Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load Shedding: Stage 1 load shedding will continue from 09h00 on Tuesday due to a shortage of generating capacity.
- Despite the ongoing push to scrap e-tolls, and apparent talks by government departments on the system’s future, new e-toll fees have been gazetted, putting in doubt the notion that Gauteng motorists will see the system disappear any time soon. Government chose to delay the meeting on e-tolls until the first sitting of parliament, which takes place on Wednesday. Tolling opponent Outa has questioned the move, particularly since the e-toll collection company’s contract is up at the end of February. [Moneyweb]
- The High Court has rejected Eskom’s urgent bid to apply massive electricity price increases over the next three years to recover billions in lost revenue. While the court found that energy regulator Nersa may have erred in taking the R69 billion bailout from government into account when determining Eskom’s allowed increases, the power utility failed to prove to the court that the matter had to be dealt with on an urgent basis. Eskom now faces months of court hearings. [Reuters]
- The World Health Organisation has warned that the number of Wuhan coronavirus cases in people with no travel history to China is growing, and could be indicative of a much wider spread of the virus, calling it the “tip of the iceberg”. To date there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in South Africa. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says it has tested 56 samples from individuals who had symptoms, and all came back negative. [NICD]
- Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is being criticised for hosting several questionable guests at her 50th birthday celebrations, including people she is investigating, as well as a string of allies to former president Jacob Zuma, all accused of being deeply involved with state capture. Critics have called the situation “impossible” for someone in the Public Protector’s position, and unprofessional, tainting her perceived objectivity. [News24]
- The South African rand ended local trading slightly firmer on Monday, with dealers holding fire ahead of major economic data and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address in the coming week. The rand was 0.1% firmer at 15.03 per dollar, compared with Friday’s three-month low of 15.12 when the currency was hit by global concerns over the coronavirus outbreak and the resumption of local power outages. On Tuesday the rand was at R14.96 to the dollar, R19.32 to the pound and R16.32 to the euro.