Hee’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Load shedding: Eskom says it has restored some, but not all of the generating capacity at three units that were taken offline due to flooding this week – and will be pulling two major generating units offline for scheduled maintenance today. However, it noted that it has planned for this, and has adequate reserves to keep the lights on today, with no expected load shedding on Thursday. Unplanned outages are at 11,780MW – an improvement over losses seen over the last week. [Eskom]
- Eskom and energy regulator Nersa are squaring off in court over tariff hikes. Eskom says that the country’s national finances are at risk if it is not allowed to hike fees by an effective 17% over the next two years to make up a revenue shortfall of over R102 billion. It said that failure to hike prices could lead to default at the company, which in turn will crash the country’s finances. However, Nersa is arguing that that the power utility it using fear mongering to get its way. [Moneyweb]
- South African telecoms company Telkom SA told unions on Wednesday it could cut up to 3,000 of more than 15,000 staff as it struggles with declining performance in fixed voice and fixed data services. The telecom provider said it will consider voluntary severance and early retirement packages for employees affected by phase one of the job cut, which will affect employees at Openserve and the Consumer divisions from January to April. [Reuters]
- Divisions within the ANC are once again coming to light with a group within the party – representing the political veterans – claiming that recent attacks targeting public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, calling for his removal as minister, are in fact aimed at president Cyril Ramaphosa. Gordhan is seen as a strong ally of Ramaphosa’s, and his removal would leave the president in a weaker position. The stalwarts claim that the goal is to topple the anti-corruption Ramaphosa in favour of those who would see continued looting of the state. [TimesLive]
- South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar on Wednesday as November retail sales rose more than expected, giving insight into how the economy performed in the final quarter of last year. Retail sales rose 2.6% year-on-year in November, as Black Friday discounts lured price-sensitive consumers into stores, data showed on Wednesday. On Thursday the rand was at R14.38 to the dollar, R18.76 to the pound and R16.04 to the euro.