5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·21 May 2024

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

  • Municipalities slam new electricity laws: The South African Local Government Association (Salga), representing 257 South African municipalities, opposes the Electricity Regulation Amendment (ERA) Bill, alleging it undermines municipal authority and breaches the constitution. The bill seeks to end Eskom’s monopoly on electricity generation by introducing competition. Salga supports breaking Eskom’s monopoly but threatens a Constitutional Court challenge unless specific definitions in the bill are altered. A key concern is the amendment narrowing the scope of “electricity reticulation,” which Salga deems unconstitutional and potentially harmful. [News24]

  • Eskom approves delay in decommissioning coal plants: Eskom’s board has approved a decision to run Hendrina, Grootvlei and Camden power stations up until 2030, later than their original decommissioning schedule of between 2023 and 2027. Eskom said that the reason for this is because it is rather prioritising grid stability and energy security before it can start considering new decommissioning dates. [News24]

  • Implats says R9 billion BEE deal ‘a sign of confidence in PGMs’: Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) has successfully completed a significant broad-based BEE transaction, valued at approximately R9 billion, the biggest empowerment deal in 2024. The deal is a key component of the conditions for the merger’s approval, following Implats’ acquisition of Royal Bafokeng Platinum in 2023, an acquisition where it surpassed Northam in the bidding process. Implats CEO Nico Muller said, “This transaction underscores our group’s faith in our business, the platinum group metals sector, and South Africa.” [Business Day]

  • Joburg Pikitup strike continues: In Johannesburg, accumulating garbage is becoming a problem due to an ongoing strike by contract workers. These workers are protesting their contracts, which are nearing expiration, and are demanding to be made permanent employees. Pikitup said that they are actively working to resume services as quickly as possible. At the same time, the municipal workers union, SAMWU, is not supporting the strike and urges the protesting workers to let the permanent staff carry out their responsibilities. [eNCA]

  • Markets: The rand weakened on Monday against a stronger dollar following cautious comments by a Federal Reserve official that boosted the U.S. currency. On Tuesday (21 May), the rand was trading at R18.21 to the dollar, R23.09 to the pound, and R19.72 to the euro. Oil is trading at $83.22 a barrel. [Reuters]

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