5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·16 Aug 2023

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Eskom and Transnet a drag: South Africa could dramatically boost economic growth if the country fixed its fraying transport network and public electricity utility, the International Monetary Fund said. “If all the structural things are tackled, we believe growth can go up to 2.5% to 3%,” said Max Alier, the IMF’s resident representative to South Africa. South Africa grew 1.9% last year, and activity will slip to just 0.3% in 2023, according to economists polled by Bloomberg. [News24]

Koeberg cutting it fine: There have been concerns that maintenance on Unit 1 at Koeberg power station, which commenced in December 2022, has been behind schedule, which could result in maintenance on Unit 2 overlapping with Unit 1. This would introduce the possibility of higher stages of load shedding. However, Keith Featherstone, Koeberg’s Chief Nuclear Officer, noted that Unit 1 is expected to be commercially available from 3 November, while Unit 2 will be decommissioned on 7 November, which should see no overlap and sustained generating capacity at the power station. [702]

Smoke and mirrors: Despite a slight drop in the unemployment rate, economists still believe that far too many people in South Africa remain unemployed. CEO of the Free Market Foundation, David Ansara, said a 0.3% decrease in the unemployment rate is not something to celebrate. He added that the government’s overbearing regulatory frameworks are deterring employers from making new hires, and SA’s economic outlook for the next couple of years means the employment sector is still nowhere close to being out of the woods just yet. Employment levels are still about 74,000 jobs short of the pre-pandemic period. [EWN]

Education bill walkout: Opposition MPs walked out of parliament’s basic education committee on Tuesday (15 August) in protest over the Basic Education Laws Amendment (Bela) Bill that appears to have ignored thousands of public submissions. The report shows Parliament received 17,452 emailed submissions on the bill, but only 7,951 were analysed. “It is of utmost importance that all submissions are analysed. There seems to be an attempt to skew the perception that the public supports the Bela Bill when all the data has yet to be analysed,” said the DA. [Business Day]

Markets: The South African rand slipped on Tuesday (15 August) after China’s central bank surprisingly cut key policy rates to boost a sputtering economic recovery in South Africa’s biggest trading partner. On Wednesday (16 August), the rand was trading at R19.13/USD, R20.88/EUR and R24.30/GBP. Oil is trading at $84.63 a barrel. (Reuters)

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