5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·16 Apr 2024

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

  • Transnet hires then fires dubious firm: Transnet has terminated its contract with a consulting firm just seven months into a five-year agreement due to its alleged inadequate capacity and questionable reputation to secure its valuable coal lines. This saw an increase in security incidents on Transnet coal lines since the appointment. The firm, also facing criticism for previously failing to deliver on a jobs programme with the Gauteng government, is now suing Transnet. [News24]

  • Municipal arrears to Eskom hit R75 billion: Despite the Treasury’s efforts to curb the escalating municipal debt to Eskom, the overdue payments have surged beyond expectations. By February 29, the debt reached R74.52 billion, surpassing the forecasted R68 billion for the end of March. From 2021, municipal arrears more than doubled, growing from R35 billion to R75 billion in the first 11 months of the 2023/24 fiscal year. [Business Day]

  • Extortion groups targeting state workers in townships: In Cape Town’s townships, essential services like waste collection have been disrupted due to extortion syndicates threatening worker safety. From January 2023 to February 2024, the City’s Safety and Security Investigation Unit reported 96 incidents of intimidation involving city councillors, staff, and contractors. [Ground Up]

  • Hacked trade regulator issues warning to importers and exporters: The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) disclosed that a ransomware attack earlier this year potentially exposed importers’ and exporters’ personal data, currently believed to be held by the hacker. This security breach locked out employees by encrypting system files, leading to a ransom demand from an unidentified attacker to recover the system. [News24]

  • Markets: The rand weakened against major currencies on Monday as markets remained cautious with tensions rising in the Middle East. On Tuesday (16 April), the rand was trading at R19.04 to the dollar, R23.69 to the pound, and R20.24 to the euro. Oil is trading at $90.59 a barrel. [Reuters]
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