5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·23 May 2024

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

  • Despite concerns, Energy Council wants electricity bill enacted: The Energy Council of South Africa has responded to various municipalities’ concerns about the new electricity law’s constitutionality, stating these issues can be resolved in the planning phase after the bill is signed. Municipalities worry that the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signature, might restrict their electricity provision roles, potentially violating the constitutional powers of local governments. The Council urges for the bill to be enacted promptly. [Business Day]

  • Gazprom deal progresses: PetroSA’s agreement with Russia’s Gazprom Bank to upgrade its Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids refinery has progressed to the feasibility stage, despite receiving significant criticism. The state-owned oil company’s project is now prominently covered in Russia. The civil organization Outa has raised concerns about the South African cabinet’s quick approval of a R3.7 billion deal with Gazprombank to rejuvenate the refinery, criticizing the lack of transparency and rationale behind the decision. [The Citizen]

  • Fund managers expect post-election equity rally: A Bank of America survey reveals that 74% of fund managers focused on South Africa predict a rally in domestic equities post the 29 May election, despite policy shift concerns. A majority, 79%, believe equities and bonds are undervalued, favouring domestic and non-resource rand hedges. With 68% seeing more buying opportunities, there’s optimism for significant equity returns within a year, particularly in the banking, software, mining, metals, and food production sectors. [News24]

  • Pickitup protest continues: The casual workers of Pikitup, Johannesburg’s waste collection company, have been on strike for a week, demanding permanent positions and claiming that they earn as little as R120 per day. This strike has disrupted the city’s waste removal, leading to the piling-up of uncollected trash. The workers allege unfair practices at Pikitup and have blocked depot access to press for their demands. [SABC]

  • Markets: The rand fell against the dollar on Wednesday as traders awaited Federal Reserve meeting minutes for hints on the interest rate path of the world’s biggest economy. On Thursday (23 May), the rand was trading at R18.30 to the dollar, R23.31 to the pound, and R19.69 to the euro. Oil is trading at $81.43 a barrel. [Reuters]

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