5 important things happening in South Africa today

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

Eskom 2.0: Energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s suggestion that South Africa establish an Eskom 2.0 is not in the ANC’s policy conference discussion document, but that doesn’t mean the issue will not be discussed. ANC economic transformation chair Mmamoloko Kubayi says there is hope that the topic will be adopted and accepted at the conference. She says the state has a development role, and a second entity in the power sector would assure stakeholders that the government hasn’t abandoned this mandate. [News24]

Uncertainty: One of the key threads held by economists commenting on the direction of South Africa’s economy is that it is being held ransom by uncertainty. Forecasting for the months ahead has proven difficult due to the many possibilities for unexpected events to come along and disrupt the models. This includes things like the stability of Eskom’s grid, which could break down at any time, and the various political leanings within the ANC amid the policy and elective conferences being held this year. [Moneyweb]

Vaccine mandates: South Africa’s universities are relaxing their mandatory vaccine policies – but are reticent to remove them entirely. Universities in the country responded swiftly to the call for vaccine drives, but no consensus was reached among the 26 institutes on how to go about it. It was left to each university to decide how they would help prevent the spread of Covid. With the removal of national lockdown regulations, universities are not easing back on their mandates, but certain policies remain in place. [TimesLive]

Step aside: ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe says that the party’s step-aside rule – which has become a lightning rod for the party’s factional wars – will not be set aside at its policy conference this weekend. The meeting will also set the stage for a showdown between South Africa’s renewables and coal lobbies over the just transition to an energy-secure future – a portfolio that Mantashe currently manages. [Mail & Guardian, ENCA]

Markets: The South African rand strengthened on Thursday as weak US GDP data spurred expectations for a slowdown in the pace of US interest rate hikes, supporting some emerging market currencies. The Fed on Wednesday raised its benchmark rate by an as-expected 75 basis points while noting that although the labour market remained strong, other economic indicators had softened. On Friday, the rand was trading at R16.45/$, R16.81/€ and R20.07/£. Brent crude is trading at $107 a barrel. [Reuters]

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