Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load shedding: Generating units are expected to come back online today, but the risk of load shedding remains.
- Eskom recruitment drive: Eskom insiders claim that the power utility embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive several years ago, which focused on Affirmative Action – leaving it without the necessary skills to ensure operations ran smoothly. The employees also claim that they were given targets that were nearly impossible to meet, and were forced to recruit people straight out of university. Eskom denies any of this took place. [MyBroadband]
- Tyranny of the Public Protector: Insiders at the office of the Public Protector are asking for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwhebane to be investigated, claiming they work under tyrannical conditions, and suspect that she is part of an orchestrated plan to destroy the office in South Africa. One example was her apparent refusal to continue investigations into the Vrede dairy farm saga, even after the courts rejected her previous report. However she is happy to socialise with those accused. [Daily Maverick]
- High time for hemp: The City of Cape Town says it will petition the Department of Health to further unlock the potential for hemp and hemp products in South Africa, saying that it is a massive economic opportunity waiting to be unlocked. Government has already indicated that it will be addressing hemp regulations in the country, but the CoCT wants a speedier process, as it has already identified land, foreign investors and opportunities for job creation around the indsutry. [IOL]
- Not so smart city: Experts have poured cold water on president Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans for a smart city in Lanseria, expressing concern that it is a government funded project rather than one driven by the private sector, which chases demand. New cities need to be pinned by economic imperative, and if there was one for a new city in Lanseria, the private sector would have already picked up on it, they said. Government risks footing the bill to develop an area no one really wants to use. 
- Markets: The rand starts week on slightly firmer footing, with US markets closed for Presidents’ Day, which will make for a quiet day with reduced liquidity. Singapore, China and Hong Kong have all pledged additional fiscal stimulus to counter the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, as we head towards the G20 meeting on Saturday where policy makers will be discussing increasing growth concerns. On Monday, the rand is at R14.86 to the dollar, R19.39 to the pound and R16.11 to the euro. [XE]