Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load shedding: No load shedding is expected today, with the probability of load shedding being implemented this week low. Emergency reserves are being used to supplement power at generating units are brought back online.
- Tito vs Unions: Public works unions have flatly refused to open up wage negotiations for the 2020 financial year, putting finance minister Tito Mboweni’s goals of cutting the government wage bill by R160 billion over the next three years at risk. Part of the plan is to cut this year’s bill by R38 billion, which would require unions and government to renegotiate wage increases that were decided back in 2017. Unions say no. [Business Day]
- China evacuation: An unprecedented military operation to evacuate South Africans from the Covid-19 epicentre Wuhan province in China is expected to take place over the coming days – with more South Africans now signing up for the plan. 151 citizens will be pulled out of China and placed in quarantine back home for a period of 21 days. Family members will not be able to visit them during this time, the department of Health has warned. [Daily Maverick]
- SAA liquidation: Despite government’s promise of another R17 billion to bail out SAA over the coming years, the Finance department says that liquidation is still an option, and hasn’t been taken off the table. SAA’s business rescue practitioners say SAA can be saved, but are yet to publish their plan. They have an extra month to get that ready, but aviation experts have calculated that the failed airline will need way more than the bailout money offered. [Moneyweb, MyBroadband]
- Taking its toll: Prices for all South Africa’s toll roads, including Gauteng’s e-tolls, have increased as of 1 March. However, Outa head Wayne Duvenage says that for e-tolls in particular, this is just a formality, and shouldn’t be read as government fully endorsing the controversial scheme, and a sign of it continuing. Gauteng motorists are waiting for president Cyril Ramaphosa to announce what the future of the scheme will be. Irrespective, Duvenage said the scheme has failed, and will continue to fail in its current format. [Enca]
- Markets: South African rand closed at its weakest level in 18 months on Friday, extending its slump throughout the day as stocks also crashed amid deepening worries about coronavirus that sent global financial markets into a tailspin. On Monday the rand was at R15.63 to the dollar, R20.05 to the pound and R17.28 to the euro. [XE]