5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·1 Nov 2023

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

  • Eskom’s big municipal problem: Municipal debt owed to Eskom, including interest, increased by R13.7 billion to R58.5 billion, while payment rates from municipalities have continued to decrease to 76%. The top 20 defaulting municipalities pay less than half of their invoiced amount, with a 46% payment level. Some municipalities are completely insolvent and are not raising sufficient revenue to meet their operational activities, said Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. [Daily Investor]

  • No-good-news budget statement: Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is in a bind as he reworks the nation’s budget in the face of lower-than-expected tax revenue and pressure from the ruling party to bolster government services ahead of next year’s crunch elections. Godongwana has signalled that he will trim spending and raise borrowing when he delivers his medium-term budget statement today. [News24]

  • New SOE bill concerns: Investment experts say the National State Enterprises Bill to manage state-owned enterprises is full of flaws. This includes the President being the sole representative of a holding company that will house the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) – giving him the power to appoint its board. This has alarmed the investment community, which has warned that this further embeds the risk of political interference at SOEs. [Daily Maverick]

  • Construction sector crisis: Construction firm WBHO said the local sector is grappling with multiple headwinds, ranging from marauding construction mafias and skills shortages to slow progress in infrastructure development, and has called on the government to act swiftly to quell these deterrents to business and investor confidence. WBHO chair Louwtjie Nel said these issues have resulted in the industry having shrunk nearly 40% over the past six years. [Business Day]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand strengthened against the dollar on Tuesday as investors await the government’s mid-term budget statement today (1 November). On Wednesday, the rand was trading at R18.69 to the dollar, R22.69 to the pound and R19.75 to the euro. Oil is trading at $87.41 a barrel. [Nasdaq]

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