Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The ANC has defended its latest swing on land expropriation without compensation, saying that its aim is to fast-track land reform, and that there is nothing sinister in its intentions. Contrary to the draft amendments that were gazetted in December 2019, the ANC no longer wants the country’s courts to have first say on which land should be expropriated. In a last-minute swing, the party now wants the amendment changed to give this power to the minister in charge. [ENCA]
- New Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has called for the process splitting the group into smaller business units to be slowed down, saying that if it is rushed, it will cause further uncertainty in the market. While Eskom is committed to the path, de Ruyter said it carries associated risks, which includes possible taxes when transferring assets, which the company cannot afford in its current financial state. [Moneyweb]
- As South Africa pushed towards universal healthcare in the country, claims of negligence against state hospitals and healthcare providers has tripled over the last four years, to reach R104 billion in 2019. State healthcare providers have also ended up paying out more in settlements over the same period. Government is pushing ahead with the NHI, despite criticisms that the current public healthcare sector is already overstretched and cannot provide adequate care to the public.[BusinessLive]
- Eskom says the risk of load shedding entering into the week is low – however it is still unable to bring its outages below 9,500MW. Heading into the new week, unplanned outages exceeded 13,000MW, a level which has been consistent throughout January. The group said that it has adequate reserves to keep the lights on for now, but warned that the grid is constrained. It is burning diesel where necessary to meet demand. [Eskom]
- The South African rand was flat on Friday, as global markets steadied after the World Health Organisation said a new coronavirus was an emergency for China but not an epidemic of international concern. The rand had tumbled on Thursday, as investor fears that the coronavirus could spread boosted safe-haven currencies and dented demand for riskier emerging market units. On Monday the rand was trading at R14.44 to the dollar, R18.86 to the pound and R15.93 to the euro.