Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Load shedding: A major delay in restarting Eskom’s Koeberg unit 2 is largely to blame for load shedding rearing its ugly head again, just 11 days after it was suspended. Energy expert Chris Yelland notes that the failure to synchronise the unit to the grid is responsible for one whole stage of load shedding. The unit was taken offline at the start of the year and was supposed to be back online in June. However, it’s still not up and running four days into August. [News24]
- Strike: A strike in the motor sector in South Africa is becoming increasingly more likely after a two-day dispute resolution meeting between employers and unions failed to break a deadlock over wage increases. Union Numsa has threatened to mobilise its workers in the sector – representing 57,000 of 300,000 workers – and strike if its demands aren’t met. Unions demand a 9.5% to 12% increase in wages. Employers are offering between 3% and 4%. [Moneyweb]
- Vaccines: The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority says that out of the millions of Covid vaccine doses, only one death was recorded tied to the injection, while just over 6,200 adverse events following the coronavirus vaccination were reported. These findings align with international reports and account for a tiny percentage of cases. Sahpra said a patient died after developing Guillain-Barré Syndrome post-vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. [EWN]
- Challenge: Close Gupta associate and businessman Salim Essa has filed a high court application to review the Zondo state capture commission report. Essa, who has been heavily implicated as a kingpin in state capture in South Africa, wants all six volumes of the commission’s findings reviewed – or failing that, wants all findings and/or recommendations as they relate to him to be set aside on procedural and constitutional grounds. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: Markets are focused on the geopolitical risks resulting from the growing China-Taiwan tensions and any signals relating to a Fed rate hike. The rand is still very vulnerable to the upward march in US interest rates, the threat of a global economic downturn, and generally volatile global risk sentiment. On Friday, the rand was trading at R16.63/$, R17.01/€ and R20.19/£. Brent crude is trading at $94 a barrel.