers managed to stabilise the system. The power utility said it managed to bring additional generating units online, adding 900MW to the national grid, while demand over the weekend was down. The probability of load shedding on Monday and Tuesday was low, it said, but as always, things could change at any given point in time. [Eskom]
- Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says that his future is in the hands of president Cyril Ramaphosa, following calls at the weekend for the minister to be axed over his handling of the Eskom crisis. According to Gordhan, there is a concerted effort to destabilise state owned companies like Eskom, which in turn reflects poorly on those who are trying to save or rescue the struggling entities. Gordhan’s political opponents have once again rallied against him over the most recent round of load shedding. [Business Day]
- The ANC has committed to the independence of the South African Reserve Bank in a policy statement out this weekend, while also supporting its current mandate. This should allay fears, at least for now, that the party will pursue its 2017 policy of nationalising the central bank. While the party still believes the bank should be publicly owned, this should be done over a “prudent” time frame. The Reserve Bank’s MPC will meet this week, with a rates decision scheduled for Thursday. [Bloomberg]
- The Zondo Commission into state capture is requesting more time to do its work. The commission was expected to complete its work by the end of February 2020, but the deputy chief justice has asked the courts to extend this to the end of December. Zondo said that he would narrow the scope of the commission to the original, as outlined in the Public Protector’s report, and pass the rest of the information on to investigators. With the current scope, the commission would have to run for six years to get everything in, he said. [Mail & Guardian]
- The rand came under pressure on Friday, just ahead of the close of local markets, as the dollar gained further momentum. The weekend saw President Cyril Ramaphosa reaffirm ANC policies and promise swifter action on its radical transformation plan. He also recommitted not to privatise Eskom. On Monday the rand was at R14.32 to the dollar, R18.67 to the pound and R15.94 to the euro.